This review and can also be found on my blog The Humble Watermelon What makes Sarah Dessen s books so special is the fact that you feel like you can actually relate to the characters Also, the plots are almost always the same, complete with a girl, a boy, and some romance, and the main character always has some kind of emotionally damaging problem they have to deal with, but it never seems repetitive Dreamland was haunting It was disturbing Not words you usually associate with Dessen, the queen of summer romance and chick flicks But words that Dessen definitely pulled off I had to take a few breaks from Dreamland, first because I finally got ahold of Insurgent, and then because somebody lend me The Maze Runner Yet every time I came back to read this book, I didn t feel very distant from it or confused, because the plot just sucked me right in, like the last time I read the book was not a week ago, but a day ago The thing about Sarah Dessen is that she gives you a lot of time to know the characters , and then after a couple of hundred pages or so she actually gets into the plot Normally, this kind of format would greatly annoy me, but with Dessen s books, I think it actually works really great By knowing the characters with details and revealing many different sides of them, everything in the story just seems to be vivid, rich Caitlyn is the kind of girl that can easily be persuaded at her weak point, but has a very strong will and drive Honestly, I was emphatic towards her than sympathetic, but I felt like she was a pretty well rounded female lead Now Rogerson brought a whole new dynamic to the story Whereas Caitlyn was hesitant, forgiving and slightly self conscious, Rogerson was mysterious, impatient, and possessed quite a temper In fact, Dessen made these two characters well, all the characters all so complex and developed that I fear I may not ever have the right words to describe them Caitlyn and Rogerson s relationship was what you could call unexpected and tumultuous I desperately wanted to yell at Caitlyn to get away from this abusive relationship, yet I understood how she really couldn t It s that kind of relationship that draws you, drowns you in with a brutal force, and never let s you out of its grasp Sometimes, you might be able to wiggle a little looser from it, yet you just can t completely set yourself free It puts you in a daze, a hallucination where you think that everything s all right, yet you know that it s not Sarah Dessen definitely blew me away with this one All the elements in this story the relationships, the family dynamic, the pain, the emotions interwove with each other in perfect harmony She made the book feel so light, so eerie, and ever so fascinating Just like you were in dreamland. Pre read Yeah, I m re reading this book for this year because apparently I m on a Sarah Dessen kick from my library I m really looking forward to it.Post read Dude, I m still shaking even after I ve turned the final page Much of Dreamland hit spot on with respect to the feelings of isolation that Caitlyn felt with things going on with her family and friend circles, and the abuse she suffered just catapulted that strife into the stratosphere I really appreciated the chance to re read this More reflections to follow in the full review.Full review Dreamland was my first read by Sarah Dessen quite a number of years ago, and I recently took the opportunity to re read it I remembered this being an emotional read, and I ll admit picking it up again provided me with much the same experience as I did the first time I read it, with a few caveats Caitlyn s a young woman with quite a number of struggles on her plate Having a sister Cass who abandoned the family and aspirations towards Yale to join a boyfriend on a talk show mimicking Jerry Springer, Caitlyn s struggles are mostly unseen by her parents, who hope for her Cass s return Caitlyn also struggles in her social circles at school, joining the cheerleading team which she s reluctant to do, but finds herself in the mix of things anyway and becoming a fixation of her mother s in the absence of Cass It s in this time, between the grief of Cass s departure and parents distancing that Caitlyn meets Robertson Robertson seems to give her moments of happiness despite some stern rumors and horrible events that occur to him at home Yet when she ends up on the other end of his wildly shifting moods and violence, Caitlyn s both stunned and lost to the cycle of his actions against her.I struggled a little in the beginning of the book with some parts of Caitlyn s characterization, but I did end up caring about her as she misses Cass s presence and feeling the tension of the household that remains in Cass s absence The way her thoughts come across in the cycle of Robertson s abuse and her desperation were palpable and intense, especially in the second half of the story when people start to notice Caitlyn s change in behavior, clothes, and demeanor The inclusion of the dream journal and how she enters this state of suspension non reality fear was also well described.But I longed for a little backstory on Rogerson whose family and issues kinda got dropped by