Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy (ARC) of this book; this book was released on June 3, 2014. Undoubtedly, there will be minor changes between the version I read and the published version. I picked up the ARC at the 2014 ALA Conference.
So, this book isn't my normal choice, but it seemed kind of fun. It's a cross of magical realism and historical fiction.
An amazon summary so I can get to the book for real, "Being a teen-ager during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.
After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
First, Kate is kind of dumb. She has these moments where she a strong will and smarts about her (like when she's doing things for the window showcases for the department store). Kate has these extreme moments of dumb where she basically traumatizes her Grandma into revealing secrets.
Um, I'll back up.
So Kate lives in America during World War II; her father is off in the war trying to preserve pieces of culture where they can. Her mother works in a department store and tries to push Kate into modeling (which she will have none of due to her lack of grace). Her brother is eager to sign up to help win the war.
Kate's grandmother died a couple of years ago, and gave Kate her treasured amber necklace. Her mother is a bit jealous of Kate, but this never gets addressed so whatever.
Her grandmother's sister shows up on their doorstep one day with her husband in tow. They have an old steamer trunk with them that they've lugged from Poland to New York.
Kate has ambitions of being a woman who designs windows. She wants to go to school to learn the art of design, but for now she manages to finagle a job dressing up the mannequins for the window.
So Kate's grandmother is a little obsessed with Kate's amber necklace. She hints at the story of Cinderella's dress. Kate has a WHATTTT moment before embarking on a quest to traumatize her grandmother enough into spilling her secrets.
So the book overall was a bit discouraging on some fronts (traumatizing the grandmother bit) but cute on other fronts (like the slowwwww romantic relationship that starts to blossom).
The book didn't seem to hold a clear plot or concept to carry it through and took the letter technique of making time pass quickly without having to write chapters on it. There wasn't a whole lot of conflict/resolution, there was a ton of vague emotional notions from Kate which prompted her to screw everything up.
The magic of the story could have had some sort of notions to it rather than just feeling. The necklace was never explained, and it didn't end in a way that I'd believe there's going to be another book.
Yeah, I think I mostly read this book out of the sheer will power it took me to wait in line at ALA when I got it. Especially when the author wrote irrelevant scripture in the front of my book. YIKES!