Life in middle school is full of changes. Just when Cindy thinks accidently punching her crush in the face is bad enough, her mom dies. Suddenly she has a new step-mother with two step-sisters. But none of that compares to a new curse that transforms her into a skeleton each night.

The delightful, fairy-tale retelling Cinderskella is a fun, new twist on a classic story. Young readers will giggle at the silliness as Cindy struggles through difficult changes, journeys into the underworld, and learns to look at the world with a new attitude.

Cinderskella by Amie Borst and Bethanie Borst


Author: Amie and Bethanie Borst

Illustrator: Roch Hercha

Age Range: 9 – 12

Grade Level: 3 – 6

Series: Scarily Ever Laughter

Paperback: 268 pages

Formats: Paperback, eBook

It starts like every other normal day in middle school. As Cindy tries to strut across the classroom to catch the eye of Ethan, she accidently trips and punches him in the face. He quickly runs out the room with a bloody nose. As Cindy sulks back into her chair, devastated that she ruined her chance with her crush, the principal calls her name on the loudspeaker.

There is no way that he could have known about her accident so quickly. No way she can be in trouble already. But when Cindy hears his message, she knows it is the day she’s been dreading for a long time. Her mother is gravely ill and the sinking feeling in her gut lets her know today is the horrible day. Cindy goes home and sits by her mom to say goodbye. As she dies, he mom whispers weird words.

Turns out her mother is a secret witch and in her dying breath gave a curse to her little ‘Cinderella’. She soon discovers that the curse transforms her into Cinderskella. Her skin fades away in an instant, leaving nothing but her bones. Every night she turns into a skeleton.

How would this make you feel? Would like to become a skeleton each night? Cindy is angry at first, filled with confusion as to why her mother would do this to her. Worse yet, her father seems ashamed at her in skeleton form and will barely look at her. It is a weird thing to get used to. So she spends so time staring in the mirror, getting to know her new nightly body. She counts her bones and discovers that she can’t feel hot or cold.

Soon Cinderskella begins to feel more comfortable. It’s not all bad. She even has fun playing a trick on a mean neighbor by scaring him in her skeleton form. Then when she visits her mom’s grave at night, she discover the real reason behind her transformation. It isn’t a curse, it’s a gift. Now, in skeleton form, Cindy is able to travel to the underworld to visit her mom. But only at night while she is a skeleton.

Just when Cindy is feeling like she is getting the hang of everything, her father surprises her with his new wife. Instantly she has a step-mom with two step-sisters… I think you know where is heading.

There a “Spring-Fling” dance at school. Ethan even calls her on the phone. But in order to go to the dance she has to finish all of her chores, all while keeping her skeleton secret. It’s going to be a wild night!

I absolutely loved reading Cinderskella! It a wonderful, fairy-tale retelling that is filled with heart. Cindy is a relatable middle schooler struggling with everyday life and trying her best to understand her parents. I especially loved the many asides that the narrator stopped the story to connect with the reader directly. It was silly and fun.

This book gave me many flashbacks to my childhood and reminded me of raising my own children. The mother-daughter author team collaborated beautifully to weaving wisdom of each point of view. I highly recommend Cinderskella for all young readers.

To get to know the author more, be sure to read my interview with Amie Borst