Monday, April 22, 2013

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True
by Sarah Strohmeyer
Read: April 15-16, 2013
Published: April 23rd 2013 by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Source: Around The World Arc Tours
Category: Contemporary, YA 

Zoe and her cousin Jess have landed summer internships at Fairyland Kingdom theme park, where a bunch of attractive high school students dress up in fairytale character costumes for the hordes of visitors all summer long. Zoe's not sure why she was accepted into the program, because acting isn't really her thing. But she's excited to spend time with her cousin, check out the hot guys and work in a place that she loved growing up, and that reminds her of her mom. There's also a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream and Do grant. 

Of course the internship doesn't end up being nearly as fun as Zoe imagined, especially because she is assigned to be the Lady-in-waiting aka personal assistant/slave to the park boss "The Queen." Soon backstabbing interns, an evil lap dog, a runaway Cinderella and cutthroat competition make Zoe's job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. Zoe has to decide what's more important: keeping her job, helping her cousin or saving the prince of her dreams? (adapted from Goodreads)

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How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True is like an ABC Family Cinderella movie in book form. You know, A Cinderella Story, Another Cinderella Story, A Singing Cinderella Story, A Dancing Cinderella story (I will shamelessly admit that I have seen all of those movies). This book is a Fairytale Theme Park Cinderella Story, complete with real princes and princesses (yes even a Cinderella!). How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True is similar to those over the top, addicting ridiculous movies, only the story is harder to digest in book form than movie. Probably because I didn't have all those colorful moving pictures to distract me from the fact that this book is not even remotely plausible. 

In fact, the more I thought about this book the more I realized that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Besides the fact that the theme park violates tons of child safety and labor laws, the plot is utterly silly and filled with massive holes. It stretched my suspension-of-disbelief-for-a-contemporary-book abilities to the max. Even so, the story did amuse me, it wasn't stressful and I laughed in several places. I was also fairly surprised by the end, even if that end made the story all the more over the top.

The romance in How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True was cute and triangle free. I did like Zoe's love interest, and the sweet relationship he developed with Zoe. I also did not mind being in Zoe's head. She really tried to do the right things, and I appreciated the efforts she made to grow up and face some experiences from her past. But it was hard to take those parts of the story seriously amidst the rest of the zany fairyland plot. Several of the supporting characters were fun and didn't always do what was expected, which was also a plus. I enjoyed Zoe's supportive cousin Jess, and a few others who became more intriguing as the story went along.  

As a retelling of the Cinderella story, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True has the appropriate elements - an evil stepmother (boss), concealed identities, sabotage, glass slippers, costumes, dances and a prince charming, of course. I liked that the fairytale elements were remixed and the story wasn't always predictable. However, the book was also more confusing at times than it needed to be, and the silliness and my extensive efforts to suspend my disbelief overrode some of the fun of reading it. If How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True was turned into a movie, I would definitely watch it. In book form, it is not quite as charming (pun intended).

Love Triangle Factor: Mild
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone

18 comments:

  1. I'm so glad this book is triangle free! LOL
    I'm getting tired of all these love triangles..
    My current favorite genre is contemporary romance and this book looks amazing!! I really can't wait to get my hands on it!!!
    Great review. Thanks for sharing <3

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

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    1. I hope you end up loving this one! It is a bit implausible, but a lot of fun. Great summer book.

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  2. ZANY is the perfect word to describe this story and plot. In my review, I described it as 'cartoonish" both in characters and premise. I totally agree with what you had to say here about pushing the limits in suspending your disbelief. I love contemps, LOVE them. And I can handle light, fluffy, silly stories, to a degree. But this one was just too over the top. Plus it made me feel old and grumbly, never a good thing in the books I read.

