Genre: Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 11, 2004
Source: Personal copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Something is terribly wrong with Caitlin, but she can't seem to snap out of it. What nobody understands is that Caitlin can't afford to leave the dreamland she's in, a half-sleeping state where everything and everyone can be kept at arm's length. Because then she'd have to face the ugly truth about her relationship with Rogerson: magnetic, fascinating -- and very dangerous -- Rogerson. What is it about Rogerson Bisco...and why can't Caitlin leave him?"
Caitlin has always compared herself to her perfect sister, Cassandra, and has always felt she was in her shadow. That is until Cassandra runs away with her boyfriend leaving her family behind and in a strange place. Caitlin, trying to find herself in high school, starts to date popular and good looking, Rogerson. He stretches her limits and before she knows it, she is trying new things and hanging out with new people. Before she knows it, Caitlin finds herself in a bad situation and a cycle of abuse. Sarah Dessen's Dreamland is an important and powerful story about an even more important topic, dating violence.
When I picked Dreamland up, I was in a reading slump and needed to rely on one of my favorite authors, Sarah Dessen. Usually her books are somewhat serious at times, but Dreamland took me by surprise. I was immediately caught into the story and Caitlin's world, because it was hard to read about her abuse. Just like Caitlin was in her own spell, I was too. I wanted her parents to get involved, but they were so out of it due to Cassandra's "disappearance."
Dessen's writing style, as usual, is absorbing. In Dreamland, she was able to share an important message about abuse while also still being her usual cool and entertaining self. It seemed like a story that, unfortunately, any high school girl could tell and in turn, it had me thinking a lot about abuse. It's scary to think that many girls deal with this and often feel they can't say anything to their parents, friends, or school counselors.
Even though the message in Dreamland is a tough pill to swallow at times, I felt it was a worthwhile read that I will definitely be adding to my classroom library.