Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: THE CINDERELLA MOMENT by Jennifer Kloester

THE CINDERELLA MOMENT by Jennifer Kloester.

Author: Website   Goodreads   Facebook  Twitter

Pub Date: Originally published by Penguin Australia, NOW AVAILABLE in the United States from Swoon Romance! 

ARC received from Swoon Romance in exchange for an honest review. 

Dannie says: Swoon-worthy, fun read! 

Let the masquerade begin!
Angel Moncoeur has always wanted to be a fashion designer, but without money or connections, it's going to be a challenge. When an opportunity to leave her home in New York and head to Paris appears, Angel grabs it – even if it means masquerading as her best friend Lily. That can't be too hard, can it? But when she falls in love with her very own Prince Charming who thinks she's someone else, Angel embarks on a plan to secure her happily ever after.

THE CINDERELLA MOMENT is a fabulously fun story about high society, mistaken identity, love, betrayal, friendship – and great clothes


The characters. Overall I felt like they were well thought out, though regarding the more minor adult characters (Simone, Philip) I would have liked more showing and less telling, which made overall characterization a like and not a love for me. And while I loved Angel, her name was not my favorite part of her character. I hate saying stuff like that because it may seem so trivial, but names are kind of my thing, and this one stuck out as a wrong note for me. *BUT* really and truly, I loved her character so much. 

The villainesses. I felt like I wanted Margot and Clarissa to either be a little more complex (in other words to have some positive attributes) and/or further redefined from the original Cinderella tale. I think the truly great villains in YA create cognitive dissonance in the reader. That said, these hookers were easy to hate for sure. So they were a Like in that I liked hating them. A lot.


Nick is a pretty awesome book boyfriend, and the author does a great job of building their romance in an authentic way. I think the digs Angel made on him being a much better catch than most American boys is a sad reality for today's teen girls. And while he was a little over the top I felt like that suited the story pretty perfectly. **mini spoiler in the next sentence only** I do wish they'd had a really good fight, though. 

The fashion plot line. I think beyond the popularity of Project Runway and all the other fashion reality shows that target teen viewers, more and more traditional high schools are offering fashion design electives or magnet programs. So this is obviously something teens connect with, and it was  fun to see a fashion plot line that went beyond having trendy clothes to wear or dressing like the popular kids. Because while pretty clothes are awesome, they're FULL of win if you make them yourself. 

This is a sweet story that it's easy to get sucked into. Once the conflict between Angel and Clarissa bubbled to the surface I was emotionally invested in the outcome.

I loved how much fun this was to read. I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of what I like to call PinkLit--lighthearted, girlie, romantic ish. But this really was a fun exception to that rule for me. I may have even caught myself saying "oh snap!" more than once. 

I loooooved that, in the end, Lily rescues herself. She uses her strengths and skills to set things right. She's assertive without being a bitch. She's smart at no one's expense. And she creates her own happy ending. I think that was my favorite part of this read--when Philip didn't show up at the top of the staircase and Lily knew she had to go it alone. And she did. 


Energy out of the gate. The author breaks what I feel is the most important rule of hooking the reader: beginning on the day that things change. For me, nothing really changed until around chp 7 and the pace felt super slow leading up to that point. I think that's especially important in a retelling where we sort of already have an idea of where we're headed.

Less--not more--backstory. While I found some of it interesting, it slowed the pace. Particularly in the chapter leading up to the climax, there's a whole lot of backstory presented as dialogue, which for me feels like cheating and isn't a lot of fun to read. Large blocks of text, even if they're dialogue, make me tempted to skim. I wanted less second hand story telling. I didn't feel like the reader needed to rehash the plot when Angel and Lily explain the Philip what happened. 

More liberty with the retelling. I couldn't help comparing this to Cinder as I read even though they are TOTALLY different animals. I think what makes a good retelling is the author's unique spin on the story--creating a world that is not only different from the original, but unique in its own right. While the fashion aspect definitely sets this story apart from the fairytale, as well as placing it in a modern, non-royal setting, I still wanted more originality. This probably is due at least in part to my aversion to all things PinkLit, not to mention that I am slightly obsessed with Cinder's brilliant world-building. This was still a very fun read, though! 

A nickname for the Contesse other than Grandmama. At the risk of being bitchpicky, Grandmama is not French for Grandma or a nickname commonly used, though Grandmaman is occassionally among upper crust, so I suppose that's where the author was headed. My grandmere was called Mémé or Mame (because us American kids ruin things with our accents). But every time I saw the word Grandmama I thought of this:

Like I said--bitchpicky. 

Short story long, if you like pink books, chicklit, or are a sucker for romantic stories with a happy ending, this is a book for you. And even if you're like me and your usual cup of tea is something a little more like scotch, you should probably give it a chance, too. Check it out via the links below and let me know what you think!

About the author Jennifer Kloester: Jennifer loves to escape into a good book. She began writing when she was little and grew up in a house full of books. She was living in the jungle in Papua New Guinea (truly!) when she discovered Georgette Heyer's wonderful historical romances. She quickly became addicted and multiple re-reads later still can't pin down her favourite. When not writing, Jennifer does karate and love to hang out with her husband (who she's still trying to get into Regency garb) and their three nomadic children.

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