TITLE: Near-Mint Cinderella
AUTHOR: Alison Ruth
GENRE: Young Adult Novel
PUBLISHER: Aqueous Books
PAGES: 332 pp.
BINDING: Perfect/ trade paperback
EDITION: 1st print
RELEASE DATE: Nov. 30, 2014
In a Tennessee town high in the Appalachians, Kaylee’s adolescence is being stolen by her movie star-beautiful mother. While Kaylee slaves in a decrepit rental swarming with half-siblings, her only escape is her fantastical imagination. Kaylee transforms an almost-shuttered doll hospital into a magical Camelot, and its decayed dolls into King Arthur’s Court. But the adult world looms in the menacing forms of a truant officer and a repossession agent, so Kaylee must weave her own tale of escape from an abandoned trailer park. And though it was once an infamous cult compound, she finds its mysterious past may liberate her from a dead-end future, where imagination is the only thing about her that is free.
Alison Ruth’s interviews with musicians have been published in Creem, Rock, and Rock Fever. Her short stories have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and are published or forthcoming in Southern Indiana Review, Kestrel, J Journal, G.W. Review, Tulane Literary Magazine, Pamplemousse, and Confrontation. Near-Mint Cinderella is her first novel. Visit her website at http://www.alisonruthlit.com/.
Gritty. Gripping. Beautifully written. Kaylee is a heroine you can root for from the first page to the last… Alison Ruth is the writer version of a rising rock star.
—Susan Gabriel, author of The Secret Sense of Wildflower (Best Book of 2012 – Kirkus Reviews)
Near-Mint Cinderella is an engrossing tale of poverty, hunger, lost dreams, and finding a way out. Once the story grabs you, you must keep reading. It is a haunting struggle for hope and a future that isn’t near enough.
—Elizabeth O. Dulemba, award-winning author of A Bird on Water Street
Sixteen-year-old Kaylee—unable to cope with school and forced to keep house for her beautiful but overbearing mother and many half-siblings—seeks refuge in a world that’s part fantasy, part grim reality. Near-Mint Cinderella is a dark but lyrical tale in which the elusive and illusory happily-ever-after isn’t quite what it seems.
—Becky Mushko, author of Ferradiddledumday
Alison Ruth’s debut novel, Near-Mint Cinderella, is a fascinating coming-of-age tale with Gothic overtones. Kaylee (or K-Flea as she is called by school bullies) suffers from a chaotic home with a cruel, vain mother and assorted siblings by different fathers. Set in a Tennessee town in the Appalachians, the story describes the endemic poverty of the region. Kaylee is the eldest and least-loved member of her family. To survive, she seeks comfort in an abandoned doll hospital. Only there can she express her feelings and find enjoyment from secretly reading. She stumbles across some abandoned trailers that earlier housed a cult run by a man who kidnapped young girls. I found the story to be a real page-turner, and I read it in one sitting. I recommend it highly for all readers from teenagers upward.
—Dorothy Hoobler, co-author of the Edgar-award winning Samurai Detective Series
Beautifully written. From a kitchen strewn with grease and Pop Tarts, Kaylee serves up meals for her half-sisters, then escapes to a doll factory where she builds fantasies for Guinevere and Cinderella. She must rely on her imagination for hope because her movie star-beautiful mother doesn’t want her, her boyfriend’s marrying another, and the truant officer wants to cripple her hands with a claw hammer. But Kaylee inspires us with her capacity for hope, and her quiet plans to escape.
—Sandra Dutton, author of Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth