Cinderella 2000: Looking Back...by Mavis Jukes
Ashley Ella Toral wants to spend the last hours of 1999 and the first hours of the year 2000 at the Green Hill Country Club with her (hopefully) soon-to-be boyfriend. And what's standing in the/i>
A hilarious account of preparing for New Year's Eve for the millennium with romance, drama, shopping, two devilish stepsisters, and a happily-ever-after ending.
Ashley Ella Toral wants to spend the last hours of 1999 and the first hours of the year 2000 at the Green Hill Country Club with her (hopefully) soon-to-be boyfriend. And what's standing in the way of Ashley's romantic success? A stepmother who yells "Yoo-hoo!" to all Ashley's friends, and twin stepsisters who think there's nothing more fun than listening in on Ashley's phone conversations. At first, Ashley's stepmother, Phyllis, says that she needs a night out and so Ashley must baby-sit the twins. But then Phyllis has the bright idea of calling the mother of one of the party-throwers to get the twins invited, too! So worse than having to baby-sit, she'll have the twins at the party with her. Now Ashley isn't sure it's worth showing up to the country club at all never mind what she's going to wear. As the seconds tick down to the year 2000, will some fairy godmother appear to save the night so that Ashley can dance with her Prince Charming and welcome the new millennium?
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Read an Excerpt
Two thousand silver helium balloons, with curled silver ribbons hanging down?
“You must be kidding!” said Ashley. She twirled the phone cord around her finger. “Two thousand?”
“That’s what I heard . . . ,” said Ana. “And there’s going to be an ice sculpture in the middle of the buffet table: two, zero, zero, zero—with flower petals frozen in the numbers. But you can’t tell anybody.”
“It’s a total secret.”
“Fine,” said Ashley. “But—who told you?”
“Emily. Brittany and Mara were talking about it in that new store next to Starr’s. In the dressing room. They didn’t realize Emily was trying on tops in the next booth.”
“Emily hid in there till they left.”
“Did she get any tops?”
“No. But she got a plastic tulip lamp.” Ana paused. “Did your stepmom say you could get a new dress for the party? Or no.”
“I’ve put off asking.”
“Well, you’d better hurry up. The party’s in two days!”
“I know,” said Ashley. “But Phyllis’s been saying she’s all ‘spent out from Christmas . . . that the new couch and La-Z-Boy chair were really ‘presents meant for all of us.’ ”
Ana grew quiet. “Well, if Phyllis doesn’t say yes, remember: You really do look cute in your little black dress, Ashley.”
“Mmmm-hmmm! Do you haveshoes?”
“I can polish those little black strappy heels I got for Emily’s Bat Mitzvah.”
“They still fit?”
“I think so.” But come to think of it, thought Ashley, I hope my toes don’t hang over the edge.
Ashley heard a low rumbling sound. She lifted the curtain and looked out the window.
Her stepmom was pulling in.
Ashley watched the ancient green station wagon lurch to a stop, barely missing one of the two dented garbage cans sitting on the side of the driveway.
“I have to go,” Ashley told Ana. “Phyllis’s home. And it’s my turn for dishes—again.”
“Talk to you later,” said Ana.
They said goodbye and Ashley hung up the phone.
She spied on her two stepsisters as they got out of the car, each holding
a shopping bag from Zil’s. They left the car door open and strolled toward
the front stoop. Ashley heard her stepmother shout, “Shut the car door!”
but neither Paige nor Jessica responded.
“I mean it!”
“You!” yelled Paige. “We have to watch the soaps.”
“You do not! One of you shut that car door!”
Words were exchanged; one sister swung her bag at the other. There was a
brief scuffle, followed by a chase across the front yard.
Ashley let the curtain drop to the sill. She turned and surveyed the
kitchen. The sink was half full of greasy water and piled with dirty
dishes. A frying pan had been dunked and left to soak. A piece of fried
egg was dangling from the handle.
There was even a stalk of celery floating in the water.
Ashley fished it out by one leaf and dropped it into the trash under the
Ick! she thought.
She drained the sink and began to fill it again.
