Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

As a big Disney fan, I looked forward to reading this book but ended up being a little disappointed in it. The two narrators, which making the format a little interesting, ended up making the novel needlessly longer than it should have been.

In the novel, all of the actors at Walt Disney World have gone on strike and teenagers have been shipped in to fill the parts (the use of teenagers might be a little questionable, but that's a teeny tiny nit-picky detail). At the center of the saga are Ella (cast as Cinderella) and Luke (a.k.a. Dale as in Chip and Dale). Both of them have relationships with their costars (Ella with Prince Charming Mark - true Disney fanatic - and Luke with Cassie who plays Chip). Despite their current relationships, both are in love with each other but obviously can't be together due to their aforementioned attachments. In order to foster a stronger respect for the actors' jobs, management threw together a scavenger hunt in the park. Cassie, desperate to win, hooks up with Mark, therefore allowing Luke and Ella to work together. Thrown into the mix is Bernard, the longest working fur character who offers the characters a new perspective on their dreams. Ella is also dealing with the death of her brother and abandonment of her parents while Luke has to fight with the fact that his family has his future planned out and not to his liking. Will these character live happily ever after? Will all of their dreams come true? Hmm...I wonder.

The story was cute and fluffy. I loved the Disney references and even the Star Wars moments (I can't explain that because it'll give away a big secret). The novel fluidly combined two of my favorite things in the world so that was exciting. There were a few moments of character movement within the setting that bothered me logistically, but again, that's just nit-picky on my part. One thing that really irked me was the alternating perspectives, not because it was hard to switch but because I felt like I was reading the same story. The front flap proclaims "two perfectly matched voices" and I felt they were perfectly matched because they were the same voice. I didn't feel as though there was any difference. The male voice sounded just as whiny as the female voice only character names were different. I felt as though most of the novel was about the two characters longing for each other and not doing anything about it. Yes each character was complex in their own way, but there was too much pining over each other.

This book has its quirks and its flaws. The story is cute but with the two narrators there's too much of the same. Not bad, but not great. If you're a Disney fan, go for it. At the very least it was fun picking up all of those little Disney tidbits and picturing myself at the park.

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