cover155805-mediumBefore Cinders by Mette Bach I had never actually read a hi/lo title before. As someone who basically loved reading from the first time she came across a book, these sort of books weren’t typically on my radar. But I do deeply appreciate the goal to push for increasing reading interest for young readers who’ve perhaps previously struggled with reading and as a result of that are quite reluctant to pick up any book they see. As someone who works in education, literally dedicating her time to students who have struggled with reading in one format or another I think these books are amazing.

Cinders is a pretty good novel, one that I believe will accomplish its goal of garnering interest in readers who’ve felt unsuccessful there for one reason or another. I don’t think it’s personally going to help a great many readers on their own, but rather would be useful in process of learning as I don’t see many kids going out and picking up these books simply of their own volition.

The book is a Cinderella retelling, in which Cinders is a programmer intent on building an app to combat the online bullying that occurs so often in a technological world and it is through this app that she meets Charming, a young woman with a desire for a singing career who has recently been bullied via comments on her music videos.

I’ll admit, I struggled keeping interest through the vast amount of summary that this book turned out to be. There was a lot of telling rather than showing, though I this can be preferential to a teen who has always struggled with reading. I didn’t care for the use of slang language–particularly the repetition of the word “trolls”–but that’s really just a personal preference and again I can see a lot of interest garnered from these kids here.

I was a little surprised at how sexual this book became, not in the sense that it discussed sexuality a lot; I frankly would have liked to see that portrayed in a more realistic way and unrushed manner. Rather, the descriptions of kissing and using the internet to flash someone were included and did not leave me endeared to the book at all.

I didn’t really care for the characters as they often came across as whiny and there were various instances in which things were thoroughly unrealistic in order to needlessly make situations more difficult for the main characters, like when Cinder’s boss–literally a woman working in the school–refused to let her leave a task unfinished even though it meant she would be late to class. A lot of their development felt glossed over, told to you in quick summary format instead of actually shown. And I think the worst instance of this was when the “connection” between Cinders and Charming was built simply by saying that they spoke repeatedly for many nights.

Cinders isn’t a terrible book, in fact I admire it’s goal immensely. But I do have a pretty strong hatred of books that tell rather than show the story and that piece made it rather difficult for me to remain deeply engaged. It also hindered my ability to connect with the characters. All in all, it’s not a book that I’d be quick to recommend a regular reader unless they were working with someone who struggles with reading.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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