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How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

3.7 13
by Sarah Strohmeyer

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Like Meg Cabot, Sarah Strohmeyer has a gift for creating smart, funny girls teen readers love. She’s done it again with Zoe, heroine of her latest romcom.
In YA novel How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, Zoe learns there is a dark core under the glittering façade of the fairy-tale themed amusement park (cough, Disneyland,


Like Meg Cabot, Sarah Strohmeyer has a gift for creating smart, funny girls teen readers love. She’s done it again with Zoe, heroine of her latest romcom.
In YA novel How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, Zoe learns there is a dark core under the glittering façade of the fairy-tale themed amusement park (cough, Disneyland, cough) where she’s a summer intern. For starters, her boss has a blacker heart than Snow White’s stepmother, and the other interns are worse backstabbers than Cinderella’s step-sisters.
On the upside, she has the chance of romance with a real-life Prince Charming, and a shot at winning a big heap of cash. If she can just live through a summer in the Fairyland Kingdom.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Zoe Kiefer, 17, and her cousin, Jess, are interns at Fairyland Kingdom, an over-the-top theme park in New Jersey. These internships are coveted, with the princess and prince roles going to those teens who had spent thousands of dollars attending prestigious Fairyland summer camps. Jess gets cast as a Little Red Riding Hood and Zoe is tasked with being the demanding Queen's personal assistant (aka slave). Zoe worries that these subpar positions won't put them in the running for the Dream and Do grant, a $25,000 prize that both girls desperately need. As Zoe runs around Fairyland fetching the Queen's meager breakfast (three almonds, two grapefruit slices cut into thirty pieces, and a yolk-free egg), walking her malevolent bichon frise, and charting poor Cinderella's weight gain, she discovers that the internship is not without its drama. Most of the interns would do just about anything to win the prize money, including selling out Zoe to the Queen. But when she is rescued by a charming prince, she must determine where her loyalties lie-with the Queen and the Fairyland she's loved since her youth, or with the boy who's captured her heart. Zoe is a likable protagonist and her narration is sharp and witty. The Queen, with her posh vocabulary and insane demands, rivals that of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. This clever, happily-ever-after story will charm fans of Meg Cabot and make new ones of Strohmeyer.—Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJ
Publishers Weekly
Zoe is spending the summer as an intern at a hyper-controlling storybook theme park, a place she used to go with her mother before she died. Instead of being cast as a character, she is assigned to be "lady in waiting" to the Queen, the park's domineering manager. On her very first day, Zoe gets a demerit for picking park flowers, which could cost her the big college scholarship awarded to two star interns. But Zoe is not the only one breaking rules, and she soon realizes that "You could not pit a bunch of ambitious, talented, extremely theatrical rising high school seniors against one another with twenty-five thousand dollars at stake and not expect blood to be shed." Readers may have a hard time following the over-the-top scandals that unfold, but Strohmeyer's (Smart Girls Get What They Want) humorous details about the park itself (royal characters get better quarters than "Ordinary Cast Members," and princes are given exclusive access to a pheromone-rich cologne) provide a lively, unconventional backdrop as Zoe's emotional wounds slowly begin to heal. Ages 13–up. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (May)
Meg Cabot
Praise for SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT: “Sarah Strohmeyer gets what readers want: a fresh, funny book full of likable characters, drama, and plenty of romance that kept me turning pages until late into the night.”
ALA Booklist
“For fans of roms-coms everywhere.”
