My love for fairy tales strikes again. There are reasons these stories exist in our minds the way they do, their themes and structures lingering and leaving their mark on so many things we create. The “Cinderella” story has been done over so many times, in so many different ways, from so many different angles (I particularly enjoyed Lily Archer’s YA title, The Poison Apples, which focused on the wicked step-mother aspect). Maya Gold’s Cinderella Cleaners series is another modern take on the tale, in which Diana Donato works after school at her father’s dry cleaning business, at the insistence of her step-mother, Fay. The sixth installment, Swan Fake, finds Diana agreeing to do a friend an enormous favor: taking her place in the ballet “The Nutcracker” for her opening dance. Diana hasn’t taken ballet lessons in years, and has her own show to worry about, with her solo in her school’s production of “The Snow Queen” Of course, it wouldn’t be a fairy tale if the heroine didn’t manage to help her friend in need and have her own moment in the spotlight, now would it?
The thing I like most about this series is its rebellious spirit. Diana isn’t a perfect girl; not as a student, an actress, an employee or even a daughter. She’s a good girl, but has in her a spark of disobedience that is required for most great adventures, and while her forays into the unfamiliar while wearing borrowed clothing don’t always lead her to extreme heights, it’s enough for a thirteen year old on a school night. Cinderella Cleaners comes packed with a ‘be your own fairy godmother’ mentality that is a good thing to instill in a girl’s mind, even if it means being a little naughty, just a little bit of the time.
Cinderella Cleaners #6: Swan Fake by Maya Gold