Sunday, July 10, 2011

Book Review: Cindy Ella

Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
This formulaic, fairy-tale-based romance will be a favorite with girls. -- School Library Journal
Okay, so this review is not an any way related to my Blogging for Books account, but when you buy a great-looking book at BAM for a dollar and end up wanting your money back... well, in my case, you end up just HAVING to write about it.

Click the cover to buy
The book starts with Cindy's letter to Castle Heights High's newspaper editor. Of course, none of her letters are ever printed, so it doesn't really matter that the whole thing is about the evils of prom.  When the letter actually is printed, Cindy becomes a social outcast to everyone except her two best friends.  Will her lower-than-ever status be erased? Or is her nouvea feminist, opinionated and good-willed self destined to live a life of television reruns alone with twenty-some cats?
This book really stinks, for a number of reasons. To be fair, some of it was more the publisher's fault than the writer's.
1. The back of the book spoils it. The little summary on the back is supposed to tell you the starting basics of the story and leave you wondering where it goes from there. In only twelve lines, the back of this book managed to explain the whole storyline.
2. Even without the summary spoilers, this story was still too predictable, even for a romance.  They may all end with happily-ever-afters, but at least there's something interesting before that. Or maybe there was some seemingly impossible obstacle preventing a relationship between hero and heroine. This book? Other than popularity (unoriginal!) there's no conflict between their relationship.
3. From a Christian perspective, this was horrible:
a) The main character was a feminist.
b) Said main character's best friends were a hippie girl and gay dude.
c) Every chapter had at least one cuss word.
These may be typical teen-lit stuff, but that doesn't mean I approve of them.
4. Love was painted wrong. This is to be expected in today's novels, but I still expected a little better. One day Cindy Ella is 'totally in love' with her crush; the next day, she is positive that her new tutor is her soul mate.  Adults may call that 'normal teenage thinking,' but take it from a teenager and her friends: that is definitely not normal! Sure, having three crushes is just fine; calling every cute dude she meets her soul mate is going a little overboard.
Now, after this negative review, I want to point out that there is a positive.  This would be the author's portrayal of the characters. It's hard for me to explain, but this is one of those fairy-tale rewrites where the 'bad guys' are actually real people.  You know, airheads that you could definitely find in the stores of LA as opposed to airheads you would only find in a preteen comedy show.
For a good attempt at writing a teen's perspective, and for character development, I'll give this book one and a half stars. I was going to give it two, but... besides the points I listed, this novel was just plain boring and unoriginal.

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