Although the holiday season has softened my anxiety to an extent, that does not mean that I do not go back every so often to enjoy a nostalgic book. Especially if it was a book that harkens back to my high school years, and I could read in two days. And I know I love a good Beauty and the Beast tale, but I love myself a good Cinderella story, just like If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? almost as much—almost.
Lucy Norton can’t help but compare her life to Cinderella’s. After all, she has a “wicked” stepmother and two annoying stepsisters, and she has no prince. But one day, she makes an offhand comment that catches the attention of Connor Pearson, the most popular guy in school and the star of her school’s basketball team. All of a sudden, Lucy is swept into a social life she never expected, but being popular may not be all Lucy thought it would…
Like I said, you could blaze through this book in a day or so. The action is swift and the writing pretty fluffy. But that’s also because it’s super easy to relate to Lucy. Not all of us may have wicked stepfamilies, but we all have had that one authoritative grownup in our lives who gets on our nerves for one reason or other. It’s very easy to hate Lucy’s stepfamily since we’ve come across people like them before.
Lucy’s awkwardness is also relatable. She has to learn to navigate the world of the popular kids, which she was thrust into with little warning, and it’s cute to watch. Although her ultimate disappointment with this world is easy to see coming, it still feels real.
On the whole, the book is pretty predictable. After all, it is another modern Cinderella story. It plays up the wish fulfillment of having the cute popular guy and his friends take you into their circle, but it shows the reality of it. Lucy and Connor get together only because Lucy knows basketball very well. Their relationship is paper thin, but it feels good to Lucy because he’s the popular guy and she’s the downtrodden loner dreaming of something more.
That’s not to say that Lucy is a weak, simpering damsel. She’s just a teenager who can’t help liking a cute guy. What high school girl hasn’t done that?
Well, okay, the “reality” of getting with the popular kids might be stretched here. After all, Lucy’s popular friends, Jessica and Madison, have typical “popular girl” tendencies: saying “like” several times in a sentence, adoring clothes and makeup, fearing foods that might make them fat, etc. And yet, they’re both pretty likable. They’re shallow to an extent, yes, but they don’t brush Lucy aside; they actually support her and take care of her when she feels down.
If I did have one hang-up with this book, it would be that the ending feels too easy. The whole book is pretty short and simple, but it almost feels too simple. If you had half a brain, you could see the ending coming a mile away—even if it doesn’t feel entirely earned. Without giving too much away, the ending is set up well before it arrives, but the book barrels toward it too quickly when it becomes inevitable.
But again, endings like these are part and parcel to modern Cinderella tales. So I cannot get too angry at it.
It’s not my favorite modern adaptation of Cinderella, but it’s got a relatable main character and villains you love to hate. Kind of hard to ask for anything more than that from a fluffy YA read.