VOYA - MaryAnn Harlan
Despite a great opening line, "There was no getting around the fact that Tinker Bell was a little bitch," How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True is an average romantic comedy. Enjoyable, but inconsistent in tone, slightly over-plotted, and predictable in the romance. Zoe and her cousin, Jess, are interns at Fairyland, a fairy-tale theme park in New Jersey. Each has their own problem at home: Zoe's mother passed away, and Jess's parents have lost their jobs. They are competing for a $25,000 grant through the internship, which Zoe wants Jess to earn. As the surprise intern to the Queen (Evil?), Zoe is in a position to help Jess. But walking Tinker Bell (the dog) is no easy task, and Zoe finds herself in the Forbidden Zone, having to be rescued by a Prince Charming. Knowing that someone has been in the Forbidden Zone, the Queen is determined to figure out who and Zoe must protect herself, and the unknown Prince who rescued her. But it is not easy, with subterfuge, spies, rogue Princessess, vindictive Hansels, and VIPs at every turn. Because it is a romance, there is the question — Dash or Ian? Smart readers know from the introduction of the boys which one, and that all is not as it seems. It is a fun romp getting to the end. Reviewer: MaryAnn Harlan
Kirkus Reviews
Lured by the promise of a large cash prize and the opportunity to work as a costumed intern at a destination fairy-tale theme park, 17-year-old Zoe Kiefer struggles to earn the approval of the eccentric and manipulative Queen of the park. Zoe's duties as lady-in-waiting seem straightforward: obey Her Majesty's orders to the letter; improve her mood with compliments and by slipping sugar secretly into her strict diet; take good care of Tinker Bell, her minute, caviar-guzzling, fluffball mutt; excise from the Queen's reading material all mention of the hated "Mouse" (of the Mickey variety). But try as she does to do her job well and abide by the rules of Fairyland (all 270 of them), events get away from Zoe. She finds herself in several compromising and angst-ridden situations, mostly brought about by her well-meaning desire to promote her cousin Jess' interests. In spite of the efforts of various princes, charming and nefarious, to aid or thwart her desires, she wins out in the end. The chatty tone of Zoe's narration is pitch-perfect, laced as it is with teen humor and obsessions with relationships, clothing and makeup. The narrative, always hard to follow, ends in a madcap maelstrom of conflicting interests, improbable revelations and multiple personality changes in which believability is cheerfully sacrificed in the interest of allowing Zoe's dreams to (mostly) come true. But credibility probably has no place at Fairyland Kingdom….Wow!â„¢ anyway. (Fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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13 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Strohmeyer is a bestselling and award-winning novelist whose books include The Secrets of Lily Graves, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, Smart Girls Get What They Want, The Cinderella Pact (which became the Lifetime Original Movie Lying to Be Perfect), The Sleeping Beauty Proposal, The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives, Sweet Love, and the Bubbles mystery series. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Boston Globe. She lives with her family outside Montpelier, Vermont.

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How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
HeatheR-FlyleafReview More than 1 year ago
I have heard really great things about Sarah Strohmeyer's YA release Smart Girls Get What They Want, so I was excited to get the opportunity to read an advance copy of her latest book How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True. It looked like it would be a funny contemporary YA read, in other words, the kind of book I LOVE. Unfortunately, while there were some funny moments in "Zoe", it turned out to be a book that wasn't for me. I think that there will be other readers will enjoy this book, but I had a hard time getting through it. Before I relay why I felt this way I will say that the one thing this book has going for it is it's unique premise. The book tells the story of best friends and cousins Zoe and Jess who have landed a summer job at Fairyland, New Jersey's favorite amusement park. This is a pretty big honor because hundreds of teens from across the country apply for a spot and only a handful are chosen. Not only does it look great on college applications and pay, a position at Fairyland means that you will be entered for a chance to win $25,000 in cash towards a college scholarship, something that both Zoe and Jess would love to get their hands on. And Zoe has a special tie to this place, because some of her fondest memories as a child was visiting with her mom who passed away from cancer a couple of years earlier. Working at Fairyland is kind of like summer theater camp, it's got all kinds of drama going on, both in front of and behind the scenes. Many of the kids who got the job don't mind resorting to backhanded tactics to secure one of the two scholarships. Zoe and Jess are not those type of people. In fact, Zoe is really hoping that Jess wins the scholarship because her family has fallen on hard times financially. Zoe is forever grateful to Jess who really stood by her when her mom got sick. Zoe could use the money too, her mom's medical bills are taking a toll on her own family's finances, but she really want Jess to get it, even going so far as doing the best job she can so she can perhaps win the favor of the "Queen" of Fairyland, hoping to convince her to select Jess. Ah, the Queen. Well, she's a real character. And Zoe was handpicked by her to be her personal assistant (read SLAVE) for the summer. Much of the book is spent detailing the ridiculous lengths Zoe is forced to go to to make the Queen happy. Everyone compares her to Miranda Priestly, the fashion magazine editor from the book The Devil Wears Prada, but in my opinion, the comparison is weak. Miranda was a fully fleshed character that you absolutely loved to hate. An ice queen with the hint of a soft interior. The Queen in "Zoe" is rather two dimensional and so silly that she almost felt cartoonish to me. In fact, the whole book felt rather silly and cartoonish. I read a lot of YA you guys, and never has a book made me feel SO OLD as Zoe did.  