I just finished reading If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince?, by Melissa Kantor. Unlike my usual fare, this one had no vampires, no werewolves, no magic – nothing paranormal going on.
Except it did have magic. Not spell casting or wand waving, but a quieter, happy-place kind of magic. The characters were well-drawn, so I wanted to read on, even though the plot and setting weren’t what I would normally choose. I liked them, all of them.
Lucy Norton is the new girl in school - for the third time in three years. This time her father has gotten remarried and moved her across country. He still works on one coast, while Lucy is stuck on the other coast with her stepmom and stepsisters.
When they’re being nice, they ignore her. Otherwise they are flat out rude to her. Her life at school seems better – when she’s not grounded.
About halfway through the book I almost put it down. I was indignant, horrified that Lucy’s father would leave her with such horrible people. When I thought about it, though, that was Lucy’s indignation, not mine. I thought Lucy was being a brat – but I still liked her.
I kept reading, and I am glad I did. She made dumb choices, but they were true to her character. People started changing, doing things Lucy didn’t expect. Really, though, it was Lucy who changed. It was subtle. She didn’t notice (or the change would ring false); she just started reacting differently. She made better choices, and those were true to her character, too. She grew as a person, and I liked her better for it.
Her character made me keep reading. I didn’t care that she wasn’t saving the world from evil or have any magic powers. I liked Lucy, period. She spoke to me as a reader, and I cared about what happened to her.
What are you reading?