A Cygnet's Tale
Just when she finally accepts her life’s mystery she meets two people that tell her things about herself that she never knew, teach her to accept who she is, why she is here, and show her that the way to one’s true self is through the heart of another.
‘A Cygnet’s Tail’ is an intriguing adaption of the children’s tail of the Ugly Duckling that Susan Burdorf has updated for today’s young adults.
A CYGNET’S TALE by Susan Burdorf is an updated tale of the Ugly Duckling that dives so much deeper into the emotional struggle of being an outsider. Our story follows sixteen-year-old Helen Schwann who was abandoned on the steps of a church as just a day old baby. She’s raised in foster care and is an outsider in her school, often picked on by the school’s queen bee. She struggles with her place at home and at school and is unsure of her future, what will happen when she ages out of the foster system? How will she afford to live on her own?
When a substitute teacher assigns a class project that requires students to create a family tree, with interviews and heritage details, Helen spins. As an adopted child, she doesn’t know any of these answers and doesn’t have anyone who can help her. The substitute teachers vows to help Helen is any way she can to help her family and Travis immediately promises to be by her side as well.
Helen is able to eventually find the answers to her questions and her new relationship with Travis gives her the confidence she needs to see it through. Helen grows a ton in this story and it’s exciting to watch her blossom into the incredible girl everyone but her is able to see.
What Left Me Wanting More:
While I enjoyed the character of Travis, his connection to Helen felt too much like insta-love to me. He’s a new student to her school but has a past with Queen Bee Rachel. He immediately takes Helen’s side when Rachel makes fun of her and is obviously interested in her romantically, despite the fact they haven’t spent any time together. He’s supportive and kind and helpful in practical ways to Helen even though he has his own skeletons in the closet that require his attention.
A CYGNET’S TALE is a strong debut for Susan Burdorf and I would highly recommend for fans who enjoy a retelling and/or seeing the underdog come out triumphant.