Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review: Dream Factory

Title: Dream Factory
Author: Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
Publication Date: May 17, 2007
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Realistic fiction
Pages: 250
Age Rating: Readers above the age of 13 due to some teenage partying
My Opinion: 9/10

Hi, Readers!

       Who doesn't love Disney World?  It's the Happiest Place on Earth, the place where dreams come true, where people of all ages can create memories to last a lifetime... right?  Well, there is a lot hidden under the surface at Disney World, both figuratively and literally.  Dream Factory, by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler, tells the story of two teens who view Disney World in a brand new light.

Chip and Dale statue in front of Cinderella's Castle
Chip and Dale statue in
front of Cinderella's Castle
       Ella and Luke, along with a number of other teenagers, are hired as characters at Disney World after the original workers go on strike.  Ella gets the role of Cinderella because the costume fits her.  She has trouble living up to the expectations of "being" a princess, such as having a fake accent and pretending that her favorite color is pink.  Luke, on the other hand, slaves away as Dale, the chipmunk, in a sweaty body suit.  He is dating the perfect girl and has his entire future planned out, but for some reason, he is attracted to the mysteries of Ella.  While exploring the underground tunnels that hide Disney World's imperfections and pretending to be who they are not, Ella and Luke struggle to sort through their twisted relationship, survive a Disney summer, and figure out their futures.

       Dream Factory accurately captures the teenage perspectives of Ella and Luke.  Both want to forge their own paths, but they are unsure what they want in life.  The novel is narrated by both Ella and Luke.  Each one has quirks that make reading interesting.  Also, the relationships between Ella, Luke, and the other Disney character actors have depth that make them realistic and relatable.

Ella is not happy as Cinderella
       The coolest part about this book is it's new perspective on Disney World.  The authors include many fun facts about Disney.  For example, did you know that there are underground corridors, called Utilidors, that run underneath Disney World?  These hallways are used for maintenance, storage, and moving quickly from place to place.  Of course, the entrances to the Utilidors are expertly hidden to preserve the parks' perfect images.  When Ella, Luke, and the other characters participate in a park-wide scavenger hunt, readers discover even more interesting tidbits about Disney.

      Dream Factory is one of my favorite books, not because it has a happy ending and everything ends up working out, but because of its hard-hitting insight into the teenage perspective and the imperfections of Disney World.  It gave me a completely new viewpoint on the Happiest Place on Earth, and I loved reading about the growing relationship of Cinderella and Dale.

Make sure you check this book out!
P.S. I included the beginning of Dream Factory on my Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings In Books post. Take a look!

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