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Dream Factory    by Brad Barkley & Heather Hepler order for
Dream Factory
by Brad Barkley
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

There are few things more satisfying than going into a book expecting a normal, humdrum experience and instead being tantalized by wonderful characters and an excellent storyline. This was my pleasure in reading Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler. This is the authors' second team novel. They take turns writing from the point of view of Luke, whose parents are waiting from him to return so they can involve him in their family business, and Ella, whose parents have left the country (and her) in an attempt to find themselves after their son was killed in a car accident.

Dream Factory spins the tale of a group of graduated high school seniors, in that period between high school and college where anything could happen. Having come to Disney World to work as sweepers and cotton-candy makers, they instead find themselves as the main characters, when a strike sends Snow White, Dumbo, and all their friends out of commission. Luke, Ella, and a motley crew of other teens are thrown together to take the parts of the Disney elite. Ella becomes Cinderella, because the costume fits her. Her Prince Charming is a Disney know-it-all who quickly pursues his Cinderella off-stage. Luke is Dale the chipmunk, while his new Disney girlfriend Cassie is Chip. And while on the outside these relationships seem to make sense, Luke and Ella both feel drawn outside of the crowd - and to one another.

Dream Factory avoids stock characters from normal teen romances and instead gives us the perplexing characters of Luke and Ella. I'd rate it two thumbs up and a great read for a teen - or anyone looking for a good, Disney-style adventure.

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