In this inventive Cinderella retelling, there's a ball and a prince, sure. But this heroine wants to earn her freedom - and create her own fairy-tale ending. Nicolette's awful stepsisters call her "Mechanica" to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother's knee. Her mum is gone now, though, and the Steps have pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday-and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse-Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. And the timing may be perfect: There's a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike. AGES: 12 + AUTHOR: Betsy Cornwell is the author of the YA novel Tides, which SLJ called "a nuanced debut" and "an insightful and compelling work." She graduated from Smith College and was a columnist and editor at Teen Ink before receiving an MFA in creative writing from Notre Dame, where she also taught fiction. She lives in Ireland. Visit her website at www.betsycornwell.com.