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Dream Factory by Brad Barkley

Dream Factory (edition 2007)

by Brad Barkley, Heather Hepler

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2391748,266 (3.7)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)
Welcome to the world of "Happily Ever After." Well, here at Disney, the staff aren't so happy but the show must go on so Disney hires some temp replacements: Ella (Cinderella), Mark (Prince Charming), Luke (Dale) and Cassie (Chip) amongst other new cast members.

The setting seemed very well written. While I have never been to Disney World, this book helped give me an interesting visual behind the scenes. The is a huge parkwide scavenger hunt the new cast participates in that gives us some interesting look-sees plus the best insight into the characters themselves (more on the hunt to come). The story is given to us from two perspectives. Ella and Luke take alternating chapters to give us the story.

I wasn't a great fan of the characters. Ella I can sympathize with as she is going through a really tough time, and having to smile all day at strangers doesn't often make things easier. However otherwise she seemed a bit dull to me. Luke was a bit better, with a quirky sense of humor and a middle name that left me grinning. With the exception of how quickly he changes his interest in girls, I liked him overall. But I cannot blame him for that. While Cassie is spunky, she shows some true colors when she bails on him for the scavenger hunt. This is how Luke and Ella's story begins. And lets not forget Prince Charming! Why isn't he fighting for his princess? Well partly because he isn't her boyfriend in real life plus he is more amused it seems just watching things unfold.

This is a cute, if not cliche story but I enjoyed it over. Not the greatest YA by any means but any fans of disney should read this. The romance is light and sweet and very fairy tail-esque. ( )
  jljaina | Oct 7, 2015 |
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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brad Barkleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hepler, HeatherAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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For my mom and dad and especially for Terry.  Thank you for holding my hand on the tea cup ride.  --Heather
For Lucas and Alex, who still cross their fingers when I play the claw machine.  --Brad
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I wasn't at all surprised when Cinderella gave me the finger.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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