Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How To Survive Fairyland

Expected Publication:  April 23rd, 2013
How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True
By: Sarah Strohmeyer
Balzar + Bray/Harper Teen
ISBN-13: 9780062187451

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?


     Zoe is excited to be a summer intern at Fairyland Kingdom theme park with her cousin Jess, competing for scholarship that could mean the difference between either of them going to college or not.  Zoe is confused when the assignments are passed out and she isn't listed yet.  But after being sent to the Queen, things become hellishly clear - Zoe has been chosen to be her personal assistant for the summer!  Between getting her breakfast order exactly right, taking care of her spoiled dog and trying to figure out what cast member is breaking the rules not-so-covertly, Zoe has her work cut out for her.  Oh yeah, and there are plenty of Prince Charmings to confuse things romantically for everyone...along with a Puss in Boots, who may be a Prince in disguise.  Can Zoe figure out who to trust and what the right thing to do is when a very important decision is hers to make?  Or will she be going home without a scholarship and a broken heart dragging behind her?  The idea behind this book, all of the inner workings and dealings of an amusement park staff, is one of my very favorites.  I was hoping this would become a favorite like Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler.  I really liked it, but in a very different way from the aforementioned book.  This book had a very fluffy heart, but with a solid structure that made me admire Strohmeyer's writing skills.  She managed to keep me laughing at Zoe's antics, but sympathizing with the still aching and recent loss of her Mom.  I also found myself rooting for her to get the scholarship, but feeling bad for her cousin Jess who was equally likeable and needed it just as badly.  All the crazy stuff the Queen says and does drives the plot in some way or another and is absolutely funny.  There was a decent mystery over who was sneaking into the forbidden zone of the park, one that kept the reader guessing for quite awhile.  The addition of a tween sensation a la Justin Bieber was a great comedic plot device as well.  The last twist I didn't see coming, but I should have which is the mark of a truly good writer.  This book has heart, humor, well drawn characters and a good plot.  I think that while it was definitely still a fluff read for about 98%, the other 2% is the reason I liked this as much as I did.  Highly recommended to anyone obsessed with theme parks or just in need of a good laugh, with some likeable characters.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

**I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via Edelweiss. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is April 23rd, 2013.*

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