There was a loud thump at the front door, and Ashley heard a shout and
giggles as her stepsisters raced down the hallway and slammed their
A moment later, Ashley’s stepmother appeared in the kitchen. “You’ll never
Ashley looked up. Phyllis’s glasses were on top of her head, pulling back
her hair and making two frightful wings.
“You guys went to the mall,” said Ashley. “Again.” She squirted some
dishwashing liquid into the water and watched the bubbles rise.
“Right,” said Phyllis. “We hit the sale at Zil’s. The twins got velvet
jumpers. And black dresses—similar to your black dress.”
“How similar?” Ashley asked.
Phyllis shrugged. “Anyway, I’ve got news! My grammie has overcome her fear
of flying! She’s spontaneously decided to come out. And she’s coming in
guess when. Tomorrow afternoon! Can you believe it? I’m picking her up
from the airport bus, right after I get off of work.”
“You’re not meeting her flight?”
“How?” said Phyllis. “You’re on vacation, I’m not. That bum of a boss of
mine has me working all the way up to four o’clock on New Year’s Eve . . .
like I don’t have a life. But I have news for him and the rest of the
world: My whole life’s in front of me, not behind me. Right?”
“And Grammie and I are going to ring in the new millennium with a bottle
of French champagne she’s been saving since 1984.”
“Cool,” said Ashley. She looked down at the suds filling the sink. “Where
will she sleep?”
“Actually that’s something we need to talk about,” Phyllis began. She
walked over to Ashley and put her arm around Ashley’s shoulder. “It will
only be for four nights,” she whispered, giving Ashley a squeeze.
“Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Help me out here.”
“She can’t sleep in your bed with you? It’s a king!”
“The woman’s seventy-five years old,” said Phyllis. “I think she’s
entitled to her own room, at her age.”
Ashley picked up the dish brush and scrubbed at the little icky plugs of
garlic stuck in the garlic press. She rinsed it and put it into the drain.
“The Christmas couch is really fluffy,” said Phyllis in a cheery way. “And
you can snuggle down in—in all those orange pillows.”
“Can’t the twins?” Ashley asked.
“Two? On one couch?”
“Well, what about one in a sleeping bag, on the floor? Or in the La-Z-Boy,
tipped all the way back?”
“Sleep on the floor or in a chair? That wouldn’t be fair. Would it?”
Ashley said nothing. It was plain that she would be giving up her room; it
was pointless to discuss it. But hmmmm, she thought. Maybe now would be
the moment . . .
Even though she was generally a jeans, sweatshirts and sneakers girl,
there was a streak of princess in Ashley. She looked down at the dishwater.
Steam was rising.
Imagine, she thought. You’re floating into the New Millennium’s Eve party,
wearing high-heel shoes and a new dress, with part of your hair drawn up
and fastened on top with a crown of rosebuds, each bud on an individual
hairpin . . . or maybe just pulled back with some rhinestone clips . . .
and the rest of your hair tumbling onto your shoulders and down your back.
Ashley popped her eyes open. Where was her body glitter? She hadn’t seen
So much steam had risen from the sink, Ashley had practically given
herself a facial. She quickly washed and rinsed the dishes, putting them
neatly into the drain. “Phyllis?” she said. “Is there anything else you
Phyllis had wandered into the living room and was sorting through some
bills. “Could you please come in here and talk to me? I don’t like to talk
room to room. You know that.”
Ashley dried her hands on a dishtowel. “Could I get a new dress for the
New Millennium’s Eve dance?” she quietly asked as she stood in the living
room doorway. “I saw an ad in the paper for a huge post-Christmas sale at
“Mom!” cried Jessica’s voice from the other room.
“Where’s the remote?” yelled Paige.
“I don’t know! Find it!” called Phyllis. She glanced up at Ashley. “You
mean that country club party?”
“Yes,” said Ashley.
“That party’s on . . . New Year’s Eve?” said Phyllis.
“Yes! You knew that!”
“Shhh! Maybe I did know. Let me think for once, will you, Ashley? Don’t
hound me. I’ve got more to worry about than the Ocean Crest Country Club.
My gosh. Look at this Visa bill!”
“Mom!” called Paige.
Phyllis looked at the ceiling. “What!” she hollered back.
