Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Dreamland

Tiny Synopsis: Caitlin's sister Cass leaves home right before she should be heading off for her first year at Yale. Nobody can understand why she would drop everything to follow a guy to New York. When Cass leaves, Caitlin's parents do not cope well. Caitlin tries to fill in the void left by her high-achieving sister, but her parents barely notice. Eventually she meets Rogerson, a troubled guy from another school, and falls into an abusive relationship. The only way to cope is to hold herself in a walking dream-state. There she can distance herself from everything happening around her and to her. She can separate herself from what she's become.

As I read Dreamland this weekend I kept thinking about how solid and consistent Sarah Dessen is as a writer. Man oh man, can she write a compelling story (I have also read Lock and Key and Just Listen). In some cases the books hit on similar themes yet her work never feels rehashed to me. I've read about abuse before with her, parents and teens not communicating, even relationships among sisters-- but every time it is a unique, gripping, and original story.

I love how she writes about sisters and their relationships. She makes struggling families convincing and heartbreaking. The young couples in her books are so real, and the drama is always at the perfect level for the story-- never drama for drama's sake. Even though her books are not comedies, there are always a few funny moments. Dessen writes beautifully. The way Caitlin struggles is at once horrid to watch and so real, so well done. The language she uses to describe her dream state is incredibly touching.

I highly recommend this book. Actually, pick up anything by Sarah Dessen. You won't be disappointed.


  1. I know, I know, I *have* to read Sarah Dessen, I'm getting to it! This book sounds like it was made for lyrical writing and I dig me some interesting family dynamics. Thanks, KO.
    - Sophia.

  2. This book is waiting for me on my bookshelf--it'll actually be the first Sarah Dessen book I've ever read. Great review! :)

  3. Sigh. My summer reading list is already too long for summer. What to do?

  4. Sophia- everything I've read of hers I've enjoyed.

    Pam- definitely check it out. We can talk about it in June!!!

    Carolyn, I have the same problem. The only logical solution is to EXTEND summer!

  5. I'm feeling slightly better about not being the only person who HASN'T read Sarah Dessen.

  6. I'v'e never read Sarah Dessen but that's about to change. Thank you for broadening my horizons!

  7. I adore Sarah Dessen, and DREAMLAND is one of my favorites (the other is THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER). Her books always seem so layered and complete, and she writes some fabulous love interests--well, except for Rogerson... yikes! This is a great review and I completely concure. :)

  8. Forgot to add: I'm loving the new look of your blog! Your header is beautiful!

  9. Thanks for the recommendation! I haven't read any of Sarah Dessen's work, but I'll add this to my TBR list now :)

  10. Alicia- you are not alone, but you really should check her out.

    Kittie- she is so consistently good.

    Thank you Katy- I've been trying desperately to make it look more professional (without, you know, any graphic skills). I was trying to make that look like a bug collection.

    Do Trisha- she's fantastic.


YAY for comments! Thanks for adding to the conversation.