Today we have an excerpt from The Cinderella Theorem by Kristee Ravan. If you're a lover of all things fairytale, you might want to check this one out!
“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, can Lily save her fairy tale friends before they vanish forever?”
Excerpt from The Cinderella Theorem:
My mother is a famous writer (in this equation, famous = distracted). For some reason, that I have not been able to calculate, being a famous writer makes it difficult to focus on any one thing for extended periods of time, including daughters’ birthdays. Writing is not as exact as math.
To combat her distraction, I mark my birthday on every calendar in the house. It’s not so much that Mom forgets my birthday. It’s that she gets distracted while planning. This year, I took an additional precaution: I changed her screen saver to “LILY’S BIRTHDAY IS THURSDAY!!!!!”
So, having solved the problem of the distractedness, we are usually ready to proceed with normal birthday celebrations. I say usually because there are occasionally book signings or tours that cause further issues. This year, however, there were none of these kinds of complications.
That is not to say that there were no complications.
There was, in fact, a huge one.
I came home from school intending to go out to dinner with my mother. That is a normal, mathematical way to celebrate a birthday. I grabbed a handful of pretzels from a bowl on the counter and popped my head into Mom’s office to say hello. (Mom’s office = a cluttered, messy room full of unorganized paper scraps that contain notes about her stories.)
Mom smiled at me. “How was school?”
“Not enough math.” I munched a pretzel. “What time are we going out tonight?”
“Going out?” Mom’s voice was quieter, distracted. She was sinking back into her novel.
“For dinner? For my birthday?”
Eyes fixed on her computer screen, she answered, “No. Matt is bringing dinner.”
“Matt? Matt who?” I quickly ran a mental index of my mother’s friends, acquaintances, and contacts for a Matt.
Mom gasped, covered her mouth with her hand, and mumbled, “Oh! It was supposed to be a surprise! What am I—”
“Mom!” I grabbed her shoulders, crushing a pretzel in my palm. “Stop. Who is Matt? Explain logically.”
She nodded. “Okay. Let’s sit down.” She led the way to the living room, and sat beside me on the couch, patting me on the back. “The thing is, Lily, I don’t want to explain too much without your father. He—”
“Wait. What?” I interrupted. “My father?”
“Oh! Fiddlesticks! I did it again! Matt’s going to kill me. I do fine for fifteen years and blow it on the last day. Why am I—”
“Right. Well,” she took a breath. “To begin, I should say that your father is not dead.”
“But, he is dead. You told me that he died–that the train he was on hit a cow.”
“No, Sweetie.” She patted my knee. “He’s not dead. He is alive and he’s coming to dinner.”
“I don’t understand. The train wrecked, the cow died, Dad died. You showed me the news story.”
Mom sighed. (Why is she sighing? Did she think that I would automatically understand? Did I miss the Lily, your dad is not dead memo?) “There was a train wreck, a cow did die. And it was on the news. But your father was not on the train.”
I took a deep breath. “Okay. Where was he?”
“He wants to explain all this to you, and he should be the one to do it. Can we just leave it at: he’s not dead, and he’s coming to dinner tonight?”
“Why did you tell me he was dead?”
“It was safer for everyone if you thought that. But, Lily, your father can explain this a lot better than me.” She stood up. “Now, I need to work on getting the prince to fall in love with the princess, and you should probably get your homework done before dinner. I’m sure you’re going to have a lot to talk about with your dad.” She turned to go back to the office.
Are you kidding me? That’s the end of the conversation?
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