Seeing Cinderella by Jenny Lundquist

Calliope Meadow Anderson (Callie) wishes her life could be more like a fairy tale, where everyone lives happily ever after. But in reality her parents are separated, her best friend Ellen is acting a little weird, and she has to get glasses which will probably make her even more geeky-looking than her abundant freckles, big teeth and dead-leaf colored hair already make her look.

Callie is a typical middle school girl, sure that she doesn’t fit in and not sure exactly how to change that fact. The big black loaner glasses that her strange optometrist gives her don’t exactly help her confidence on the first day of school. However, the glasses do something else: they enable Callie to see other people’s thoughts. What could you learn from a pair of mind-reading glasses?

Here are some of the lessons Callie learned from her Super Freaky Glasses (aka chapter titles):

Rule 1: Don’t get upset if someone thinks your glasses are ugly. They are ugly.

Rule 2: Make sure your crush actually Knows Who You Are before you spy on his thoughts.

Rule 3: Most people tell little white lies. Don’t get offended. You do the same thing.

Rule 9: It’s easier to dislike someone when you don’t have to read their thoughts.

And so it goes. Seeing Cinderella is a story about mind-reading glasses, but it’s just as much a story about navigating middle school and learning to empathize with all different kinds of people. Callie learns that she isn’t the only one who feels insecure a lot of the time, and she begins to make new friends with people she would never have thought of befriending, pre-glasses.

I would recommend this story for girls who are themselves “navigating middle school” and learning to make new friends and sometimes let go of the old ones. There are definitely “lessons” in the subtext, but it’s a gentle teaching couched in a gentle, funny, gem of a story.

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