    And my favorite Cinderella retelling is 'Ever After' w/ Drew Barrymore NOT 'Another Cinderella Story' w/ Selena Gomez (YES, I have seen that one too) so you can see why this book didn't work out for me either:)

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    1. I'll have to find your review on GR. But I prefer the Drew Barrymore version better as well, I love the idea of a cinderella retelling, but it is hard to find one that I truly like. I think what's hard is the concealed identity part. Making that look plausible, especially when you have the two running into each other frequently. I didn't buy the concept in this book either. I agree, I like light and fluffy, but not this over the top wacky.

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  3. I did not know this was a Cinderella type story set in a theme park. It sounds cute and all, but I am not sure it is for me. I am happy to hear though that it is trianlge free, these days sniffing out a triangle free book is becoming harder and harder :)

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    1. I share your pain with the triangle issue! I'm always weeding them out of my TBR. There is a hint of another guy possibility right at the beginning, but I never believed it. It's clear all the way through who the 'prince' will be. But I totally understand not being sure if this one is for you, not sure it was for me either!

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  4. Ah, I know what you're talking about! This is on my TBR list, but I'll have to be in the correct mood to read it. Sometimes these over the top and hard to believe and sweet as sugar books ARE hard to digest. I have seen most of the movies you mentioned (I think there's only one I haven't seen) and yes, lol, they are sweet and easy to follow, but in a book form it takes a lot more for me to enjoy it. I like a sweet romance though and awesome supporting characters are always a plus in my book. I don't know.. I used to love all of these retellings, but now I need something else and a whole lot of originality like it is in Everneath series e.g. Thanks for sharing, Lauren:-)

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    1. This is definitely a good one to read when you need a light book in the middle of heavier reads. Is the Everneath series a retelling? I didn't know that. But, I agree that the more the market is saturated with these, the more I want to something original.

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  5. For some reason, I just don't mesh well with these "fun" contemporaries. I love a good laugh as much as the next person, but stretching my mind because a suspension of belief is required? Especially in contemporary? Umm...no. I was never too interested in this book in the first place, but you've sealed the deal that I won't pick it up. It just isn't for me. Thanks for the honest and helpful review, Lauren! :D

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    1. I don't think this one would be for you either, K. This requires a LOT of belief suspension. I think it would be way out of your limit.

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  6. Agh, I don't know how well I'd deal with plot holes, these things tend to annoy me beyond reason, but at least it was love triangle-free, which is a definite plus, and the romance was sweet. Unlike Keertana, I rarely read contemporaries, but when I do, I want them fun, sweet and angst-free, and this sounds very close to it.
    Lovely review, Lauren!

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    1. This is definitely the kind of book that is mindless, over the top, fun, but the more you think about it, the more you realize that it is riddled with holes. However, you're right that this one is also sweet and though there's drama, it's not of the stressful variety.

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  7. I didn't finish this one. Like Heather, I thought that it fell into the "too young for me" category. I laughed when I saw your ABC Family remark -- I would have compared it to a show on the Disney Channel. There's an audience for stories like that, but they aren't for me.

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    1. I hope the right audience finds this book. But I agree, it wasn't me either.

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  8. haha there's nothing wrong with watching fluffy, chick lit movies. There's something comforting, almost relaxing about them. Because of how prevalent the Cinderella story is used, however, I find myself becoming a bit pickier on certain retellings that I read/watch. I do not think that this book and I would get along very well, but perhaps I will watch the a potential movie adaptation!

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    1. I think it's easier for me to handle a mindless, fluffy chicklit movie than a book, then I can fall asleep or do something else or just relax while I'm watching. I feel more committed to a book and notice plot issues a lot easier. Plus it takes more time to get through them. I agree that this one probably won't be for you though!

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  9. I liked this one a lot but I can see where you are coming from. It actually took me a lot longer to get through it than I thought it would, despite the fluff. I'm a huge Disney fan so I really liked the whole theme park aspect of it and all the small Disney comparisons.

    Great review! I would so watch this if it was on the Disney Channel or ABC Family. haha it is SO my kind of movie ;)

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