Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fairy Tales in modern High School

Cindy Ella Robin Palmer

As is obvious from the name, this is a version of Cinderella. This one is set in high school and the ball is prom. Cindy is disgusted at the amount of time and energy her classmates, and the school administration put into the prom. She doesn't understand it and writes a letter to the editor of her school paper saying so. Of course, she ends up a social pariah. Meanwhile, she's balancing 3 crushes--one on the unattainable senior guy, one on her SAT tutor, and one on an online friend whom she's never met and lives on the other side of the country.

Even if you didn't know the Cinderella story, this one is fairly predictable while still being a fun read. I like how Palmer handled many aspects of the story--Cindy's step-mother and sisters weren't overly cruel, just shallow and self-absorbed. I did have a minor quibble with the marketing. The back of the book states: "with a little help from an unexpected source--and the perfect pair of shoes--Cindy realizes that she still has a chance at happily ever after" and the shoe thing, while well done? Not that big of a deal. Really, it was minor, and in fact could have been cut altogether, except this is Cinderella, so you need some shoes.

Geek Charming Robin Palmer

Set at the same high school in LA, this is a take on The Frog Prince. Josh and Dylan meet (well, Josh has always known Dylan, she's just never noticed him) when she makes him fish her purse out of the mall fountain. In return, she and her friends have to star in Josh's documentary about the secret lives of the cool crowd. While some things are fairy-tale standard-- Dylan makes Josh over and they end up becoming friends, the ending deviates a little from the source material and is awesome.

Overall, it's a little deeper and slightly less predictable than Cindy Ella. Also, this one is told in alternating chapters from Dylan and Josh's point of view. Frog Prince is a hard fairy tale to retell without magic (in fact, I think this may be the first magic-less Frog Prince I've read) but Palmer pulls it off in a way that completely works to stay true to the story (including Dylan's father making her keep promises) while also staying true to the modern high school setting. Cindy gets a name drop, but not as many as her step-sisters (which makes sense, given that Cindy's a sophomore and not popular while Josh is making a documentary on popular seniors, so the step-sisters are mentioned more often as they fit into that group.) Very fun and enjoyable.

1 comment:

Liyana said...

How can I not know of these two books? Thanks for mentioning them to me, I love fairy tale retellings! :D