Monday, April 22, 2013

ARC Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
320 Pages

From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl's summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they've hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she's assigned to serve "The Queen"-Fairyland's boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe's job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True seemed like it would be a feel good read, but I was left feeling very "blah" about it. That's not to say that this is a bad novel, it's just not one that really moved me in any way. The plot was too predictable, the characters too cardboard cut-out. While I enjoyed some of it, overall, I was not impressed.

Zoe and her cousin, Jess, were accepted as two of Fairyland Kingdom's newest summer interns. During this adventure, Zoe will not only be competing for the Dream & Do grand (worth $25,000), but she'll have to fight their way against other intern sneaks, liars, an evil queen and her little lapdog, too. She'd do almost anything to get that grant for her struggling family, if she can survive the summer first.

The idea behind How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True was awesome. A theme park centered around princesses and fairy tales? Sign me up! I thought that this would be a book to make me laugh and smile and ultimately leave me feeling satisfied. Sadly, that was not the case. 

The thing about it is that Zoe didn't feel fully developed in my opinion. The book ended and I felt like I  knew virtually nothing about her, or really any of the characters. The background information we find about them is very little, even for Zoe. I can't remember learning anything about her home life besides that she was going to be a senior in high school after this summer Jess is her cousin and best friend, her ex is a jerk and Zoe's mother died. I couldn't find any shining characteristics in any of them and they all seemed very wish-washy. Not only that book some of the interactions between the characters made no sense. There were several times where I was left scratching my head. The author's writing style was somewhat disjointed.

Most of my issues with this novel were very small things that added together made for a less enjoyable reading experience. For example, Zoe mentions a few times that her grief counselor told her not to find a relationship, and to let herself be single after the death of her mother and betrayal of an ex-boyfriend. She mentions that she's bummed about it because the boys playing the princes are super attractive. And then she kisses two different boys… It didn't fit for me. Also, the expectations for the characters could definitely be considered offense and almost cruel. Keeping in mind that these are teenage girls, still in high school, the fact that they had to be regular weighed in front of each other and were demoted if they gained or lost more than three pounds made me very angry. That's despicable, in my opinion and I know if I were in that position, I would be traumatized.  

While this definitely wasn't the best book I read, and there were a few parts that agitated me, a lot of people will enjoy it. It's a very teen-focused novel. It was very light-hearted and definitely could be considered a fun and feel-good story. The major themes were simplistic and just enough to entertain. The ending tied up a little too well (and unrealistically) for me. I still plan to read Ms. Strohmeyer's other novel, Smart Girls Get What They Want, but it is no longer a top-of-the-pile book.

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Edelweiss.


  1. Aw, that's too bad. Glad I didn't make this one a priority, though.

  2. I have smart girls on my kindle and I am looking forward to reading it. I thought that this book sounded so enjoyable especially taking place in a theme park, I just might check it out if I enjoy her previous book. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


Blog design by Imagination Designs using papers from the Santa Monica paper pack by Mally Mac and Me