Seeing Cinderella by Jenny Lundquist. New York: Aladdin, 2012.
It’s not bad enough that Callie Anderson has to get glasses just before the start of middle school, but they are the ugliest glasses she has ever seen. Yet those huge, geeky lenses and fat black frames hide a secret. These glasses show Callie what other people are thinking. Maybe they will actually help her. And she can use all of the help she can get. She’s lost in math and Spanish classes. Her best friend seems to be drifting away. And her parents’ marriage is falling apart. But can Callie follow the eye doctor’s instructions and learn to use the glasses wisely?
The lessons Callie learns appear throughout the book as Super Freaky Glasses Rules at the start of every chapter:
“Super Freaky Glasses Rule #14 One very unwise use of the glasses: spying on people when they’re lost in Coupleland. Can you say ewww?”
The messages the glasses show her cause Cassie to think differently about herself and how she gets along with other people. She comes to realize that how other people perceive her actions is not the same as how she sees herself. And the actions of her friends and classmates often spring from fears and insecurities they don’t talk about. The glasses don’t give Callie all of the answers. After all, as Super Freaky Glasses Rule #16 states, “Don’t expect your magic glasses to figure out your own thoughts. That’s your job.” But the glasses do manage to turn an ordinary, dreaded year of school into something extraordinary.
Callie is someone readers will easily identify with, even if they were never as shy as she is. This book is funny, fast-paced and charming but with an important message – There is more to people than meets the eye. But we have to make the effort to get to know them. After all, for most of us, there are no super freaky glasses.
This review also appeared on the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Shelf Life blog on April 26, 2012.