Thursday, April 5, 2012
February was a big month for Jenny Lundquist whose debut Middle Grade novel, Seeing Cinderella was released. I attended her book launch this past weekend at Barnes & Noble and happily waited in line with quite a few other fans anxious to get a book signed. Jenny is a fellow member of Inspire Christian Writers and there were some of us at the event to cheer her on.
Keli Gwyn (whose debut romance novel comes out July 1st), a curious patron asked what the crowd of people was all about. "I'm here to get a gift for an eleven-year-old," she said. "Seeing Cinderella sounds like the perfect present." We steered her to the book signing line.
Seeing Cinderella is an entertaining book every middle school student would enjoy reading. It tackles the serious issues that mark the middle school years—namely self-doubt, low self esteem and flawed thinking about what others think. Through a delightful kind of magic in the form of special glasses, Callie (real name Calliope Meadow Anderson) learns to see that things aren't always as they appear and you can't believe everything you hear.
Callie's nickname by some is Polka Dot aptly describing her freckled face, offset by her frizzy hair. So when she adds a hideous pair of thick, dark-rimmed glasses to her look, she continues to assume kids are making fun of her.
Ellen, Callie's best friend going into middle school, signs her up to take drama instead of art—the first of many manipulating scenarios by Ellen. Callie learns as she maneuvers through the fall semester that her magic (aka super freaky) glasses unlock a whole new way of thinking and communicating.
The story culminates with the drama class's production of Cinderella. The frenzied scene has twists and turns that bring meaningful and satisfying changes to each character. At one point in the story, Callie's eye doctor (Dr. Ingram who supplied the super freaky glasses) remarks, "I suppose there are those who see, and those who do not want to see." A fitting lesson for a middle school student to add to their toolbox for life.