Wednesday, February 27, 2013

eBook Review: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

Before I go on I want to say I adore the cover for this book.  I don't normally like pink, but I think the cover for this is absolutely perfect and fits who Mattie is.  This funky, arty teen who doesn't quite see reality at first.  I have to give Wilson credit, she got a cover that really stood out (in a good way).

This was a cute, fluffy book that was entertaining, but didn't make me think.  I know that doesn't sound like the compliment I mean it to be, but sometimes I just need something to be a quick, amusing read without involving me remembering reams of complicated plot points.  This is straight forward and unabashed.

Mattie isn't quite the pushover she appears to be at first.  She's a bit of a whiner?  Or rather she has an inferiority complex brought on by a teen culture that worships an 'ideal' that matches her stepsister Ella to perfection, an obnoxious mother, artsy father and too much time on her hands.  She proves her mettle the first time Jake tries to sweet talk her into doing something she knows is wrong.

A lot of what happens is very easy to guess at and can feel a little choreographed at times.  The little things that upset that structure mostly are a good bump--maybe not so much the whole 'glamor make-over' Mattie undergoes (I think it undermined a lot of what Wilson was setting up as 'Mattie's style and belief in who she was, even if Jake was like 'no effing way').  I didn't see the whole thing with her mom playing out the way it did.

In short this could have very easily been a teen movie from the late 90's in the vein of "She's All That", "Drive Me Crazy" and "Ten Things I Hate About You".  And there's nothing wrong with that at all.  I love those movies and they serve a vital important in reminding me that sometimes a story can be that simple, but satisfying.