It's very light and fluffy, which I can handle, but for some reason this book just had me grumbling "I'm too old to be reading this." Zoe's character is not so bad, although I found the lengths that she would go to to get Jess that scholarship to be pretty unrealistic. Waking up at the crack of dawn to walk Queenie's pampered pooch? Being at the Queen's beckon call at all hours of the day or night? Being forced to track the weight of all the "princesses" and deliver the news that they have been fired because they are 5 lbs overweight? Let's set aside the fact that I would have lasted, oh, about 10 minutes had I been in that position, what about the fact that she was doing all of this for someone else? I mean at least in The Devil Wears Prada, Andy puts up with Miranda's crap because she NEEDS the job, it's her last resort. Call me cynical but I just do not see a teenage girl breaking her back all summer for the slim chance that she can get on her boss' good side long enough to talk her into givng her best friend $25,000 in scholarship money. In addition, the ending of Zoe felt WAY too convenient. There is a bit of a mystery written in and the way it all pans out just kind of made me roll my eyes. It tied up way to easily for all the parties involved. So, in the end, I really wanted to like this book. And while the premise was kinda cool, it was just too fluffy, too sugary, too silly and too CUTE for me. Call me jaded. Call me old. But if you are looking for a cute summer read with a fun cast of characters and some great romance I'd recommend The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik instead (read my review HERE.) It's got a theater camp setting with over the top characters that are actually really well developed, layered and complex and fun to read.  Or give "Zoe" a shot. Just because it's not my cup of tea doesn't mean it won't be yours.
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
After having read Sarah Strohmeyer's Smart Girls Get What They Want, I knew that I was in for another fun, humor-filled read. And that's what I got. How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True is a cute, quirky read. Typically, I'm not fond of the high school drama scene, but this is the exception that made it fun to read. I enjoyed going behind the scenes of an amusement park, especially with all the drama and backstabbing going what is supposed to be Fairyland. I think it may be because it takes place in such an innocent, fairy-tale-like setting that I enjoyed it so much. It also helps that Zoe takes it all in stride as a part of life instead of burning with rage at the unfairness of it all. No, she sets out to not only make the best of her situation but to prove that she's capable, and that's what won me over. Zoe has strong ideals. I especially love her Red-Riding-Hood scene with the little girl. It makes a great statement for girls and what they can do in life. Zoe is also a loyal friend and cousin. Even though the Dream & Do grant sets the summer interns against each other, she's out to make her cousin the winner, and she makes a solid group of friends. My favorite has to be Ian. He's such a character and makes a statement at the beginning of the novel with his talk of cannibal chickens. I understand why Zoe isn't fond of him at the beginning, it's hard to hold things against him. He has a great sense of humor even if he makes bad puns (and, hey, a guy can't be good at everything). I also love the Queen. As abominable as she is, she's such a delight once you know how to handle her, and her tantrums are funny when she's not yelling at you. With its Fairyland summer-intern setting, it makes the perfect light read for summer, or something to read in between all the dystopians and paranormal romances floating around. I highly recommend it for the humor, cute romance, and wonderful cast of characters. And also for what Zoe gains out of her experience at Fairyland and the true meaning of what it means to be family, blood-related or not.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
Totally cute and exactly what I needed, I'm so excited to share with you all what I loved about this story. 1. Realistic. I love how real Zoe's life it. She faces hard losses, financial struggle, and learning who she is. Zoe faces lots of hard times but she prevails, pushing through to the end, sacrificing for everyone else. She's works hard and it shows. 2. Love. Don''t you just love it when you find love when you least expect it? Especially if they guy who keeps saving your butt is a mystery. This part of the story gave me so many butterflies and excitement. I kept trying to figure out myself who the guy would be and yes, I love that it was indeed him. 3. Friendship. One thing I enjoyed about Zoe is that she is loyal to the end. Despite getting in trouble and doing things wrong, Zoe is the type a friend that I would love to have. Selfless and loyal in all of her actions, Zoe's loyalty takes her farther than she ever expected. 4. Fun. This is a totally fun book. It makes you giggle, swoon, and just have a great time reading. It's not straining or hard to read. It's simply a fun, cute read that you can sit back and enjoy. 5. HEA. Yes, it has a happily every after...well not exactly. Zoe works hard to make her dreams come true. And while some of them didn't come true, she got what was most important. Love. Exceptional and wonderful, I have yet again enjoyed what the author has written. Easily hooked, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True is such a great read. A winning combination of love and life, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True is sensational.
