Title: Cinderella Cleaners: Change of Dress
Author: Maya Gold
May Contain Spoilers
Behind the counter at Cinderella Cleaners, Diana watches the clothes come and go. She loves to imagine the exciting events that the different outfits might be worn to. Then one day, Diana reaches into the pocket of a fancy coat – and finds an invitation to a glittering gala in New York City. Since the coat’s owner is out of town, Diana gets a wild idea. With the help of some savvy friends, one glamorous dress, and a lot of improvising, Diana pretends to be someone she’s not, and makes it into the party! Will she be discovered, or will her disguise come off without a hitch?
Eighth-grader Diana is having a hard time dealing with her new step-mother. With the downturn in the economy, Fay insists that she help out at her dad’s dry cleaning business, so she can learn the value of hard work. Diana doesn’t mind helping out, until she learns that she won’t be able to participate in the school play. Acting is her passion, and she is heartbroken that she won’t be able to even attend the school play, let alone audition for a part. Sometimes it is really tough being a 13 year old.
When Diana finds two tickets to the opening of the hottest play on Broadway, along with invitations to the after-party as well, she thinks that things might just be looking up. That is until her step-mother forbids her to go out that night, and instead expects her to babysit her twin sisters. Diana is determined to go to the play, no matter what the cost. With some help from her friends at the dry cleaners, she just might make her dreams come true.
Cinderella Cleaners: Change of Dress is a cute retelling of the classic fairy tale. Diana is a spunky, cheerful kid, even though she is dealing with some trouble at home. She is trying to work through her grief after her mother’s death, as well as accept the intrusive presence of her new step-mom. Fay is hard on Diana, expecting her to help out at home and work at the dry cleaning business. She picks at Diana for every little thing, and the two maintain a very uneasy relationship. It’s easy to understand why Diana would rebel under her Fay’s demanding expectations, and when she denies even letting Diana go see the school play, Fay definitely resembles an evil stepmother.
Finding the tickets to the Broadway play is Diana’s opportunity to brush elbows with the rich and famous, and gives her a chance to make a little magic of her own. The twists on the well-known events from Cinderella are clever and fun, though the pacing was very uneven. Events either dragged and were overburdened with too much description, or rushed along like a runaway horse. Diana’s bubbly personality kept me engaged in the story, despite the jittering journey to the end. Magic moments, like Diana meeting the star of the play, kept pulling me back into the narrative.
I wasn’t blown away by Change of Dress, but I did like the characters enough to see what other adventures Diana can make for herself in future outings.
Review copy provided by publisher