In Disneylanders, 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.
*A copy was provided by Theme Park Press in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Bob and Kate!*
I never really expected to get so much feels about Disneylanders. Truth be told, I expected it to be a touching and light tale of a girl’s adventures in Disneyland. But wow, what I got was a bucketload of Disney feels and the insatiable urge to watch Disney films and fly to Hong Kong where the closest Disney theme park is located. 3 weeks later and I still can’t get over this beautiful little blue book. As I write this, I’m listening to Disney songs on YouTube. Dear Kate, why must you torture me so?!?!?!?!?!?!
Disneylanders revolves around Casey, a teenager suffocated by her parents’ over-protectiveness. The dysfunctional family provided some comic relief since Bert and Casey’s plot line dealt with some pretty heavy issues.
What made this book so compelling was the author’s writing style. It wasn’t too fast nor too slow and totally captured the essence of growing up. Kate’ characters were all three-dimensional and written with a lot of depth. I really liked how Bert wasn’t a typical perfect guy but rather a boy with real problems that were experienced by today’s youth. His vulnerabilities were shown throughout the book, which naturally made him my fictional boyfriend number 57. [Why commit to 1 boyfriend when you can have 57?] Casey’s character was amazing as well. She was headstrong and stubborn yet insecure at the same time. Her maturity for her age was very endearing and GAH, I just love her and Bert so much!
Another thing that was so captivating about this book were the chapter names. They all had a connection with Disneyland and Disney in general. I tried to spot all of them but sadly, I could only accomplish around 3 or so.
Now let me get all book report-y here. I’m sorry for being so analytical about the book but it’s a very wonderful book and I can’t help but look for sublime messages and symbolisms. So if you don’t want to read this Disneylanders by Kate Abbott mini-thesis, feel free to leave my blog but please, leave a comment because you get a free cupcake if you do.
In Disneylanders, I noticed that a lot of the rides Casey and Bert rode broke down as they were right in the middle of the attraction. This was the most prevalent thing on my mind as I read the book. There are 3 possible interpretations for this. One, Bert and Casey have some serious karma and the universe hated them for some unexplainable reason. Two, the rides at Disneyland are in a deplorable condition, in which case you should take care while in Disneyland and don’t forget your life insurance! However, this is my speculation; the breaking down of the rides was a metaphor for reality. When riding the attractions, Casey could forget how her best friend was constantly ditching her and the way her parents were a regular source of embarrassment. But the thing about escapism is we can’t really forget the fact that we live in reality. We always have to come back to it sooner than later. So what I’m saying is that maybe the rides breaking down was the universe’s way of reminding Casey that try as she might, she can’t always avoid her unbearable reality.
Disneylanders didn’t focus much on the actual amusement park but rather how the park itself was a catalyst of Casey’s maturation throughout the whole trip. It was certainly mind-blowing how the author managed to do this. I mean READ THE BOOK. You’ll see what i’m talking about.
Kate Abbott has written a magical and poignant coming-of-age tale that I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to read. Disneylanders is simply brilliant. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Ms. Abbott’s incredible writing skills.