{A Twist in the Tail} Reviewing THE CINDERELLA THEOREM by Kristee Ravan

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

Check out my tour-exclusive excerpt of 

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

  "LILY," MRS. PRICE, MY guidance counselor, flashed a fake smile. "You seemed to have forgotten to put any fun in your schedule. Why don’t I switch you out of Geometry and put you in Health and Careers? Lots of students say this is a fun class…” She let that last part dangle in the air, like a worm on a hook.  
  I don’t like worms on hooks. “No thanks.” 
  Mrs. Price shifted in her seat, still smiling. “And this class helps you discover what you’re good at and lets you explore your career options.” 
  Chatting with a woman who can’t recite the Pythagorean Theorem isn’t exactly how I thought I would be spending my first day of high school. “I know what I want my career to be.”
   Mrs. Price sat up straighter, leaning forward. “Oh, and what is that?”  
  “I want to do pure mathematics research at a major university or be a code breaker for the National Security Agency.”  
  Her eyebrows arched. I think she thought I was going to say I want to be a doctor when I grow up or I want to be an artist.  
  “Lily,” Mrs. Price said slowly, “Are your parents pressuring you to take more math classes?” 
  “No.” I folded my arms across my chest. Mrs. Price has incorrectly assigned two parents to me. This can lead to an error in the equation of my family. 
1 Lily + 1 mother = the Sparrow family. 
The Sparrow family ≠ 1 Lily + 1 mother + 1 father. 

(Pages 11-12 , US e-book edition)

In college, I took a secondary education class where we were all obligated to read a novel in our subject area and find a way to integrate it into the classroom. My one friend wanted to be a math teacher and she had trouble find a novel revolving around math for high school students that could be included for classroom use. Whenever I see a book revolving around math now, I always think of her and that class. It's refreshing to see so many more YA novels talking about math and science now, and I like the way Lily is so practical despite the fairy tale world around her. THE CINDERELLA THEOREM matches the practical with the absurd, creating a world for multiple types of readers. This novel also reads in a way that will appeal to middle-grade readers looking for something a little higher up that's still appropriate, as well as teenagers looking to be immersed in a good tale.

Lily loves math. When she grows up, she wants to be a code breaker or do pure mathematics research. She loves everything about math. She frequently thinks in mathematical terms and has footnotes explaining certain concepts to readers who many not be as math-savvy. When she finds out that her life has been partially a lie and that her father is not only alive, but the king of E. G. Smythe’s Salty Fire Land (A land that is an anagram for ‘fairy tales, myths, legends.') He now wants Lily to go to his world and train to become the Protector of the realm. Lily, however, isn't buying it. Fairy tales aren't REAL. And even if they were, she already knows what she wants to do for a living...and it doesn't include playing make-believe. But what if math can help bring rational solutions to a world that cares too much about hiding a problem rather than finding a solution? Maybe Lily can help make things right while still doing what she loves best.

The world  of E. G. Smythe’s Salty Fire Land is creative and unique. While I'm not a fan of the land's name (What a mouthful!), I like the way it's set-up. The novel seeks to answer the age-old question: What happens after Happily Ever After? Does everyone stay happy? If happiness is lost, characters vanish and reappear in a villainous land. Lily is interning to learn how to keep everyone over a certain level of happy, and the system's structure really intrigued me. While the ending was a little abrupt, it did make me want to read another book in the series and see what happens to Lily next. It made me happy that a snippet of CALCULATING CHRISTMAS was included to whet my appetite!

I'm a fan of the way Ravan blended math with fairy tales, and created a world where it's okay for both to live in harmony. Why CAN'T someone enjoy both? Why must we stereotype? While math has never been my favorite thing, I loved seeing a character who lived, ate, and breathed the subject, and it was really fun to get in her head! THE CINDERELLA THEOREM breaks the mold and manages to appeal to many different demographics.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover is very hit or miss for me. Nothing about it especially stands out. If it didn't have the word Cinderella in the title, I may not have given it a second glance. Then again, there's a crown on the cover. Maybe I still would.
The color is balanced well, which I do like. The red brings out the warmth of the light on the book and the color in the stool, making it look like a warm, inviting place to plop down and read.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance:  ( a mild, blink and you miss it kiss )
Language: ( none that I recall )
Violence: mild ( A villain leaves some gross presents, but nothing too severe )
Other: --

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Kristee Ravan
Release Date: March 10, 2014
Publisher: Kristee Ravan
Received: For Review

Fairy tales are naturally non-mathematical. That is a fact, and fifteen-year-old Lily Sparrow loves factual, mathematical logic. So when her mother confesses that Lily’s deceased father is (a) not dead, (b) coming to dinner, and (c) the ruler of a fairy tale kingdom accessible through the upstairs bathtub, Lily clings to her math to help her make sense of this new double life (1 life in the real world + 1 secret life in the fairy tale world = a double life).

Even though it’s not mathematical, Lily finds herself being pulled into a mystery involving an unhappy Cinderella, a greasy sycophant called Levi, and a slew of vanishing fairy tale characters. Racing against the clock, with a sound mathematical plan, Lily attempts to save her fairy tale friends while proving that normality = happiness.


  1. Great review, Bonnie! Thanks for reviewing this! :)

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

  2. This book sounds amazing. I love adaptions of Cinderella, especially one with a really smart logical main character who finds out she's a lost princess. yay

    The Life of Little Me


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