Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: Disneylanders by Kate Abbott

by Kate Abbott

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 242
Publisher: Orchard Hill Press
Publication date: December 4, 2013
Suggested tags: middle grade, realistic fiction, romance

From Goodreads:
"Casey (short for Acacia, but don't call her that) is spending a few summer days with her parents at Disneyland. Just like they do every summer. Except this summer is different. Casey's best friend has dumped her. She starts high school in the fall, and she's tired of following her parents' rigid schedule and putting up with their embarrassing behavior. She's miserable. Even Disneyland can't make her happy. Then, standing in line for the Indiana Jones Adventure, she bumps into Bert. A year older. Tall. Brown eyes. Nice. But Bert's parents are mysteriously absent. And he wears an old, broken Mickey Mouse watch. Bert has secrets. When Casey ditches her parents to run off with Bert, those secrets are revealed in the darkness of a Haunted Mansion Doom Buggy, aboard a rocket ship hurtling through Space Mountain, and in the cramped confines of a Matterhorn bobsled. Is Bert really as cool as he seems? Could he become Casey's first...boyfriend? To make matters worse, Casey must also fight off her parents' attempts to ruin her relationship with Bert and fend off a pack of selfish, rowdy girls-the "Bra Strap Girls"-who seem intent on sabotaging her vacation and stealing Bert. Casey can't stay in Disneyland forever. When she leaves, with or without Bert, she'll have left behind her childhood and learned some important lessons about what it means to grow up."

{ I received an ebook copy of this book from the author, which was very kind but did not influence the following honest review. }

I'm a huge Disney geek. My family vacationed there at least twice a year while I was growing up, I fell in love with a fellow Disney geek, we got engaged in Disney World, we both worked in Disney World... So needless to say, I'm coming into this review with just a *bit* of a personal bias. :)

I do think that having an appreciation of Disney or at least a familiarity with the parks definitely would help in getting the most out of Disneylanders. There are so many wonderful details about the parks that someone who's spent a day park-hopping would truly appreciate. And then there are loads of smaller details that only true Disney geeks would appreciate - my favorite being the quotes from the attractions that start off each chapter. It was like a game for me to see if I could figure out where each quote came from. (Abbott very kindly provides a list at the end of the book of exactly where each quote is from, which was great for the ones that I'm embarrassed to say I was stumped on!)

That being said, a love or familiarity with Disney is definitely not required to enjoy Disneylanders, as the story itself is fun regardless of its setting and has one of the cutest romances I've read in a long time. Casey and Bert are just too adorable. We get to follow them around the parks as they get to know each other and slowly start to flirt. I think this middle grade book would be perfect for readers who are just starting to develop crushes and have first dates, as the romance is very innocent and Casey's feelings of wanting her own space away from her parents are very relatable. It reminded me of Disney trips in my own middle school days where I was allowed to go solo in the parks for the first time, away from my parents. I remember being very conscious of what cute boys were around me in line and what other girls my age were wearing or doing (like how Casey comes across "The Bra-Strap Girls," who are trying way too hard and somehow keep showing up at the same places she and Bert go).

Disneylanders has awesome Disney details, a sweet romance, and some mild family drama which I'm sure most readers can relate to (or look back and relate to): feeling like your parents are interfering in every possible way when you're starting to really need your own space and independence. I would definitely recommend this to middle grade readers who are looking for a light, sweet romance where a crush slowly begins to turn into something more, especially readers who are Disney geeks like me!

p.s. The author, Kate Abbott, has a link to the blog Theme Park Love on her website. It's full of cute stories of romance in theme parks, including Disney! As an adult reader, I found it to be a great follow-up read after finishing Disneylanders.

Final verdict: I loved it! I thought this book was great! I might buy it for myself and I would definitely recommend it to others.

{ Disneylanders book trailer }

{ More about Kate Abbott }

Kate Abbott's Goodreads profile
Kate Abbott's website
Follow Kate Abbott on Twitter

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