the wayside after a time, despite his cycle of abuse against Caitlyn You d think some of his issues and how that contributed to his behavior would be explored , despite a brief showing as well as some of the other characters who seemed interesting on the surface in Caitlyn s circles, but somehow could ve had a little better balance in the mix of the ongoing plot.It s definitely one that I would recommend to readers who like YA in the spectrum of tough subject matters, with some interesting characters and slice of life pinpoints, though I think it could ve had a bit development and even pacing through the work to make the read rounded.Overall score 3.5 5 stars. Wake up, Caitlin,Mr Lensing had said But what he didn t understand was that this dreamland was preferable, walking through this life half sleeping, everything at arm s length or farther away I understood those mermaids I didn t care if they sang to me All I wanted was to block out all the human voices as they called my name again and again, pulling me upward into light, to drownDreamland was my first Sarah Dessen book, and for some reason I d always thought she wrote light hearted, fun, romantic contemporaries meant for a warm, breezy summer day But I was wrong how utterly wrong I was Dreamland broke my heart completely and left me gasping, unable to form coherent thoughts when I first finished it When I turned the last page, I sat on my bed for a moment, dazed.This gritty, emotional tale follows Caitlin, an eternally second best, straight B girl living in the shadow of her absolutely perfect older sister, Cass But when Cass runs away, their whole family is distraught Caitlin now has to try and fill the gaping hole Cass left behind, but it s almost impossible when she faces her withdrawn, upset mother and her lackluster father Caitlin is sidelined or never given much thought to in the face of their great loss Then she meets Rogerson He s charming, funny, mysterious and magnetic, and he gives off a dangerous aura It isn t long before Caitlin gets involved with him Being with him makes her forget about everything else that s wanting in her life But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a bigger problem than being without him Sarah Dessen s prose flows beautifully It is smooth, compelling, almost lyrical Before long you are swept up in it, bound towards the inevitable end, and by the time you see the ending coming it is too late I felt like this reading experience truly wrecked me Even now I m struggling to put my thoughts into words, to articulate myself and convey how amazingly written this book was Characters really come alive off the page as you read, and every scene felt painfully real I couldn t put down this train wreck of a book at allBut I couldn t tell her I couldn t tell anyone As long as I didn t say it aloud, it wasn t realCaitlin broke my heart I watched her carry the weight of the world on her shoulders, watched her life begin a downward spiral, and I wept for her From the heady rush of first love, Caitlin was brutally transported into literal hell After the first time Rogerson hit her, he only continued to do it repeatedly as the story went on Her whole life became ruined by fear, as she danced with caution around her boyfriend, always trying to keep him in the best mood she could Nobody around her saw what was really happening to her, and Caitlin retreated further and further from reality, choosing instead to float through life in a kind of dream Her gradual decline tugged at heartstrings and brought out all the emotions in meI could have just gotten out of the car and walked up to my house, leaving him behind forever Things would have been very different if I had done that But the fact was that I loved Rogerson It wasn t just that I loved him, even it was that I loved what I was when I was with him Not a little sister, the pretty girl s sidekick, the second runner up All I d ever wanted was to make my own path, far from Cass s And even after what had happened, I wasn t ready to give that up just yetSometimes we fall into the easy habit of victim blaming Why didn t she still leave him when she could Why didn t she tell someone the first time But I know what it is to have loved someone so much you would forgive them anything until it s too late And so I understood Caitlin, how she struggled with herself for so long Yet she was brave, and resilient in her own way I was drawn to Caitlin all throughout the book And I hated Rogerson Like any sane person would Honestly I will admit that I loved him at first, but after that first slap all I wanted to do for the rest of the book was gut him Or kick him Do whatever he was doing to Caitlin back unto him I just couldn t bear to see Caitlin sit back and take his abuse I m very happy that Sarah Dessen decided to touch on this subject in YA She didn t just gloss over it either she fleshed out all the gritty details, creating a poignant masterpiece that will touch the hearts of readers everywhere There are no words to describe how much I loved this book, or how much it affected me I myself felt like I was dreaming as I was reading everything seemed so surreal and impossible It