Title: Seeing Cinderella
Author: Jenny Lundquist
Publication date: 2012 March 20
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (Imprint: Aladdin)
Genre: Middle grade fiction
Meet Calliope Meadow Anderson, an average sixth grade student… with not so average looks. With her red hair, teeth the size of piano keys and huge freckles, she is the weird kid at school – everyone laughs at her and calls her Polka Dot. And it only gets worse when it turns out that she needs to wear glasses – but not just any glasses… Super huge and super freaky glasses! However, during her first day in seventh grade, Callie makes a discovery: her glasses have magic powers and they let her read other people’s thoughts. With the help of her glasses, she finds out what her best friend Ellen and her crush Scott really think of her, that the most popular and most beautiful girls who make fun of her at school were not always as perfect as they want to make us believe and she comes to the conclusion that sometimes you have to come out of your shell and stand up for those who you really love.
It takes a lot to render me speechless but Seeing Cinderella left me in complete awe. It’s been a long time since I read anything from the middle-grade genre but I’m so happy I was offered an advanced review copy of this book because it was brilliant. Lundquist’s work is so much more than a simple “fairytale” for young readers. No matter where you live or how old you are, you will be able to relate to this story and its characters.
Callie was my absolute favourite. I loved Callie because she reminded me of myself back in primary school. I didn’t have to wear glasses, I didn’t have freckles or red frizzy hair, but there were many times when I thought, “I know exactly how she feels”. She’s a quiet, reserved girl who prefers staying at home and writing stories to socializing and going to school events. She prefers to stay in the background, to stay almost invisible – and that’s exactly how I was when I was her age, and maybe how I am even today. In spite of her age, Callie is very smart. I think one of the most powerful and most expressive parts of Callie’s story was when Dr. Ingram, the optometrist, asks her whether she finds reading a book or writing a story in her journal easier than making new friends and she says “Books and journals can’t make fun of you or call you names”.
With its great character development, likeable characters, witty remarks and entertaining dialogues, Seeing Cinderella is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who is looking for an adorable read. It’s definitely something I’d give to my children but it’s perfect for anyone of any age – so make sure to pick up your own copy, lean back and prepare for something extraordinary. But don’t forget to put on your glasses and to read between the lines in order to understand the true meaning of the story: believe me, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.
Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn’t, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in Northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world’s whiniest cat.