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Dream Factory by Brad Barkley

Dream Factory (edition 2007)

by Brad Barkley, Heather Hepler

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2181753,683 (3.75)5
Title:Dream Factory
Authors:Brad Barkley
Other authors:Heather Hepler
Info:Dutton Juvenile (2007), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:love story, Disney World, romance

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Dream Factory by Brad Barkley


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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
This was a pretty cute book about two teens working at Disney World during a character strike. Luke and Ella are both struggling with something in their personal lives. Together, but not "together" they find the answer they are looking for in each other. The only problem is that Ella is dating Mark and Luke is dating Cassie. Sometimes Prince Charming and Cinderella aren't meant for each other. Sometimes there is someone better. ( )
  TheMadHatters | Apr 5, 2013 |
This is another one of those books that I really liked when I first started reading it, but over time, my feelings have gotten fairly lukewarm toward. I didn’t absolutely hate it, but the initial “OMG THIS BOOK” has gone down to “It’s good.”

I like the book’s set-up of the plot, but there’s really not much done with “Teen scabs working at Disney World!” angle, aside from establishing the setting and one encounter of the striking workers at the beginning. A lot of the plot is spent with either Ella or Luke navel-gazing or pontificating to each other, because they cannot spit out their feelings. Like with Scrambled Eggs at Midnight, it’s an extremely character-driven book, but the characters never feel as real at times.

Ella is excessively passive. She floats around for the whole book, letting people take advantage of her non-commitment, and she clams up each time she gets reminded of her brother’s death. It does feel a little realistic, given that she’s gone through a recent loss and got unceremoniously shuffled down to Florida by her parents, but by the end, she’s still the same “Ho-hum, life still sucks, probably can’t do anything to change it, so I won’t.” Of the two, she’s the one who does the most navel-gazing. Luke’s a bit more dynamic, as he’s the one who comes up with ideas and does stuff, but his backstory and “I don’t want to deal with responsibilities!” got old partway through the book. I can understand Luke’s reasons for not working for his family’s business, but I felt like he was avoiding them just because. We never really get an idea of what he wants to do in life, aside from “Live my own life!” (And if I’m agreeing with the ambitious wrong girlfriend, there’s something wrong with Luke’s arguments.)

The big problem of the book is the navel-gazing. Every single chapter had to have some profound moment of realization by either Ella or Luke about how life’s so unexpected or you never know what you truly want. Also, Disney is a fake dream factory and people who believe in Disney magic are just hiding their own hurt and pain. (That last one gets slammed into your skull REPEATEDLY.)

There are some funny bits, but the lack of development in the setting and plot make the book stagnant and I just couldn’t take the constant navel-gazing. It’s like the authors were going for deep and meaningful, but the overuse of life-changing realization in every other chapter killed much of the point that they were going for.

(Side note- if you want to have fun with this book, give it to someone who worked at Disney World and watch them implode about how little research was put into this.)
( )
  princess-starr | Mar 31, 2013 |
I expected this book to be far lighter than it was, and for a rather younger audience. There’s a lot of drinking, and more “mature themes” than I expected from the pink, glittery cover. Not so much for my 6th graders after all. (Full review at http://www.parenthetical.net/2011/02/20/review-dream-factory-by-brad-barkley-hea...) ( )
  SamMusher | Mar 30, 2013 |
Disney World actors have gone on strike for better food and benefits. In leu of the strike, the company hires cheap labor in the form of high school students willing to be paid minimum wage. Ella, who is hired to play Cinderella, falls for Luke, who isn't the Prince Charming she is supposed to fall for. In fact, Luke plays Dale (from Chip and Dale's) and he happens to have a girlfriend who plays Chip. When the new Prince Charming is hired, Ella is supposed to fall for him or so she thinks. Instead she finds herself falling hard for Luke, and Luke is doing just the same. Will they be able to have their happily ever after or not? ( )
  chernezk | Dec 2, 2012 |
After giving up hope of finding an enjoyable, non-patronizing teen romance, I stumbled upon "Dream Factory." I'm surprised this book wasn't challenged, given the level of not-always-positive Disney detail involved (all Disney characters are mentioned by name, and mention is made of manager "princess handlers," underground tunnels, and scabs filling in for striking character actors.) Corporate giants not-withstanding, Disney magic does infiltrate the book, as Cinderella impersonator "Ella" finds herself falling for Luke, the man under the furry head of "Dale." Significant others complicate things in the process, but --obvious spoiler alert--the reader never doubts that Ella and Luke will end the book in each other's arms. The book is populated with surprisingly rich characters, from the ladies' man Robin Hood to the eclectic J. Worthington Foulfellow, who devotes his life to serving as a Disney impersonator. Dialogue feels natural, and so does the depiction of aimless post-high-school souls, though the characters do occasionally go overboard on the navel-gazing. No explicit content. Grades 8 and up.
  Sarahfine | Jun 27, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525478027, Hardcover)

When the character actors at Disney World go on strike, the teens hired as replacements learn that it isn’t exactly the Happiest Place on Earth. Ella gets to be Cinderella, simply because the shoe fits. It should be a dream come true, but Ella no longer believes in dreams. Luke is a fur character, Dale the chipmunk. Chip is played by his girlfriend, Cassie, who is perfect in every way. Why, then, does Luke find himself more drawn to imperfect things like the theme park’s Phantom? A team-building scavenger hunt brings Luke and Ella together. As they uncover the Magic Kingdom’s treasures, they discover an undeniable magic between them.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Alternating chapters present the view points of two teenagers who find summer employment as costumed cartoon characters at Disney World and try to resist falling in love.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.75)
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