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Dream Factory

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,595 ratings  ·  281 reviews
When the Disney World character actors go on strike, teens are hired as replacements. Ella is assigned the role of Cinderella simply because the shoes fit. And every afternoon at three o'clock she gets married to Prince Charming. A perfect dream come true, except Ella doesn't believe in dreams anymore. Meanwhile, Luke is one of the fur characters (Dale, the chipmunk), and ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,595 ratings  ·  281 reviews

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Holly Noelle
I knew I'd like this book the second I read the first line: "I wasn't at all surprised when Cinderella gave me the finger."


This book makes me grateful for friends that read, otherwise I probably never would have found this one.

Dream Factory centers around Disney World at a time of crisis. During a struggle between Disney character actors and corporate over wages and benefits, the employees have gone on strike. With no other option they're forced to hire inexperienced teenagers to fill the roles
I thought the book had a good setting but I couldn't like the characters. The 2 main characters talked about bazaar things that are -in my opinion- unimportant and irrelevant. I could tell that the authors wanted Ella and Luke to look like deep thinkers but to me their conversations didn't sound deep, just weird. I mean, they talked about slugs -don't you just get goose bumps at the profoundness of it. And they talked about it like it was the most relevant thing in the world. From now on I will ...more
Jennifer Girard

I had so much expectations for this book! I'm a HUGE disney fan. I've started this book on the plane ride when I was going to Walt Disney World. The setting of the book was amazing. The scavenger hunt was the best part and I was disappointed that it was not explored more... The characters felt flat... it was like we only stayed on the surface even if we were kinda deep into their mind. Also some of the events seemed way too convenient and I was sure it couldn't happen in real life Walt Disney
Karmen (readingoncloud9)
*2.5 stars*
Laura Martinelli
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 Ell
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenn by: Holly Noelle

This book was really...cute. I don't really know any other word for it. It follows the lives of Ella and Luke, 2 kids who work at as characters at Disneyworld while the real employees are on strike. Ella is Cinderella, and Luke is Dale (as in Chip and Dale).

I am a huge Disney dork, so this was kind of the perfect book for me. It was very light hearted, cheesy at the right moments, and just fun. Who wouldn't want to work at the Happiest Place on Earth? The author seemed to know a lot about th
Savannah S
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is called Dream Factory by: Brad Barkley. It is 250 pages long and I read it the week of october 22. The book is about a group of teenagers who are hired as replacements after the disney characters go on strike. The book is kind of a cinderella story between Ella, who plays Cinderella, and Luke, who plays Dale. In the begining Prince charming and Cinderella are dating and so are Chip and Dale. But then later on in the story the two couples go on a double date and get a surprise mystery ...more
Sonia Reppe
Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler put the “zip” in zip-a-dee-doo-dah

Teen identity crisis against a backdrop of fairy tales and make-believe is what we get in Barkley and Hepler’s newest YA novel, Dream Factory, about teenagers who take temporary jobs at Disney World. The Disney World setting is an ironic contrast to teen angst, but this book isn't all about disillusionment. Nor does it go into familiar thematic formula—which one might associate with Disney—a villain, a hero, and a predictable endi
Sep 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: youth
I'm torn on how I feel about this one. I generally liked the characters, and they all felt very real. But Ella and Luke were both so damned earnest and introspective and it was kind of annoying, because they aren't as important as they think they are. But in that way, I suppose they were very realistically 17 years old. *g*

I liked Luke more than Ella, who seemed to suffer in the two person writing - characterization wasn't as consistent for her. I also could empathize with Luke's situation, hav
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I will read anything about Walt Disney World and it's not often you find a novel based around the park, so I was excited for this story. But the Disney in this book is so completely wrong and twisted that my delight switched to anger at the very first sentence: "I wasn't at all surprised when Cinderella gave me the finger."

Premise: Disney's character performers are on strike, so the theme park desperately hires a group of semi-interested teenagers to fill character roles.

My biggest issue with
Oct 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Dream Factory is a very appealing love story that puts a whole new twist on the fantastic,land of Disney World. This story shows the fun depiction of life within the Magic Kingdom. Brad Barkley's book, Dream Factory drew me in with its romantic plot and unique writing style.

One point that definitely needs to be made about this book is the theme. Dream Factory is one of those stories that has a very important lesson to learn by the end of the book. The lesson that I learned was to be yourself and
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
At first, I found this book to be a bit hard to follow. There isn't much of an introduction and you just jump right into the story. Ella and Luke spend the summer working at the happiest place on Earth with a bunch of other people around their age including Luke's hot girlfriend Cassie (which makes you wonder, why did they make her a chipmunk if she's so hot?) and Ella's best friend. Ella doesn't believe in dreams coming true much, and how could you blame her with the tragedy she's carrying arou ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
OH MY GOD!! i couldn't stand this book. I kept telling myself that it would get better but but the hole book was just BLEH!! The only reason i actually finished this book is because i cant not finish a book and this book aggravated the sh*t out of me. 1. the characters. I felt no connection to any of them, literally, they could have gotten run over by a bus and i wouldn't have even cared. I mean i tried to connect with them but no absolutely nothing, zip, noda. any many other things i found wron ...more
Erin Behr
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dream Factory tells the love story of teens Ella and Luke, who have been hired by Disney World to take over the character mascot roles while the normal workers are on strike. Ella and Luke both have significant others and are just friends—or are they?

