Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
Published Dutton Juvenile 2007
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: paperback from the library
When the character actors at Disney World go on strike, the teens hired as replacements learn that it isn’t exactly the Happiest Place on Earth. Ella gets to be Cinderella, simply because the shoe fits. It should be a dream come true, but Ella no longer believes in dreams. Luke is a fur character, Dale the chipmunk. Chip is played by his girlfriend, Cassie, who is perfect in every way. Why, then, does Luke find himself more drawn to imperfect things like the theme park’s Phantom? A team-building scavenger hunt brings Luke and Ella together. As they uncover the Magic Kingdom’s treasures, they discover an undeniable magic between them.
This book was exactly what I needed – super cute, adorable, and just overall extremely entertaining. I am a HUGE Disney fan, so naturally, if it has to do anything with Disney, I will be reading it. This book isn’t exactly focused on Disney per say but the romance between Ella and Luke was so cute. It’s the perfect summery read.
This is set in Disney World. Naturally, I love Disney World and have been there so many times, it’s just like the palm of my hand. If there was anything that drew me from the story, it would probably be that this book was not written as if the authors had ever even been to Disney World. Everything was off, from the restaurants and the food and the schedules. This would probably not be too big of an issue if I was not overly obsessed with Disney, but knowing that it wasn’t supposed to be like that threw me out of the story. The geography and set up of the parks is really different than what they write in the novel, so it isn’t super realistic to its location, but I did like all the Disney fun facts Mark had.
Ella plays Cinderella and I really loved her approach to the character. She didn’t like playing a character all day, but she took it in stride. It’s the same with Luke. No one in this book was upset about playing a particular character, but I loved how that’s how we got to know them. Luke and Cassie are Chip and Dale, Amy is Snow White, Mark is Prince Charming, and even the side characters have all their own characters. It’s a really fun detail in the story. All of the characters are developed really well and the romance feels natural. It isn’t like a sappy romance story, at all. This story of Ella and Luke is really beautiful. It’s not insta-love, it’s not lust, and it takes a while to come about, giving the reader time to fall in love with the characters by themselves and as a couple.
The writing in this book is also done so well. There are some really beautiful quotes from this book and really good messages that I really enjoyed. It’s also a little bit quirky at times which really reminded me of something very John Green-esque. The story never gets boring or overly lovey. The book is balanced all the way throughout and I really fell in love with the whole story and the characters who led us through it. I just wish the authors had done a bit more research into the setting before jumping in.