Secret societies battling each other, playing good vs. evil, with the fate of no less than the world hanging in the balance? Check. High school drama, backstabbing, romance, makeovers, fashion and angst? Double check. The Cinderella Society has it all.
Jess has always been an outsider due to her family's frequent moves and her parents, well, they have not been the most hand's on in the world's history. But on the last day of school, Jess's crush finally notices her (well, he at least knows her name), she gets invited to a special meeting and little Jess Parker, perpetual outsider and misfit, suddenly is an Alpha pledge in the Cinderella Society and part of a mission to change lives and shape the next generation to be a force for good. It is a lot to take in all at once.
And that is the same for the reader. I had a lot of info thrown at me and it seems like I was constantly being tugged in two directions. First, we had the teenage drama mess with the handsome quarterback that Jess is crushing on and his younger sister, Jess' tormentor and nemesis, Lexy. And that side of the story wore on me. Second, we had this whole society thing going on, with the Cindys battling the Wickeds for the protection of the regulars out there. Where the Wickeds try to manipulate and control everyone else, the Cindys try to empower them to stand up for themselves and realize how extraordinary and powerful each person is. (As adults, members of these elite group move on to the adult version, ISIS or ATHENA.) There are groups for boys too, Charmings and Villains. And everything seems normal, but then we get a whiff of destiny. *drumroll* Awww. So, everything is a bit unclear by book's end. Plotwise, lately the Wickeds have been upping their game and the Cindys are trying to find out why and suddenly Jess is elected their leader but she is making all the wrong decisions, especially in her personal life, losing sight of who she is in order to try and please other people. She gets straightened out, gets back together with Ryan, and finds out she is a Guardian (a concept brought in late and not all that well explained), and though the battle with the Wickeds is far from over it seems that their leader, Lexy, is just as much in need of saving as the people that the Cindys are trying to save from her and her fellow Wickeds.
I liked that Lexy was more than a villainess and has the potential to be more. Appreciated the relative lack of any coarse language and not having too much kissing, though the whole crush/break-up was so tiresome for me. I'll pick up the next book, but I would appreciate a smoother plot with more focus. I feel like more could have been achieved, esp. with Jess' family.
The one thing handled really well is the issues that girls face. Girls are indeed most insecure about their personality, appearance and strengths - how they act, how they look and whether they have anything to offer. If they feel insecure in any of these areas, they become a target and the the Wickeds of this world do know just how to exploit them. Learning how to be comfortable and confident with who you are as a person is hugely important to every person and I like how important this is to the Cindy's mission. Even the fashion advice was spot on in the story. It was great to see such positive messages portrayed throughout.
Also, the Rule of fives: Will this matter in five hours? Will this matter in five weeks? Will this matter in five years? Great advice anywhere, anytime.
2.5 stars for my enjoyment