I love this novel because it's told from both characters' points of view: it has two authors (Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler), each of which takes a character and writes from his/her perspective. This makes for a lot of awesome dialogue and a grea
Ally Robinson
This was an awesome book, especially for teens trying to find their place in the world, or anyone who loves Disney! The Disney World actors go on strike, and are replaced by teens from around the country. Ella, Matt, Cassie and Luke are in for a rude awakening as to what awaits them - each other. Along the way, the girls get into their own quarrel, while Luke tries to win over Ella.. while trying to dump Cassie. Ella is dealing with the loss of her brother, and Luke is desperately trying to get ...more
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens - both boys and girls
Shelves: ya
This is a light romance set in Disneyworld which was the first draw for me. Ella and Luke fall for each other one summer while they are filling in for costume characters during a strike. This was a fun read but had more serious undertones for teens trying to discover what is real about themselves and the world around them. Disneyworld is all about creating and selling fantasy. So there are several levels of illusion the characters have to sift through - the illusion of their jobs, the illusions ...more
As someone who used to work in the Magic Kingdom, I found the idea of these kids wandering through the park at night and never having heard of the Utilidors ridiculous. That being said it was still an enjoyable story. It had its funny moments definitely but over all was a bit weak.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Such an awesome book. I read it a few years ago. Well written, great characters, and believable! 4 out of 5 stars.
Allie Newill
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teens and young adults
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Ever since I read the first few pages of Dream Factory at the bookstore I have been eager to read the whole story. Since I missed my chance of getting it from the bookstore I ordered it from the library.

Disney cast has gone out on strike in an attempt to get dental insurance so a bunch of high school students were brought in to play the role of the characters. Ella is lost and not sure what to do with herself so getting a job at Disneyworld is a good plan for the time being. Cast as Cinderella
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book "Dream Factory" is a great book to read and is definitely recommended for anyone who loves to read fictional stories. "Dream Factory" is about when Disney World characters go on strike and a couple of teenagers were hired to fill in for them. Ella, on of the main characters, plays cinderella. Her character is very regretful about a lot and in the story she is haunted by her family's history. This story made me feel like it was gonna be all about happiness and love, but actually the char ...more
Ms. Davis
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was an okay read - light and fluffy, I would recommend this as a quick and fairly brainless beach read. I read this for Book Club at school and, again, we all agreed it was likable but not a lot of depth. I did enjoy the twist on Disney and getting more a back-scene look at how the park works. I'm not sure how much research the author had done, but it was fun to read a somewhat expose and I thought it served as a good backdrop for the characters. I always enjoy a different and unique settin ...more
Elizabeth Slick
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Whenever I have a bad day, this is the book. As much as the relationships in this book are completely unhealthy and bizarre, I connect a lot with both Ella and Luke. It's such an easy story to read, especially when you just need a fairy tale that is so non-Disney while still kinda Disney (it makes sense, I promise).
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m not sure how this was added to my reading list. Young adult, high school grads filling in as the characters at Disney World. It was cute and predictable and way too many plot holes (really just one Cinderella for the entire park for 7 days a week and 18+ hours a day, yet they had long breaks during the day?) But I enjoyed it! And now I want to go back to Disney World!
Susannah Olsen
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not personal, just never ended up finishing it.
A little bland, but I loved how it dug into the world behind Disney parks.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
I abandoned this book because I didn't find it interesting. I tried to read it in like 5th grade but I think it is more of a novel for teens. So, I think I am gong to try and read it again.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved the book, it made me think of things with different views
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
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BRAD BARKLEY, a native of North Carolina, is the author of the novel, Money, Love, a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection and a "BookSense 76" choice. Money, Love was named one of the best books of 2000 by the Washington Post and the Library Journal. His novel Alison's Automotive Repair Manual was also a "BookSense 76" selection. His short fiction has appeared in over two dozen ...more
“You asked me if I believed in magic, and I said yes, and that's how. You just step out, start pulling your life out of the air. You make friends, you find work you really like doing, you find places. You find diners and Laundromats. You find beaches. You find a junk car and drive it for a month, then lave it beside the road. You find someone to fall in love with you. You make it all up as you go. Or, you know, maybe it makes you up.” 14 likes
“Ella, if it's magic, then nothing is supposed to happen.” 4 likes
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