There was no answer.
“Ashley?” said Phyllis. “Keep this in mind: I don’t keep your social
events in my head. It’s not my job. Did you mark this party on the
“We don’t have a year 2000 calendar.”
“December thirty-first is not on a year 2000 calendar!” said Phyllis
grumpily. “In the future, mark things on the calendar on the wall by the
back door. Anyway, I forgot. And now I’m banking on you to hold down the
fort on New Year’s Eve.”
“Hold down the fort?” said Ashley. “On New Year’s Eve? Of the year 2000?”
“Yes. Flying out to see me is the first spontaneous thing Grammie’s done
in fifteen years. She’s been so cooped up. Do you know that she couldn’t
even fly out for your father’s and my wedding? I had to drag him all the
way out to Florida to meet her.”
“You mean when you and Dad went on your honeymoon and stopped off in
Florida, on your way to Bermuda, and left me and the baby-sitter home to
deal with the twins?”
Phyllis grew very quiet.
“When they were in their terrible twos?”
“They’re still in their terrible twos . . . ,” said Phyllis.
You can say that again, thought Ashley.
Phyllis looked down at her hands. “Grammie
wanted so much to come out here for your father’s funeral. And that would
have meant so much to me. But she just couldn’t make it. She’s had such a
terrible fear of flying ever since . . . well. You know the story.”
“Yes, I know the story.”
“You’re not the only orphan in town,
“I know that, Phyllis. And I’m sorry about what happened to your parents.
“I’ll have you know,” said Phyllis, “that Grammie hasn’t even set eyes on
my children. Except once, when I took the twins out to Orlando to visit
“You mean when you took the twins on a vacation to Disney World?” said
Ashley. “And had your grandmother meet you guys there? And you all stayed
in the Magic Castle, or whatever that place is, with five pools?”
“While I stayed home? And ‘held down the fort,’ with Dad?”
“Well, it wasn’t your birthday, Ashley. And we couldn’t all go . . . ,”
said Phyllis. “In any event, I would appreciate it very, very much
if you would stay home with the girls on
New Year’s Eve, so my grandmother and I can
do something elegant. And memorable. And adult.”
Ashley’s heart began thumping. “But you said I could go to the party!”
“I’ll duplicate everything to do with that ridiculous party, I promise
you,” said Phyllis. “You want me to pop a prime rib in the oven? You want
Shirley Temples? And parfaits for dessert? Raspberries on vanilla ice
cream! I’ll get out the parfait glasses. Invite a friend over. Is Ana
Phyllis wasn’t listening. “And how about Emily? You’ll be three peas in a
pod. I’ll buy you those little paper champagne bottle poppers, with
streamers inside. You guys can rent movies to distract the twins. It’ll be
a blast! A real hoot!”
Ashley heaved a fat sigh. “It will not be
a blast. Or a hoot! Nobody is available for Shirley Temples, peas in pods
or prime rib! And even if they were, we hate big slabs of cow meat!”
“How about a small turkey, then?”
“I want to go to the party, Phyllis! This is not just any party. It’s the
biggest party ever! With two thousand balloons!”
“Oh-kay,” said Phyllis. “Oh-kay.” She be-
gan slowly nodding and pacing. She suddenly whirled around. “You want
balloons?” she asked Ashley. “I’ll buy balloons. My friend Julia works at
Spencer’s Rentals and let me tell you, we can set you girls up with some
major balloons, if that’s what it takes to make you happy! Put in your
order.” She began rapidly clicking her fingers. “Come on . . . come on . .
. how many do you want? You name the number!”
“That’s not what it takes to make me happy!”
“Well, what does it take?”
Ashley stood her ground. “I want. To go. To the party!”
“I can’t believe you’re pressuring me like this,” Phyllis muttered.
“Well, it’s a very important party!”
“Oh, yes—I know,” said Phyllis sarcastically. “I know all about it. Five
families—the town royalty—make the Biggest, Most Very Important Party Ever
for their five popular kids, and these five kids get together to determine
who will be graced with an invitation . . . and therefore become
officially certified as being in with the crowd.”
Ashley blinked. What was that supposed to mean?