was as if I was dreaming with Caitlin and then rudely awakened with her, as well Such is the power of Sarah s writingI was worn out, broken He had taken almost everything But he d been all I d had, all this time And when the police led him away, I pulled out of the hands of all these loved ones, sobbing, screaming, everything hurting, to try and make him stayThe only thing I was a little disappointed with was the little amount of closure we got After most of the book was so brilliantly written, the ending seemed rushed, which was a letdown so I deducted a star I would have loved to know about Caitlin taking the first steps to heal herself both mentally and emotionally, and how she rebuilt her relationships with the people closest to her, instead of a few lines scribbled in the last few chapters But otherwise, this book far exceeded my expectations It was a wonderful read I never saw coming If Sarah Dessen s books live up to this standard, I can guarantee she will become one of my favorite authorsIf you didn t love him, this never would have happened But you did And accepting that love and everything that followed it is part of letting it go Dreamland is about a girl named Caitlin The books starts with her older sister, Cassandra, running away which leaves Caitlin s family situation in chaos, and also leaves Caitlin to fill her perfect sister s place She joins the cheerleading squad and starts to date a jock the whole prep girl routine But that abruptly ends when she meets a bad boy named Rogerson.This book was amazingly written just like Sarah Dessen s other book that I ve read This Lullaby.But it s so different Dreamland is an intense, quick read It s one of those books that you just have to read Of course, I don t think this is one of those books that you necessarily have to re read Definitely not.It s a horrific story one of those that you can olny read through splayed hands and eyes half squinted But it s written so convingly.I ve decided that I want to read all of Sarah Dessen s books.Oh, and just a warning medium language and some really intense scenes Sometimes I just don t understand why authors have to add bad language to their books it doesn t make the novel real or interesting than it already is. See you in dreamlandYour might find it really hard to believe that I just rated a Sarah Dessen book 2 out of 5 stars But I didn t really enjoy this book, it was something that I wasn t expecting I thought this was a book that was fluffy and filled with happiness BUT It isn t fluffy and it isn t filled with happiness It made me feel uncomfortable and it made me feel so depressed I mean, it was a good book, but this book wasn t meant for me It dealt with violence and abuse and I had a difficult time reading it I ll explain why in this review and if you aren t comfortable with violence or abuse, I recommend that you do not read this bookIf there s one thing I ve learned in the last few months, it s that sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jumpCaitlin s sister Cass ran away from home Ever since Cass left, Caitlin s felt lost and at the same time, she feels free She is so confused and doesn t know what to do with herself Cass was perfect and had the best future ahead of her, but she chose to run away When Cass used to live with Caitlin, she felt like she had to follow everything that her sister had done But now, Caitlin can make her own choices and follow her own path instead of being her sister s shadow And that s when she meets Rogerson, the guy who changed her lifeI had this wild thought that he was the only one in all this chaos who was just like me, and that was comforting and profound all at onceOne of the reasons of why I didn t enjoy this book was probably because of the characters I wasn t a huge fan of Caitlin and I hated all the choices she made in this book Rogerson was someone that had features that were good and features that were horrible I didn t really like him though and I understand why he did the things he did, but I don t care All the things he did were so wrong and it bothered me so much I never heard him say SORRY and I was so upset Rina was a character I really liked because she was the only one who knew Caitlin was acting differently Corrina was brave and made the right choice in the end Dave was another character that I didn t like Matthew was interesting and I wish we got to read about him Boo and Stewart are awesome I felt like Caitlin s parents are awesome but they should ve paid a bit attention to Caitlin I wish we got to read about Cass and Adam When I was reading, I kept putting the book down and doing this The choices that the characters made were just so unbelievable Sometimes, the story was so slow paced and I would continue reading, waiting for a good part And then things would get so sad and all I would want to do was put the book away and start crying While other times, I wanted to do this to the people who made Caitlin feel this way Sometimes, I felt like I got too into the story and I felt like I was the main character I was going through all the feelings that the character went through and it made me feel so weird I don t know how to explain