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

Monday, June 22, 2015
Title: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Published: expected April 23 2013
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 3.5/5

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?

Fun, funny, and charming, How Zoe Made Her Dreams.. is a book of so much fluff, it might just float off a bookshelf. It's a fast and entertaining read, full of surprisingly developed characters, but unfortunately How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True is just not on the same level as Smart Girls Get What They Want. I liked it, but it just didn't have the same impact as Strohmeyer's first. Zoe struggles with some serious issues, and I might have teared up once or twice when she confronts her issues, but the emotional pulls are few and far between. For ninety percent of the story, this is a fluffy piece, with a silly plot, operated by characters that are pretty generic, if certainly likeable. 

Fans of the author's other books, and epecially Smart Girls Get What They Want will find similarities between the novels, but Zoe ultimately ends up a pale copy of its predecessor. I don't mean to knock the author's newest because I was certainly entertained while reading, but anyone who has read Smart Girls before trying this will find it just not quite as good. A lot of my issues stem from the plot and the setting - the competition among the Princes and Princesses for the grant money comes across as frivolous, and often laughable. It's charming and amusing, but never really sells the competition as a serious plot device. As a result, all the drama and suspicions set up around the Dream & Do failed to make me care about its ultimate winner.

Strohmeyer can certainly write a credible teenage voice, however. Zoe, through all her present struggles and past heartaches, comes across as authentic and consistently real teen girl. Her voice is strong and likeable, and the author's style works well for a silly but fun read. Zoe's relationship with her cousin is another strong point; the two girls have a real bond and love another. It's all too rare to find such real, strong friendships between teen girls in YA, but so far, in each novel, Strohmeyer has taken the time to build such remarkable and meaningful friendships for her female characters. For that alone, this novel is a winner. I wish Zoe had more female friends, maybe made during her time at Fairyland?, but I will not take her relationship with Jess for granted.

For a novel of such fluff, it's heartening how well characterized Zoe (and her love interest) are shown to be. While I loved Gigi, I do think Zoe ends up being the more rounded and dimensional main character. Zoe has a lot of facets to her personality, and amazingly, who she likes doesn't define her or her actions during the novel. The romance might not be as endearing as I thought Gigi's was in Smart Girls, but I have to admit I was rooting for the two kids before the end of the novel. It's a light read, and the love interest is pretty great, but I wasn't overtly involved. I just wanted more substance and depth to the plot. If I'd had that, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True could have easily been a four-star read.

If you're looking for a charming fluff read, this is a perfect fit. A "done in one day" read, Strohmeyer's capability for writing YA is evident and lends itself well here in her second YA offering. An amusing plot with a couple twists en route make for a fun few hours spent in the company of this cast of Princes and Princesses and furries. How Zoe Made Her Dreams... may not be the best book of 2013, but it's a great diversion for a few hours of pure fluff.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.