I've just finished two decidedly girly books: one, a new fairy tale by Lois Lowry, and the other, a belated sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic The Little Princess. My opinion of both books: cute. Not deep, not profound, not moving, not something you'll remember much about in a month, but still each a fun light read.
So first up, The Birthday Ball. Like I said, cute, but the whole time, I kept expecting ... more. I mean, it's Lois Lowry! Author of The Giver and The Willoughbys and Number the Stars! This was just a fluffy little fairy tale. I thought it'd be a fairy tale but funny, or profound, or, well mostly funny, given the cover. There definitely were funny things about it, don't get me wrong. Her word play is often amusing, and the three suitors for the princess Patricia couldn't be more horrifyingly atrocious if they tried. But still. I expected some twist or surprise. Sorry if I'm spoiling it, but there isn't one. It's quite predictable from start to finish. But still cute. I'd say that tween girls and probably older ones too would enjoy it. I guess every book can't be The Giver ... :) Fun to see Lowry experimenting with so many different styles.
And Wishing for Tomorrow. It's been a while since I last read A Little Princess, and I'm sure that many of my memories of it are a bit mixed up with the '90s movie rendering that I adored as a girl. But I do remember the major points of the story and the characters involved. I quite enjoyed this furthering of the story. It happily ties up the loose ends left over when Sara flew the boarding-school coop. The author stays true to the characters as they were in the original but still develops them further to their own happy endings. I agree that more than just Sara deserved their happiness. Ironically, it is the tidiness of it all that feels a little silly, though in reality, that's the kind of ending that such a book, had it been written by Frances herself, probably would have had. That was the way of things, way back when. So the book was fun. And Lavinia was my favorite character, this time 'round. Hilary McKay's understated humor is quite amusing.