the feelings that I went through, but I hated the feels that I went through I felt like I was apart of the book and I was Caitlin It was like I was running in wild nightmareI couldn t tell her I couldn t tell anyone As long as I didn t say it aloud, it wasn t realAt some points of this book, I felt so angry and I just couldn t even look at the book any But at the same time, I needed to know how the book ends and it was bothering me So I started avoiding the book and one of the things that kept me busy was school homework Or I watched videos and continued watching Anime, I LOVE NARUTO BY THE WAY But I had nothing to do today and I knew I had to finish the book eventually and I did And I was happy with how the book ended, but I hated my reading experienceIt s so easy to get caught up in what people expect of you Sometimes, you can just lose yourselfIt scares me because so many people went through this There are so many people in this world who have been abused I recommend this book to those who have already read a Sarah Dessen book and want to read a dark novel by her If you haven t read Sarah Dessen s books and you like dark contemporary novels, I recommend this one But other than that, if you haven t read any of Sarah Dessen s books, I highly recommend the Lullaby, Just Listen, What Happened to Goodbye, Lock and Key or Along for the Ride. TW physical and emotional abuse Definitely feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest Definitely was not prepared I knew it was going to be darker, but WOWZA Very well written and so heartbreaking I don t know how else to review it or to add on to that Just Brace yourself, and don t be afraid to give yourself a break and eat some pizza and watch something funny uplifting while you re reading this one It s an important one, though Definitely I m glad that there are authors out there who aren t afraid to touch on the really dark stuff In away, it s like them saying, You are not alone You can get help It will take time, but you will heal. I d been wanting to read something by Sarah Dessen for awhile She s one of those prominent YA authors, and I ve heard good things about her booksalthough not so much as to tell me what they were about So while I was at the library the other day, I picked up one of her titles at random and read the back description of the hot guy I decided, sure, why not So Dreamland came home with me.It starts out with a gripper on Caitlin s 16th birthday, her sister Cassandra, 2 years older, runs away to be with her boyfriend who is a bouncer security guy on some crazy talk show akin to Jerry Springer Jenny Jones This is totally out of character for Cass, who has always been the model student, person, daughter And everyone is lost without her Caitlin is sort of drifting the whole time into one thing or another She ends up being a cheerleader and describes the experience as something that just happened to her In fact, many of her decisions are made on the basis of whether it would be different from something Cass has done She does make a conscious decision to start dating Rogerson, though the hot boy described on the back cover Rogerson has problems of his own an abusive father, a criminal record, and he continues to sell pot and narcotics even after his arrest But he and Caitlin seem to understand one another Until one day, when Caitlin fails to meet him at an agreed upon time, he hits her And then it s like he can t stop hitting her And she can t stop seeing him At this point in the story, I sighed, because this story has been told time and time again woman trapped in an abusive relationship, can t bring herself to leave And I prepared myself to slog through it, waiting to be deliberately manipulated by a heavy handed authorbut it didn t happen that way at all The abuse was bad, but it was like I was in the same drifty dreamworld that Caitlin was inand I felt her fear and trepidation, but I also felt her strength and the conflict within her No one thinks that they will ever be in this kind of situation No one wants it But it struck a chord with me, because Caitlin loved Rogerson, and saw something behind his hurting herwhich is what made it so difficult for her to leave him It made me think about how hard it is to walk away from something you are so bound up with emotionallyeven when things are bad And this story did not HARP on about the good days and how Rogerson was so good Caitlin didn t see it like that She just saw those days times as being safe She could be with him and not have to worry about being hurt She does get out of it Something within her crumbles, and she just can t moveand someone sees Rogerson beating her She ends up in therapy in a psychiatric hospital, where she gets the rest she needs, and gets to talk about what s happened to her since her sister left And we aren t left with the feeling that everything is going to be happily ever after, but at least we know that Caitlin is free of this hurt, and she s on her way to healing This moved me, and I can be SO immoveable when I ve decided not to like something I m so glad I gave it a chance, even when the PLOT was revealed Thank you Sarah Dessen for not being heavy