Jennifer Kloester Penguin Teen AUS Published 24th July 2013/27th August 2014 Bought from Dymocks/Received from Netgalley Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a galley of The Rapunzel Dilemma in exchange for an honest review.
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The Cinderella Moment & The Rapunzel Dilemma are companion novels that are best read one after the other, the first being The Cinderella Moment. In this vein they are more like a first book and its sequel, or a series, as opposed to companion novels as there are things in The Rapunzel Dilemma that make more sense if you’ve already read The Cinderella Moment.
Both books are around the same size and follow the stories of Angel (TCM) and Lily (TRD) as they each follow their dreams in the fashion and theatre industries respectively. Both girls are young, around sixteen – seventeen, and have been best friends for ten years. There is a big difference between the girls though, and this is the one of privilege and wealth. Lily is the granddaughter of a French countess, while Angel is the daughter of Lily’s father’s housekeeper. Lily has all the opportunities offered by wealth, whereas Angel does not. This has never been a problem before, but in The Cinderella Moment Lily offers Angel the chance to switch places with her on a visit to Paris to see her grandmother, who she hasn’t seen since she was five. Lily, who has no interest in Paris, wants to go to a summer school at the London Drama Academy that her father didn’t want her to do. But conveniently Dad’s in South America and Angel and Lily are left with the evil potential stepmother. They hatch an elaborate plan – Angel heads to Paris, Lily to London. The readers follow Angel and kind of forget about Lily. Which is fine because The Cinderella Moment is Angel’s story and she is immersed in the fashion and culture of Paris while pretending to be her best friend.
The Rapunzel Dilemma follows on from The Cinderella Moment and is Lily’s story. She has scored a rare audition to be a student at the London Drama Academy and when she gets in, all the other students are convinced its because of her wealth. Lily has to work to prove that she has earned her place there but she’s finding it tough to be told criticism for the first time in her life. On top of feeling like she can’t fit in with her peers and roommates (maybe buying the expensive bedspread wasn’t the best idea?) she is also being left threats in her locker and framed when her roommates’ things go missing, get trashed or get ruined.
Both girls find their princes in their fairytale stories – both are sweet, though Angel’s is the son of English aristocracy and Lily’s is a biker artist from the wrong side of the tracks. Both encounter problems with their princes caused only by misunderstandings but not, of course, from any wrongdoing. Both girls break rules but are never really reprimanded and all misunderstandings and any wrongs or harms done to the girls are resolved and wrapped up neatly with a bow in the last thirty pages – they get their happy endings.
The fairytale element, where it existed, as nice to recognise in both books and served as a reminder that these are not literary works of art, but still enjoyable reads. Light and fluffy isn’t always bad and I need to remind myself of this more often! Both books read like romantic comedies or ‘chick flicks’, something I would watch with my best friend, and I would probably really enjoy them. They both have their obvious flaws but I tried not to let them detract from the reading experience, as I did enjoy them both. I preferred The Rapunzel Dilemma to The Cinderella Moment, though only just. I enjoyed the mystery of the saboteur and despite Lily’s attitude, a girl I probably wouldn’t like if I met her, I still managed to accept it and liked what I was reading anyway. I felt the mystery added to the story and gave it more substance. Although, I have to admit, I shed a couple of tears at the end of The Cinderella Moment because I am just a sucker for happy endings and resolved misunderstandings even when I rage on about clichés. Yes, you can say it – I’m a sap!