Plot: Cindy is a typical junior high girl with a best friend and a crush. Until the day she is called home from school to the bedside of her dying mother. Not long after her mother passes, while alone in her room, Cindy looks down and finds that her skin is gone, along with all muscle and everything else except the bones. She is a skeleton! It seems she turns into a skeleton when night falls, but then back into herself with the dawn. Now Cindy, who dubs herself Cinderskella, must deal with her curse, getting her dad to accept her, and exploring the world--especially the cemetary!--after dark.
Things take a complicated twist when Cindy makes her way into an underworld-type plane and then her father brings home a "new mom" who has two bratty daughters of her own.
Narrator: She's spunky and headstrong, which makes fun to follow around. She has her weak, teenage-girl moments, but other times she has a lot of insight. I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the story because so many people don't think teens have much insight at all. Teenagers tend to act in their own interests, which is why people think that, but most are much deeper thinkers, with much more insight, than anyone gives them credit for, so I really loved this aspect of Cindy.
Extras: The R.I.P. characters (that's Real Incorpsified Paradise)--Bert, Mr. Death, and a mouse named Cheddar especially--were among my favorite characters. So well-written! I loved the scenes with them in them!
Illustrations: The pictures--drawn by Bethany Borst, I think--are few and far between, but they're fantastic! So much fun. I felt like they added a lot to the book. Go get a copy just so you can look at them!
Overall: I was so impressed with this story. It was simple and fun, with plenty to make me smile and a love and compassion for Cindy and her situation. Cindy has to deal with plenty of grown-up emotions, including the grief of losing her mom, lack of acceptance by family members, the worry of lack of acceptance by her friends, and prioritizing her choices. By the end, she learns a lesson that might possibly have come across as cheesy, but the mother-daughter Borst team bring it across beautifully, and if feels profound.
Such a great story! And so much fun to read. I would recommend it to any tween girl. And their mothers, of course. And anyone who loves fun, sweet, unique middle-grade stories. Right after reading Cinderskella and being so pleased with it, I heard that it is a Whitney award nominee. Congrats Amie and Bethany!
Has anyone else read Cinderskella? What did you think of it?