LibraryMom4 More than 1 year ago
Life disguised in a fairy tale world. Wonderful storyline! What a creative idea Sarah!
RandyLRB More than 1 year ago
I have been a big fan of Sarah Strohmeyer since her first "Bubbles" novel many (many) years ago. I have read every one of her books and enjoyed them; she is one of the authors whose books I await breathlessly. I'm also a big YA fan, and loved her first YA novel "Smart Girls Get What They Want". "How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True" was even better. Zoe is a smart, independent and loyal girl who protects her cousin Jess from harsher realities. Zoe and her cousin go to work at a theme park (think Disney-like) for the summer. Jess wants the $25,000 grant, because she can't afford to go to college. For Zoe, it's much more personal. She has recently lost her mother, and Fairyland represents time that she and her mother had shared. Once they arrive, neither girl gets exactly what they were expecting--especially Zoe. She is assigned to serve the Evil Queen, who seems to be Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada) dressed as Snow White's stepmother. Zoe does her best to overcome ethical dilemmas honestly while remaining loyal to her friends and remaining true to herself. On a personal note, I connected with a subplot about Fairyland's fictional forerunner, Storytown. We had a real Storytown in New York, and I spent time there with my family. It eventually became Six Flags. All in all, the book was touching, emotional, funny, and honest. Zoe made me laugh and cry, sometimes all at once. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love2dazzle More than 1 year ago
Isn't this title a mouth full! Definitely worth the read! "How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True" by Sarah Strohmeyer was fantastic. There is no other way to put it. I absolutely fell in love with this almost fairy tale. I wish love in real life could be more like Zoe's story. Not only did she have a fabulous summer but she fell in love all the same. Who wouldn't want to work for an amusement park where you got to pretend to be someone else that children fell in love with. I love the subtle hints of "the mouse" it kept this story quite comical. I know nothing was stated I the book, but most readers if not all would not exactly who they were referring too. I think this was an amazingly fun tale. I wish I had a copy for my bookshelf because I would love to be able to pull it down for people to borrow it and fall in love just like I did. Zoe is the type of heroin that I like. She knows how to take control of her life even when it is falling to pieces or spinning out of control. How can someone no admire a character or person like that? I couldn't help but wonder if I was in Zoe's shoes if I would have done the same thing. Zoe gave up so much to see her cousin succeed, I hope that if I ever get an opportunity like that, that I would take it. I think everyone should give Zoe's tale a chance because I don't think anyone would be disappointed. This is definitely a story worth reading. Please take a moment and check out "How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't like it at all
AliceGrace More than 1 year ago
Another cute and light summer book, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be, but I honestly can't really say I was disappointed. As far as the writing went, it was probably about average--nothing to complain about. The story and plot were cute. Zoe is interning at Fairyland Kingdom and, instead of being one of the characters (a princess, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.), she is the Evil Queen's assistant. (Fairyland Kingdom is kind of like a cheap knock-off of Disney World.) While she's there, Zoe and the other interns have to abide by some crazy rules and well, yeah. Whoever performs the best and shows the greatest "Wow!" spirit (cheesy, yes), will win the Dream & Do Grant ($25,000). I didn't love Zoe but I didn't hate her. The only person I actually really liked was Ian, who I will not speak of anymore because it might ruin the book for some people.... The romance was sweet and cute; but part of me wanted a little bit more than what I was given. All the other interns, except for Zoe's cousin, were all either stupid (*cough* Marcus *cough*) or shallow. Jess was actually kind of sweet, but even she was a bit shallow at