Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Disneylanders by Kate Abbott
Publisher: Theme Park Press
Publication Date: May 12, 2013
Source/Format: Gifted by Estelle (Thanks E!)/e-book
More Info: Goodreads || Amazon || Barnes & Noble
14-year-old Casey Allison, on the brink of starting high school, struggles to find a new identity on her family’s annual summer vacation, but with the help of an outgoing boy she meets while waiting in line, she discovers that Disneyland is the one place where her overprotective parents let her have the freedom to grow up. (from Goodreads)
Disneylanders captures a moment in time for Casey Allison, as she heads to Disneyland with her parents for their annual summer vacation. Don't let the seeming simplicity of this plot fool you! Casey is dealing with some very real things as part of growing up, like losing a friend, a new family dynamic and a cute boy. Even though things are presented in the lightest of tones, Abbott managed to weave something authentic and heartfelt.
Casey herself is a great character - fun, sassy and slightly awkward. Abbott managed to perfectly capture her innocence and confusion at being caught in between being a child and a teen. All the confusing things that happen during that period create a volatile situation for Casey. It was quite easy to relate to Casey's feelings, so Abbott truly hit the nail on the head.
One of the cute things about this novel is Casey's relationship with Bert. They get to spend some time together in the parks, which is instrumental in moving their relationship along. Though their relationship appears to simply be a beginning, it was adorable and certainly not far-fetched that they could continue to fall in love.
However, the best thing about Disneylanders is that Abbott manages to incorporate her firsthand knowledge of Disneyland into the book. A variety of familiar attractions were mentioned, as well as parades and other locations. This novel truly transported the reader into the park, so hats off to Abbott for making that happen! As a bonus, even the chapter titles are nods to Disney facts or attractions, which get explained a little at the end.
Disneylanders is like a perfect snapshot of Casey's Disneyland experience, making it an ideal read for the summer. Not only does Abbott bring the park to life and stuff it full of Disney factoids, she manages to tell a great little story filled with a lot of heart. While the novel could have been a little longer, it was a great way to capture a pivotal experience in Casey's life.