“And you’re totally down for this whole event, even though your own best
friends have been excluded. Am I right?”
Ashley didn’t answer.
Ashley still said nothing.
“I thought so.”
“Ana and Emily have plans! Their families are spending the whole weekend
at the beach. In that same cabin they once rented, and invited me to.
Right on the beach—out on that sand spit. Remember?”
“How would I remember?” said Phyllis.
“They’re going to watch fireworks go off
over the ocean,” said Ashley, “then stay up
all night around a campfire and watch the
“How would I remember?” asked Phyllis again. “Was I invited along? No.
Were the twins? No. Anyway—you know what? Good for them, for renting the
cabin on the beach. I wish I had thought of something so good. I don’t
approve of this country club affair. And
I don’t care for the snob factor.”
Stay calm, Ashley told herself. Stay calm and say nothing until you think
of something good to say.
“Well,” she ventured a moment later, “just out of curiosity, Phyllis,
where would you
two go on New Year’s Eve, with your bottle of champagne?”
“I haven’t decided. This has all come up so suddenly—maybe the Shangri-La
Room, at the Crown Hotel. I’ll call and see what’s shakin’.”
What’s shakin’—at the Shangri-La Room? thought Ashley. “Well, wouldn’t it
to drink champagne at home?” she asked, in
as polite a way as possible under the circumstances. She didn’t wait for
an answer. “And do you really think it would be good to keep your elderly
grandmother up till midnight—at her age?”
Phyllis closed her eyes and shook her head. “I’m a widow and a single
parent, therefore I’m incapable of having a good time. Ha! Is that what
you think, Ashley?”
“Good. Because that would be a rather sexist notion, wouldn’t you say? And
that an elegant and educated senior woman would be too far over the hill
to stay up till midnight? Or responsibly drink a glass or two of
champagne? We’re not planning to get tiddly!”
“I didn’t say you were!”
“I’m surprised at you, Ashley. I really am.”
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Ashley Toral wants to enjoy herself on New Years Eve. She has her heart set on going to a party at the fancy Ocean Crest Country Club that she has been invited to by the most popular boy in her grade, and her ¿almost boyfriend¿ Trevor. Unfortunately, Phyllis, Ashley¿s step mom, and only real parent she has left, wants her to spend the night at home with her two bratty twin sisters, Jessica and Paige so she can go out with Ashley¿s Gram who is visiting from Florida. After doing some begging, Phyllis agrees with Ashley that she will try and find a way for Ashley to go to the party. But before she can go to the party she has to get a new dress, get money to go in a limo to the party with her friends and worry about seeing Trevor there. On top of all that, Ashley has to clean the house, make the meals and watch the twins while her step mom is at work. Phyllis finally comes up with an idea for New Years. She decides that Ashley will go to the party with the twins and she and Gram will still go out. But Gram has a different plan. She decides Ashley will go to the party alone and enjoy herself. Ashley also will get to discover a few surprises about her Gram. I thought this book was pretty good. It was not the best book I¿ve read. It was very realistic and I think many people could relate to the story. I felt that it was easy to have emotions for the characters and feel bad for them when bad things happened. I felt sad, upset, and embarrassed when Ashley did. Over all, I enjoyed this book. It was a quick and fun read.
All of my friends know i love Cinderella! So i was browsing through the library one day, to read something in the car the next day an i saw 'Cinderella 2000 looking back' and had to read it... It was amazing! i wish i had a fairy god mother!!
I love this book soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!! i couldn't put it down!!! I was sad when i finished the book. I really hope there is a seguel!!!
this is one of the best books i have ever read in my life and i just hope everyone reads it!
the book waas awesome!! I t was a great way to desribe the 21st Cinderella girl!! It has a happy ending!1 A perfect fairy tale~
Mavis Jukes is my ELP teacher, and she's great! 'Cinderella 2000' is one of the best books I've ever read. Mavis is a great teacher too. This book has a great plot. It's about Ashley, a fourteen year old girl living with her stepmother and two younger twin stepsisters. Ashley wants to go to a party with her crush on December 31, 1999, but her stepmother forbids it. Go Mavis!