handed, and for telling this kind of a story in a new and meaningful way. Like Caitlin, my emotions are all out of whack If I m not careful, I may even resort to sucking my thumb, screaming at random times and intervals, rolling around on the grass, flopping on my bed, or sticking my feet up in the air and playing dead It s really hard to say what I might do, and if I tried to pin it down, my response would be filled with conjecture, and I prefer to deal in facts.The fact is I hated this novel Hated it with a passion, because it discussed abuse, and I prefer to look at the world through rose colored glasses and deal in unicorns and rainbows and Popsicle sticks and ice cream sandwiches But this is one world that is filled with a vast emptiness that extends for miles and miles.When I go to sleep, I dream of Junior Mints and Butterfingers and Milk Duds I certainly do not wake up screaming in the night, or cover myself in cold sweats and silently stare out of open windows with my mouth offered up in the open position I certainly don t have a negative view of the world.So, yeah, it was hard for me to understand someone that might Not just hard, it was nearly impossible, as I struggled with it throughout the course of this novel DREAMLAND was a virtual world for me, and it was filled with potholes and minefields and.44 Magnums pointed in my direction The gun didn t go off thankfully, but it was darn close, and it was pretty damn big.Rogerson pinpointed everything I hate about this world No, hate is probably too strong a word But extreme dislike might not be far off the mark He might even qualify as a beautiful bastard, I don t know And, frankly, Caitlin put up with way too much of his shit, and she needed to develop a few thoughts for herself Not maybe, this is a definitive requirement.Otherwise, this was a beautifully written novel with fully developed characters and passionate prose and a flowing storyline that kept me on my toes Had I liked either of the main characters, I might have even rated this novel higher.Cross posted at Robert s Reads There is something to be said for authors that refuse to write the Hollywood ending They believe in their stories enough to write characters that need than a big screen smooch to resolve their conflicts Instead, these authors take the chance of writing an extended resolution, arguing, I imagine, that it takes time to resolve the problems people have I would argue that novels that have a strong sense of resolution, something than the sum of its tied up loose ends, make a enduring impact on us than their counterparts.The resolution of Dreamland takes up 32 pages of a 250 page novel, which I suspect some readers will find a little long.But it s good.Caitlin O Karen s older sister, Cass, runs away from to be with her boyfriend, even though she has been accepted to Yale and has parents that can afford to send her there Caitlin, just turned sixteen, has always been the younger sister Now, she has to find herself in the absence of Cass However, no matter how hard she tries, she finds that the people around her act as though she is the new Cass.It is only when Caitlin is with Rogerson Biscoe that she feels free of her sister s shadow and her parents expectations Rogerson drives a sleek BMW, his report card is impressive, and his counselors think he s driven but misguided He has dreadlocks that alarm parents everywhere and a look in his eyes that cannot be understood He is very dreamy, and he is the love interest that Caitlin thinks will set her free Unfortunately, he does not transport Caitlin to a dreamland that Sinatre might sing about Dreamland is not a romance novel It s not even a not a romance novel in the way that Twilight is not a romance novel.Rogerson sells pot and other illegals, his father beats him, and he has a way of getting Caitlin to do things that she knows are wrong Still, she thinks, it s better than cheer leading, right That is, spoiler alert, until Rogerson hits Caitlin for the first time At this point, Dreamland takes a turn for the dark We come to realize that Caitlin, the battered girlfriend, is receding from reality and entering a sort of dreamland Her grades are dropping, her squad tries to stage an intervention, and one teacher asks her to wake up Sadly, Caitlin doesn t know how to proceed.The climax Dreamland details how Caitlin escapes Rogerson s control, but it is not until the resolution that we see the true Caitlin emerge I like how Dessen guides Caitlin through her convalescence Her recovery would not make for a very good Hollywood ending If this were a film, we might expect the proper ending to be brief, a few scenes in which Caitlin, rising up with all of her sense of self, overthrows her violent male oppressor.Instead, Dessen suggests that the psychology of the battered woman requires a complicated narrative I ll admit that I was impressed to see all of this in a novel marketed to young adults. There Is An Alternate Cover Edition For This ISBN HereWake Up, CaitlinEver 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
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- 250 pages
- Sarah Dessen
- 01 September 2019 Sarah Dessen