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

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

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

By: Sarah Strohmeyer

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Rating: 3 Stars

Summary: 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 is a lot of fun, but I can’t help but compare this with Sarah Strohmeyer’s young adult debut, Smart Girls Get What They Want. There’s a similar structure to both her books, a deceptively light plot hides a surprising amount of character development and ultimately the kind of message my sister always gets behind, but for a few reasons I think Zoe is a step down from Smart Girls. Not that Zoe isn’t good, I just think Smart Girls is better.

That isn’t to say How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True’s completely without its advantages. Zoe really is a lot of fun to read about (I daresay even more so than Gigi, Bea, and Neerja) – come to think of it, silly fun really wasn’t the objective of Smart Girls or its plot, whatever fun to be had was just there as an added bonus when Strohmeyer saw fit to include it, whereas it really seems Strohmeyer went out of her way this time with the witty humor to emphasize just how oddly quirky Zoe’s summer internship as the assistant to the manager of a Disney World style resort really is. Whether it’s the obnoxious boss, the whimsical workplace, or the… interesting coworkers playing the various fairytale characters, Strohmeyer’s light, breezy writing is even better this time around and totally works like a charm. And as someone who’s had more than my share of… memorable experiences as an intern, I absolutely approve.

My problem, though, is that when it’s finally time to get serious, when Strohmeyer finally gets to the message behind the (much fluffier) plot, Zoe doesn’t really cut it, not like Smart Girls did. For one, Zoe’s boss, the Queen, well I get she’s supposed to be this Devil Wears Prada type boss character who’s not only ridiculously demanding but also cold? or aloof? on the outside, but with a surprisingly big heart on the inside once you more than superficially impress her, but I think she needed a little bit more character development for that to have worked. As it is, there’s a plot twist that functions as the ‘Surprise! This is how the Queen really is!’ type moment, but for me at least it’s really not a good surprise, more like a ‘Umm sure’ to the weird people surprising you kind of surprise. If you get my drift. No offense.

But for how crazy the plot turned out, I gotta hand it to Strohmeyer, she definitely excels at creating completely likeable characters. It’s easy to miss Zoe’s character arc about dealing with the death of her mom among the everyday craziness of Fairlyland Kingdom, or even the nominal plot about the competition over the Dream and Do grant cash prize and how the Queen’s imagined dangers threaten Zoe’s chances of winning it, but again, this wouldn’t be a Strohmeyer book if there wasn’t some serious, really good character development hidden in all of the light fluff just waiting to hit with the full force of unexpectedly awesome character development perfectly camouflaged amongst a whole lot of hilarity.

Anyway, I still liked Zoe, it’s a good book, I guess I just wanted to see a little more, besides just being sillier (in a good way mostly, except for the surprise I mentioned earlier). But for people who enjoyed this and haven’t read Smart Girls Get What They Want, I totally recommend it. And for people who might not have enjoyed How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True as much, I recommend Smart Girls anyway because I do think it’s better.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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