Monday, 15 September 2014

Review - How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Came by Sarah Strohmeyer

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True
How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer
Series: Standalone
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 23 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Rating: 3/5 stars
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?
This is a difficult review to write simply because a lot of time has passed since I read this book and it honestly hasn’t left a very strong impression on me. I remember most of the events of the book, but it didn’t elicit a single strong emotion from start to finish. I wasn’t expecting How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True to be an earth-shattering, life-changing book, but I did expect a little bit more gravity and impact than what I received.

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True follows cousins Zoe and Jess as they spend the summer between eleventh and twelfth grade (AKA junior and senior year if you’re American) interning at a fairy-tale theme park in New Jersey. The relationship between Zoe and Jess was rather refreshing in that they have been best friends practically since birth and they are absolutely, entirely supportive of each other in every way. These girls have a friendship to be envied. The only problem is that they are both itching to receive the $25,000 cash prize given to two exemplary interns at the end of each summer: one girl and one boy. Zoe needs the money to pay off medical bills, while Jess needs it due to her parents financial crisis and its effect on her dream of attending NYU. The solution to this problem is kind of cheesy and all too convenient, but it fits the book. This book is very much about fairy-tale endings and happily ever afters, and while that may bother the more cynical readers (re: me), it isn’t entirely a bad thing. It can be nice to see everything turn out okay in the end every now and then.

The romance in How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True is pretty predictable, but cute. It’s misdirected by a crush on a not-so-nice guy and Zoe spends a large portion of the book completely blind to Noah’s charms. The scene at the lake/pond (I have the worst memory!) was adorable. So sweet.

The part of the book I struggled the most with was Zoe’s job. She was basically an assistant, even though that’s clearly not what she signed up for, and she did her job almost entirely without complaint despite the fact that the Queen, who I think is supposed to be like the park manager, was legitimately insane. I wouldn’t have made it two days in that job, especially given that it was completely unexpected. It bothered me that the Queen never seemed to be doing any real work. She had serious entitlement issues and I found myself spending most of the book longing to punch her in the ovaries. It just didn’t add up that this park could be run by one inept crazy woman and a bunch of teenagers (plus some security guards who didn’t really seem to care about their jobs at all). It was very unbelievable that a park could have any semblance of efficiency with such a flawed employee framework. It annoyed me and honestly affected my enjoyment of the book. I don’t like when things don’t make sense.

Honestly, I probably won’t read any more of Sarah Strohmeyer’s books. This one was the only one that really interested me, and it was a fluffy heap of cotton candy of a book, which I’ll repeat, isn’t always a bad thing. It just didn’t work for me. I think that has a lot to do with target audience – I kind of felt like Strohmeyer was dumbing her book down in a way. Maybe not even intentionally, but it still gave me a sense that there was something missing.

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