Like a lot of other people, I hold a lot of nostalgia for Disney — My mom used to work for Disney, and I grew up going to the parks quite frequently (back when I lived in Hong Kong). I’ve made many friends through my love of Disney — Caitlyn and Mary included. In a spout of Disney-nostalgia, I reached out to Mary and asked if she wanted to collaborate on a Book Recs post based off of Disney attractions!
Like many others, Mary and I have also been incredibly frustrated with how Disney has treated their cast members, and wanted to shine a light on Cast Member Pantry, which is based in Florida (venmo: @castmemberpantry, amazon wishlist here), Second Harvest Food Bank Orange County which supports those laid off at Disneyland, as well as these two google sheets – How to Help Disney Cast Members, and Laid off and Furloughed CM Support Sheet.
Without any further ado, here are 10 book recommendations based off of your favorite Disney attractions!
Belle’s Enchanted Tales – Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher
There’s a specific scene in Amelia Unabridged that very much reminds me of Belle’s Enchanted Tales, but even without that one scene, we would’ve paired Belle’s Enchanted Tales with Amelia Unabridged anyways. Both Amelia Unabridged and Belle’s Enchanted Tales are centered around books and one’s love for books.
Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.
In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.
When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.
The Great Movie Ride – I Think I Love You by Aurianne Desombre
While The Great Movie Ride is no longer at Hollywood Studios, it’s forever got a spot in our hearts. I Think I Love You immediately gave us The Great Movie Ride vibes, especially with the backdrop of a film festival.
Emma is a die-hard romantic. She loves a meet-cute Netflix movie, her pet, Lady Catulet, and dreaming up the Gay Rom Com of her heart for the film festival competition she and her friends are entering. If only they’d listen to her ideas. . .
Sophia is pragmatic. She’s big into boycotts, namely 1) relationships, 2) teen boys and their BO (reason #2347683 she’s a lesbian), and 3) Emma’s nauseating ideas. Forget starry-eyed romance, Sophia knows what will win: an artistic film with a message.
Cue the drama. The movie is doomed before they even start shooting . . . until a real-life plot twist unfolds behind the camera when Emma and Sophia start seeing each other through a different lens. Suddenly their rivalry is starting to feel like an actual rom-com.
Haunted Mansion – Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
Down Comes the Night is actually the book that inspired this post! Shortly after I finished reading Down Comes the Night, I couldn’t help but think of how Colwick Hall reminds me of Haunted Mansion in its entirety. Also, both Down Comes the Night and Haunted Mansion have similar gothic vibes, a lot of intrigue, and both have a special place in my heart!
Honor your oath, destroy your country.
Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.
When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.
As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.
Mad Tea Party – A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, with its stunning pink cover, and minty green hardcover was one that reminded us of Alice and her teacups immediately! A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow definitely left us starry-eyed and a little dizzy with how sweet and heartwarming it was.
For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.
A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.
Paint the Night – Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
It wouldn’t be a Disney Parks post from the two of us without a Paint the Night nod. Paint the Night is one of our favorite Disney parades of all time, and we knew we’d have to pair it with something good! Being from Seattle, I absolutely loved Today Tonight Tomorrow and how it was a love letter to this city, in the same way that Paint the Night is a love letter to some of the greatest Disney films.
Today, she hates him.
It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.
Tonight, she puts up with him.
When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.
As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.
Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.
Peter Pan’s Flight – Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
When brainstorming this list, we instantly knew we had to pair Lost in the Never Woods with Peter Pan’s Flight. After all, Lost in the Never Woods is a Peter Pan retelling and after reading Cemetery Boys, we couldn’t be more excited for Aiden Thomas’ next book. We’re hoping that Lost in the Never Woods will become just as much of a dreamy classic as Peter Pan’s Flight.
When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.
It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
Pixar Pal-A-Round – Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
I was incredibly lucky to read an ARC of Perfect on Paper, and absolutely adored it! Without giving too much away, Darcy and her friends do end up visiting Disneyland, and the Pixar Pal-A-Round/Mickey’s Fun Wheel is mentioned. Even without the Disney nod, though, I would’ve associated Perfect on Paper with the Pixar Pal-A-Round anyways; it’s an incredibly exhilarating read, a refreshing take on a classic, and a wild ride all around!
Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.
However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.
Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.
Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster – Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins
Like a Love Song is a highly anticipated read for the two of us! It’s been on our radar ever since Gabhi posted her Notion pages for Nati and Will and we could so easily picture Nati rehearsing for a show similar to the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster pre-show – or Will hanging out backstage at a concert!
Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?
Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.
Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?
Storybook Land Canal Boats – You Have a Match by Emma Lord
You Have a Match and the Storybook Land Canal Boatswas another easy pairing. Storybook Land Canal Boats reminds us exactly of summer camp, families, and happily ever afters – just like You Have a Match does. Both You Have a Match and Storybook Land Canal Boats have us missing summer.
When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.
But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.
When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents — especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.
The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.
But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.
Tower of Terror – The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
From the description, The Dead and the Dark has this eerie, haunting vibe that is reminiscent of Tower of Terror. With things that are lurking in dark corners, missing people, and things not being what they seem, we simply had to pair these two together!
The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
We hope you enjoyed our book recs! If you liked this post, or even if you didn’t, please check out this carrd.co, which has resources to learn more about the history of the US criminal justice system, the prison-industrial complex, and institutional reform.