Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Dreamland by Dessen

DreamlandDreamland by Sarah Dessen

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Description from
"trange, sleepy Rogerson, with his long brown dreads and brilliant green eyes, had seemed to Caitlin to be an open door. With him she could be anybody, not just the second-rate shadow of her older sister, Cass. But now she is drowning in the vacuum Cass left behind when she turned her back on her family's expectations by running off with a boyfriend. Caitlin wanders in a dream land of drugs and a nightmare of Rogerson's sudden fists, lost in her search for herself. Why do so many girls allow themselves to get into abusive relationships--and what keeps them there? In this riveting novel, Sarah Dessen searches for understanding and answers. Caught in a trap that is baited with love and need, Caitlin must frantically manage her every action to avoid being hit by the hands that once seemed so gentle. All around her are women who care--best friends, mother, sister, mentor--but shame keeps her from confiding in any of them, especially Cass, her brilliant older sister, whose own flight from home had seemed to point the way."

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My review:

This is a raw read, but beautifully written. It is quite a journey, but I could really feel where Caitlin, the main character, is coming from, why she made the decisions she did, and how an abusive relationship could develop.
The relationship between Caitlin and her sister Cass is well done, and it is heartbreaking to read and feel with Caitlin when her sister leaves home. She is jealous of her, the seemingly perfect sister, but she loves her and they know each other really well.
The story gets difficult when Caitlin decides to remake herself, and be what Cass was not. She joins cheerleading, which she hates, and then meets Rogerson, the mysterious hair boy. She falls in love with him, and gets past his walls. But he is abused, and then the abuse begins with Caitlin. She goes into this dreamlike state, and tries to deny what is happening to her, that it is not the real Rogerson that does these things to her, but as they happen more and more, she hides it while desperate to be found out.
It really shows how someone abused can feel trapped, and not want to leave because they love the abuser, and often the abuser has a second side, who is sweet, smart, and loveable.
Dessen's writing is beautiful, and leaves you wanting more.

I would love to hear what you think of my review or of this book!


  1. This book is fantastic! The topic at hand is one of such importance and Sarah Dessen handled it very well and realistically. It showcases the cycle of abuse and allows people who have thankfully not been in Caitlin's situation to understand why she didn't just leave or why she acted as she did and so on.

  2. I love Dessen's writing, and this book sounds incredible. Great review :)

  3. Great review, I've heard a lot about Sarah Dessen and have two of her novels to read and I can't wait to get around to them.

  4. Hmm you've made me re-think about picking this book up again. I was reading it a while back but was not interested so I stopped reading it. I may just give it another shot. Glad you liked it!

  5. I did very much enjoy it, and it handled a sensitive topic well.

  6. great review, i liked how different it is from all the other Dessen books. i enjoyed this one too :)

  7. I think that books like this are important for young women (and soon-to-be women) to read, as it may help them be more aware of how abuse starts, progresses, and escalates. Thank you for the review.

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries


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