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

Posted April 29, 2013 by Lori in Books, Reviews / 5 Comments Tags:


I received this book for free from the Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah StrohmeyerHow Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer
Published by Harper Collins on 2013-04-23
Genres: Contemporary, Friendship, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher via Edelweiss
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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 was a cute YA romance novel. It had some interesting characters, a setting I haven’t really seen much in books, some fun twists and turns, and a cute romance. But it wasn’t anything spectacular.

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True tells the story of Zoe’s summer internship at Fairyland, a theme park very similar to Disney World. Zoe and her cousin Jess have both been accepted for positions at the park and both have very different reasons for wanting to attend. For Jess, she needs to win the Dream & Do grant offered to one of the interns at the end of the summer to be able to afford college. Zoe goes because she wants to feel closer to her mother, who passed away and used to bring her to the park when she was younger. When they arrive, they meet their fellow interns and are given their assignments. Jess gets a character to play and Zoe ends up as the assistant to the Queen, who turns out to be very demanding. Zoe spends the rest of her summer running ridiculous errands for the Queen and her dog, filling in wherever she is needed, and waking up extra early to attend to the Queen. What Zoe and Jess thought would be a fun summer spent at the theme park entertaining kids turns into a stressful, unfriendly place full of people they aren’t sure they can trust. In the end, they all need to decide which side they are on and what is most important to them: their friends and family, the park, or the money.

Overall the book was very cute. The beginning threw me a little and I had a hard time really accepting the Queen and the things that Zoe would do for her. I’ve never been in a position like that, so who knows what I would actually do. I also had a difficult time because the Queen is almost exactly like what I remember the boss being like in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, so it did not feel at all original. I wanted to hate her for taking Zoe’s summer away but mostly I was just annoyed with Zoe for putting up with such ridiculous requests and never standing up for herself. But she was doing it all for her cousin, so I can at least understand that part. The rest of the characters were pretty good, though they did tend to be pretty typical of books like this. But still, it worked and was enjoyable.

Unfortunately, Zoe just didn’t live up to my expectations. When I read Smart Girls Get What They Want I was completely blown away. I had been looking for a book that was a light, fun, quick read but came away with life lessons I wasn’t expecting. So when I saw Sarah Strohmeyer’s new book, I was super excited. I couldn’t wait to find out what we would be reading about this time, what journey Zoe and her cousin would go on, and what I would bring away from the book in the end. But unfortunately, this second book did not have nearly the same impact that the first one did. It may have been that I set myself up. I had zero expectations with Smart Girls but very high expectations with Zoe. If I read them in reverse order, it’s hard to say how I would feel about both of them. I think that’s the trouble with sophomore novels, many times they come with high expectations that weren’t there with the debut. But I am glad I read Zoe and went on her journey, glad to experience another Strohmeyer novel, whether it was as good as the first or not. I will continue to look forward to more books from her. I think Sarah Strohmeyer is a great writer and has important stories to tell that make an important contribution to the YA book world. I hope we’ll see more books like Smart Girls and Zoe from her in the future.

Final Thoughts: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True was a cute romance novel. It was a quick, fun, light read but didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had for a Strohmeyer novel. And, while this has little relevance for me when reviewing a book, I do have to say that I LOVE the new covers for these books. In the end I gave Zoe 3.5 stars and would definitely recommend this book as a fun summer read.

5 Responses to “Book Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer”

  1. I haven’t read any of her novels yet, but I keep hearing good things about them. It sounds like it might be little tough to swallow the whole Queen thing. I never get characters who always do what they are told without questioning anything, so Zoe and I might have issues. But I have to admit that I am intrigued and just might pick this one up at some point!
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  2. Brynna

    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t really like this, because I’ve thought it looks so cute and the premise sounds awesome. I love The Devil Wears Prada, but I can see how having a very similar character would be annoying. Well, i don’t think I’ll buy it, but I think I’ll still try to pick up a copy from the library.

  3. Jaime Lester

    Smart Girls Get What They Want was a surprise for me, and it is still one of my favorite contemporaries. I put How Zoe on my wish list as soon as I heard about it, and it is now sitting pretty on my Kindle. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I want to. I am a little disappointed that it doesn’t seem to be as awesome as Smart Girls was, but I still have to read it. Hopefully, I will at least enjoy it. Thank you for your review!

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