Goodreads Summary: A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in this contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.
Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.
Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.
“Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.”
Alyssa, who plays Cinderella at Enchanted Dominion, met her Prince Charming Jake, when he put her retrieved flip flop back on her foot, and has been living the fairy tale life ever since. Or at least she was last summer. This summer, everything in her fairy tale is different.
Alyssa spent an entire year looking forwards to spending summer with her boyfriend, Jake, who also works at Enchanted Domain. But when he finally shows up, something feels off. They can’t recover their perfect dynamic from last summer, and things are especially strange around the new girl who plays Belle. Her perfect fairy tale ideal starts to crumble, and she has to rely on her friends, including the adorable Miller, to get her through real life.
I’m almost positive that Enchanted Dominion is supposed to be Disney World (as someone who has spent extensive time researching how to be a princess there lol), and I loved how that played into the book. There was talk of face vs fur characters and their rivalries, working in the extensive heat outside, and secret tunnels through the park for the cast members, which I loved. It was fun to really get insight into the magic.
With that comes more pressing issues, such as ideals of beauty and skinniness. There was talk of eating disorders and girls relying all on standards of beauty, and I think this book did them justice, showing how the girls handled the pressure.
I really enjoyed Alyssa as a character. She seemed rather naive at times, and other times she seemed really superficial and interested only in outward appearance, but it was clear that in the end, in her heart, she was a wonderful, good person, who was only looking out for everyone’s best interests. She’s also extremely relatable; what girl hasn’t wanted a fairy tale at one point in time? She also has to deal with people having much more money with her. And she has a wedding binder, which is viewed as embarrassing, but I’m sure I’m not the only girl who has spent hours looking at wedding dresses online with friends haha. Furthermore, she goes through remarkable change through the book, becoming so much stronger.
I really liked her squad of princesses too! One girl bothered me slightly because she seemed to hate playing princess, and at least in Disney, I know that thousands of girls who would die to play princess get turned away (but then again, this is Enchanted Domain, not Disney!). But I actually also really liked her because she was so grounded and focused inward intelligence and strength instead of just beauty. The rest of the girls were so silly and so much fun; yet at the end of the day so fiercely loyal.
There are two love interests, but this book is not really a love triangle. There’s Jake, ex boyfriend aka Prince Charming, who turns out to be a complete jerk. And then there’s Miller, the best friend who was so adorable and amazing and I loved him!
This book was pretty predictable. For the most part, I guessed everything that would happen. But there were a couple of things at the end that I really didn’t expect; I guess the end is when it goes from cookie cutter fairy tale to real life! And even though it was predictable, I really enjoyed it 🙂
I do wish that the ending had been elaborated on a bit more. Alyssa is in a sorority, and there’s a lot of comments made on that through the book. I thought it would play a role in the ending, but it really didn’t, and I wish it had.
This book is categorized as YA, but it’s really more NA (New Adult). Alyssa and her friends are in (or graduated) college, and are living on their own; there is no mention of parents or anything. The material is still completely appropriate for YA, and I didn’t mind it being NA at all, but just don’t expect to see anything about high school!
3.5 out of 5 glittery stars.
You can also read my review on Goodreads here.