Saturday, April 25, 2009
Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
When the Disney World character actors go on strike, teens are hired as replacements. Ella is assigned the role of Cinderella simply because the shoes fit. And every afternoon at three o'clock she gets married to Prince Charming. A perfect dream come true . . . except Ella doesn't believe in dreams anymore. Meanwhile, Luke is one of the fur characters (Dale, the chipmunk), and his girlfriend, Cassie, plays his counterpart, Chip. Cassie is perfect in every way, so why does Luke want to be with Cinderella? Then Luke and Ella are brought together during a scavenger hunt, and as they uncover the Magic Kingdom's hidden treasures, they discover an undeniable magic between them. Perhaps dreams really can come true after all . . .
If you've been reading my blog for awhile, it's no secret that I love Disney Theme Parks. I went to Disneyworld in March and loved every minute of the over-crowded awesomeness. It's exhausting and exhilarating, cliched and yet still magical. And this book captures all of that perfectly.
I don't remember seeing this book in hardcover, but when we received the paperback at my store, it immediately caught my eye (what with the bright pink cover and all). Then I read the back (the above synopsis) and I knew I had to buy it and read it right away. I wasn't disappointed.
This book would've hooked me even without the Disney element. Well, it was the Disney that drew me in, but the characters and story kept me reading. Barkley and Hepler have created a wonderful, quirky and yet believable romance between two people I would love to spend some time with.
Ella has a devastating secret that she feels like she can't share with anyone and which she is running away from as fast as she can. Luke is running, too, from the life his parents and brother have planned for him back at home as part of the family business. These two star-crossed loves, Cinderella and Dale, are wonderfully written. Their dialogue is right on and the authors truly get that feeling of being young and lost with no idea which way to go.
The book is filled with a cast of enchanting characters who will remind you of people you've known and loved throughout you life, so basically reading this book is like hanging out with old friends.
And then there's the Disney. It would be so easy to turn the park into a joke and to make a joke of the travelers who flock to this place every year. The author's don't do that though. There are mentions of the more unpleasant parts of the theme park experience, but underneath it all is the magic, and a love for what Disney offers. This book is love and I loved it for that. I will certainly be picking up the other two books by this exceptional team of writers.