times. Then there are Fairyland Kingdom's rules. Wow, just, wow. A lot of them were ridiculous. The princesses couldn't gain or loose more than 3 pounds from their starting weight. Really? Then there's be loyal to Fairyland Kingdom no matter what. Um, again, really? In all truth, Fairyland was a little ridiculous but that actually made the book super light. I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes a few times but there really wasn't anything that made me hate the book. It was a nice break from some more serious and intense stories (*cough* Mortal Instruments *cough*). My advice? If you're ever in a reading rut because of a book (you know, you just want to read that specific series), I would suggest you use How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True. It's light and fun and will get your brain away from the other series. I only have one real qualm. The guy on the cover has the wrong hair color *sigh of indignation*. How could they get that wrong? Just so you know, I'm laughing over here so it isn't really that big of a deal but, then again, really? I would just like to throw that out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was alrite, wayyyy too many cliches. The characters were predictable and overused in other books, and the dialogue was just terrible. This book is one of the few books I've read that I havent fallen in love with. It was just too unrealistic. I didnt really understand the ending, it was so stupid and predictable. It had no twists at the end, just overall badly written and a waste of time. Read the one and only Meg Cabot better ;D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True was such a cute fairytale like novel. Strohmeyer made this novel original by creating a fairytale like setting in a contemporary novel without making it into an actual retelling. Zoe and her best friend/cousin get accepted to work at one of the most prestigious internship opportunities in the summer, at the Fairyland Kingdom Theme Park (Think Disney land with every single fairytale ever written coming to life). Zoe ends up working for The Queen as her personal assistant while Jess ends up playing little Red Riding Hood #2, a far cry from the princess role she wanted. However what is ironic is that living and working in the theme park IS like a fairytale, with all the drama, backstabbing, and plotting to win the grand prize at the end of the internship. Everyone at the kingdom is fighting to win the 25 thousand dollar Dream & Do grant. I personally hated how when Zoe was caught in the Forbidden Zone (FZ), a place that, if found in, enables an automatic expulsion from the program, by an intern, the threatening notes emerged and the whole atmosphere of the novel turned into a dreaded one. I just wanted a feel good novel, not a novel where everyone was stepping on everyone else just to win. Also, while I enjoyed The Queen's antics, she sometimes was the worst of them all. She seriously reminded me of The Queen from Snow White. I have to say, Zoe was great; She was always looking out for Jess and trying to up Jess's chances of winning the grant because she needed the money. She was totally admirable here. Also, I loved the relationship between Zoe and Jess and how even with the misunderstandings and the rumors people told her about Zoe, she never believed them and always confirmed the information with Zoe and believed whatever she said. In terms of the romance, I have to say it wasn't as cute as in Smart Girls Get What They Want, Strohmeyer's other contemporary novel that I read and loved last year. However Ian, the love interest, had charm, in his own way. At some points I did feel annoyed by him but that is only because of the way the plot was unfolding and Strohmeyer not giving us all the information we needed. Other than that, I thought he was pretty cute and very fun to be around. I definitely enjoyed the moments between him and Zoe. The ending was very unexpected, I have to give it that. I had around 15 pages left and was like "HOW the hell is this novel going to wrap up in just 15 pages?" but the twist came and it left the stupidest grin on my face! I did hope for more closure though, especially on what will happen after Zoe and Jess end the internship but it was a decent ending. I definitely recommend it to contemporary fans and fairytale lovers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago