Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

250 pages
Published: May 11th 2004 (first published September 1st 2000)
Published by: Speak
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5
Wake up, Caitlin
Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
Note: I am beyond excited to be part of the Summer of Sarah Dessen campaign! I've been reading Sarah's books since I was in high school (and that was ages ago) so she has a special place in my heart. Thank you so much, Penguin! If you want to read along, check out the calendar

Dreamland is very dark. Even though Sarah Dessen is known for her realistic depiction of family dynamics, this book takes it a step further. The romance is tainted in very gut-wrenching way. As a reader, I would catch myself making excuses for Rogerson even though I knew he was bad news. This tells me that Sarah Dessen is a genius. The book is written in a way that allows you to go through that horrific roller-coaster with Caitlin.  You start accepting Rogerson's excuses even though you know that you shouldn't. If that's not a sign of a fantastic storyteller then I don't know what is. 

This story is so important. I can't say that enough. It deals with abuse and the struggle to get out of that dark hole. I love the way it doesn't sugarcoat the issue. Instead, the vicious cycle is front and center. Caitlin feels trapped and weak. She tries to deal with an issue that is a little too big for her to handle on her own. I wish every teen would read this so that they can understand how things can escalate rather quickly. 

Raw, brilliant, and powerful, Dreamland is one of those books that stays with you forever. I had a difficult time reading it because of how emotional it made me feel. Have your to-go Happy Kit in case the same happens to you.

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