Review: Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Filed in Review , Sarah Dessen , The YA Lover Posted on July 21, 2010 @ 6:00 am 5 comments

Format Read: Book
Number of Pages: 250
Release Date: May 11, 2004
Publisher: Puffin
Formats Available: Paperback and eBook
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, GoodreadsAmazon, BookDepository(US)BookDepository(UK)

Book Blurb:
Strange, 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 Thoughts:
This is the first ever Dessen novel I have picked up, the reason this was the first, was because a couple of my other booking buddies wanted to read it. Now, after having read it, I wish I might have started with one of the other novels I have of hers…this one left me, sadly not loving it.

Honestly this book left me flat, feeling like Caitlin was just, well kinda  brat.

In the beginning Caitlin’s sister leaves – a sister whom Caitlin always felt overshadowed her. Caitlin refers to her sister as the “perfect” one, the one her parents were always doting over. Where as Caitlin is the one that’s left to “do her own thing.” Caitlin thinks that her sister has it all, and is jealous over the attention she receives from everyone.

Then, without much notice, Caitlin’s sister leaves…

And Caitlin is left trying to sort it all out, deciding it seems to strike out on her own, start discovering herself a bit more.

Enter Rogerson, a guy she meets at a gas station and whom becomes (quickly) her “boyfriend” – though they don’t “go out on dates.” There evolving love revolves around Rogerson driving around, with Caitlin in tow, doing drug deals. Really I hated this guy from the very beginning!

Here’s Caitlin, seemingly trying to learn whom she is, only to be wrapped up into drug’s, later into sex, and then finally into being abused. She never once tells anyone, and while I can sorta understand – I went for a long time in my life never trusting anyone, I feel sorry for Caitlin, she’s got people around her that keep trying to help but she never once reaches out to anyone.

Basically she lives on egg shells, waiting to see what kind of mood Rogerson is going to be in, on any particular day!

There is one redeeming quality of Dreamland, the intensity of the relationship between both Caitlin and Rogerson, while I did not totally “get it” all of the time, meaning, why Caitlin stayed with Rogerson – I did enjoy the realistic way that Dessen developed the relationship, I hated him, but the relationship developed much like I might imagine it would.

Another thing I enjoyed was, the way even though I hated Rogerson and have no idea why Caitlin was still with him to be abused, Dessen did draw me in, allowing me to see what someone dealing with an abusive boyfriend (or girlfriend) might really be going though.

In the end, I did connect with Caitlin, though strangely it was not until the end – I also enjoyed how Dessen left the book, not as a “happy, all in the world is right” kind of place – she left it more open, with Caitlin safe, but still sorta broken.

Bottom line – I want to read Dessen again, I enjoyed her writing style but this one missed the mark with me on character development.

I give it 3 out of 5 bookies.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review. All our links to the online bookstores are affiliate links. The money earned with these accounts is spent on books for contest exclusively.

Share This Post

Subscribe and stay up-to-date

Via E-Mail:

Follow us via RSS, twitter and facebook:


Join the Discussion
  • Audrey (holes In My brain) July 21, 2010 at 7:31 am

    OUt of all the Dessen novels (ive read them all) this one was my least favourite… does that help? Please please read another one!! you won't regret it 😀

  • Book Crazy Jenn July 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    It does actually Audrey – what would you suggest I read? Which is the BEST?

  • Michelle July 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I love Dreamland a lot. It's the most serious content wise out of all of Sarah's novels. My favourite from her is still The Truth About Forever. I also adore This Lullaby and Just Listen.

  • Jenny N. July 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I havent read this one yet, but I have read The Truth about Forever and really liked that one.

  • Lu July 25, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I haven't read a Dessen novel yet, maybe I shouldn't start with this one then 🙂

Previous Post
Next Post
Luvo designed by Internet Marketing In conjunction with Template Wordpress , R4 DS , Best SUV.