How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 320 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
The summer before their senior year in high school, Zoe and her cousin Jess are accepted as unpaid interns at "Fairyland Kingdom," a theme park in the Pinelands of southern New Jersey with its own private hotels, much like Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. Zoe and Jess's mother were twins before Zoe's mother died of cancer within the past year, and the two girls have been best friends their whole lives. Zoe is looking forward to the summer, but not nearly as much as her cousin. Jess has coveted the role of princess at Fairyland since childhood, and she would have wanted this opportunity even if it didn't come with the chance of one female and one male intern winning a $25,000 "Dream and Do" grant. The grant is a big plus, though, because Jess's family has fallen on hard financial times. Zoe could definitely use the money as well for her own family's expenses, but she believes Jess's needs are greater than hers, and she is determined to do everything in her power to make sure Jess wins the grant.
The girls soon discover that in the history of the "Dream and Do" grant, no one has ever won but a prince and a princess. And unfortunately for Jess's chances, she is given the part of Red Riding Hood rather than a princess. Zoe had no aspirations to be a princess, so she is far less miserable than Jess when she isn't made a princess either. Instead, she is offered the position as personal assistant to the "Queen," the anorexic perfectionist who is the supreme leader of the park. The Queen demands absolute, instant obedience from her staff, and in addition to soothing the Queen's ego and being on call 24 hours a day, Zoe is required to care for Tinker Bell, the Queen's undersized, caviar-consuming bichon frise, who is almost as much of a diva as her mistress.
Luckily, there are two major compensations for Zoe and Jess in the midst of the unremitting challenges of their Fairyland assignments: a gorgeous hunk named Ian who plays Puss in Boots with elegant flair is quite taken with Zoe, and handsome RJ, who supervises the current crop of interns and is part of the prestigious Fairyland Executive Training Program, is blatantly infatuated with Jess.
This book is laugh-out-loud funny. The world of Fairyland is filled with humorously bizarre characters and situations, most especially, the Queen, who strongly reminded me of Cruella De Vil of the animated version of 101 Dalmatians.
Zoe is a marvelous heroine. She's a bit of a klutz, but she has an extremely warm heart, is utterly loyal, and never gives up. She always does her very best to accomplish every crazy assignment her impossible boss dumps on her.
The story has several comic mysteries which are quite well done--the ending of the book and the resolution of the main mystery took me completely by surprise. Ian is a charming and sexy romantic interest, and the witty repartee between him and Zoe is one of the most delightful sources of laughter in the book. And last, but not least, this book ends--as good comedy always does--on a satisfying high note.
I rate this book as follows:
Chick Lit Plot: 5
Romance Plot: 5