Book Review

Book Review: Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 250 pages
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Release Date: September 1st, 2000
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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 Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else–her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life.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? 

BROKE ME.

First reason I picked up this book? Someone commented on one of my Instagram photos telling me about it. Second reason I picked up this book? I have the same name as the MC and have NEVERRRRR gotten to read a book with that fun fact.

And if you’re not one for reading synopsis (I’m not, I usually read it initially then by the time I get to read the book I’ve forgotten it and don’t look at it), let me say, this is not a fluffy Dessen novel. It’s the most mature and serious one I’ve ever read of hers.

Initially, I felt like this book was all about Caitlin’s sister, Cassandra, than it was about Caitlin. This changed. And it changed hard. I was practically in tears listening to this (audio book was good!) because of how much it hurt me listening to what was happening to Caitlin [trigger warning: physically abuse relationship – more details in Overall audience notes].

I felt in physical pain myself because of how Rogerson was treating Caitlin. It was unfathomable and I was upset on so many levels for her. While a very hard hitting novel, it also approached hope and recovery in the last few chapters. I anxiously listened waiting until she was broken free of her bonds to him and had a chance to grieve. The aftermath felt more realistic as well. It wasn’t this immediate, I’m happy again!, it was a process that took months and I loved that it showed that side of therapy.

It’s a very quick and short book that packs a lot in. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone and would caution to please look into the triggers before reading. The pain explored and expressed had me clutching my heart. This was good, raw, and important.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; quick mention of them sleeping together, but no details
  • Violence: see trigger warnings below
  • Trigger warnings: drug abuse, underage drug use, toxic/abusive relationship [physical] with multiple scenes of the main character being harmed, domestic abuse, underage smoking

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