Summary: Ash’s life is changing as her father has proposed to his girlfriend Ella, and her daughters, Julia and Katie, are about to move in. Feeling ignored as engagement party and wedding plans start flying, tension builds within Ash coming out in the most unexpected way. Events conspire to place Ash in a Cinderella-esque position, but as she changes herself to win back her father’s attention, she realises the enviable lives of her new step-sisters are not as perfect as they seem. The answer lies in Ash having the confidence to be herself, and finding the ability to be honest about what she needs to fit into their new family.
Number of Pages: 165
Age Range: 14-16
Review: With the twist of being a modern-day Cinderella tale, Ash lives the reality of gaining a new step-mother and two step-sisters years after her mother dies. Though her step-mother seems like a princess herself, and her daughters appear both perfect and, at times, evil, Ash finds herself lagging behind with her dyed hair and relaxed fashion sense. Her share of her father’s attention seems to be dwindling quickly, leaving her full of angst over the lack of attention.
But instead of a fairy godmother, Ash gains the ability to break glass with her mind. As her anger and frustration grow, glass keeps shattering around her. For a time she tries to keep things under wraps by changing her appearance and attempting to be who she thinks her father would want her to be, but Harvey-Fitzhenry leaves her reader with the positive message that being honest and being yourself is ultimately the best course of action.
I’ve read Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry (although it’s under Alyxandra Harvey) as well, and what I like best about her writing are the spunky characters and wonderful friendships she creates. Mouse continually supported Ash, getting her into trouble at times but always being honest with her about her choices. Together, they were just fun to read about.
It’s a lighter read because of the length, although it does cover more serious themes, and I would recommend it for female teen readers.
“In the old stories, magic seems so simple.
It’s just another part of the pattern, like rain or birthday presents. Simple. A spell for sleep, feathers that transform you into a bird, red shoes that won’t stop dancing.
And there are always warnings.
If you’re paying attention.” – Ash from Broken by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry, page 52
“She wasn’t perfect. I wasn’t the only one who was a little broken, a little chipped.” – Ash from Broken by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry, page 151
“I stared harder. I knew I could do this. I just had to find my calm centre. I couldn’t allow myself to get all bruised and shaken by every thought and emotion. And I couldn’t repress everything until it just burst out of me. I imagined the thick gooey grout, smearing it with a paste knife, setting tiny glass pieces in just the right order, building the vase up out of nothing, then wiping the grout away so nothing held it together.” – Ash from Broken by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry, page 153
“I’d have to talk to Dad in the morning. I had been angry with him for letting me get lost in the shuffle. For accepting me only when I wasn’t myself anymore. Maybe her would listen now, mostly because I wasn’t going to let him ignore me. And I wasn’t going to be anyone other than myself, not ever again, not for anyone.” – Ash from Broken by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry, page 165