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Dreamland Paperback – May 11, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 16 years
  • Grade Level: 6 - 11
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; 9th Edition edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142401757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142401750
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Dessen has here created a subtle and compelling work of literature that goes far beyond the teen problem novel in a story rich with symbolism, dark scenes of paralyzing dread, quirky and memorable characters, and gleams of humor. With the consummate skill and psychological depth that brought her praise for Keeping the Moon, she explores the search for self-identity, the warmth of feminine friendships, and the destructive ways our society sets up young women for love gone wrong. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Caitlin's perfect sister runs away from home and she finds herself trying to fill the gap the absence creates. "The characterizations have an unmistakable depth," said PW. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I've been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I'd sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think it's just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it's hard not to do it all the time."The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn't tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it's the best thing to which any writer can aspire. "As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden---although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive----and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that's a good thing. It's always more fun to make stuff up anyway."

Customer Reviews

I was so into the book, the story and the characters.
Kali
I Think people should read this book so they can know that things like this can really happen and if you don't stop it before it starts it can really be dangerous.
Matthew Thomas a.k.a Stealth Rider
Caitlin has always felt like she was in her "perfect" older sister's shadows until her sister runs away.
MG

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By QUEEN_OF_EVERYTHING on June 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Caitlin O'Koren already must deal with the fact that her sister, Cass, who is supposed to be at Yale soon, has run away. And, for all she and her parents know, Cass may never return. To Caitlin's shock, she is a staff member on the Lamont Whipper show, a fictional Jerry Springer type talk show.
Enter Rogerson Biscoe, a dreadlocked hunk who takes Caitlin's mind off of her family's ordeal. He is able to perfectly fill the void Cass left behind. His lifestyle of smoking and partying is wild, something new and exciting to Caitlin. That's why when he pulls her into his world, she doesn't hesitate to come along for the ride. As she gets deeper and deeper into the relationship, she comes to understand Rogerson is bruised and badly broken, both in the literal and figurative sense. He has a father who hits him and to heal his own pain, he begins taking his anger out on Caitlin.
Soon, Caitlin changes, switching gears altogether. She used to be a B student, a cheerleader, and a loyal best friend to Rina, who is fiercely loyal in return. Now, she incessantly blows Rina off when she tries to make plans, she's quit cheerleading, she's become withdrawn, she's smoking weed, taking Rogerson's beatings, and plummeting further and further into the abyss. Those who try to reach out, friends, family, and worried peers, have no success. It's as if there is a wall between Caitlin and the rest of the world. Really, there is. That wall is her dreamland.
Dessen's best novel to date is realistic and totally believable. When people question why victims choose not to escape their relationship abuse, they don't always understand things can't be so easy. Dessen also demonstrates the driving forces in one's life that can cause a person to lose their grip on reality, as well as their sense of security. DREAMLAND is more than a mere YA novel. It's about a horrid thing that actually happens to thousands of teenage girls today.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By K. A. Mills on September 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Dessen's "Dreamland" is probably one of the most accurate portrayals of dating violence that I've read in fiction. People often wonder why victims don't leave their abusers, and how they could continue to love the person who hurts them. Dessen vividly portrays how Caitlin understands that what Rodgerson is doing is wrong, but she is afraid to leave. Her self-esteem is so fragile that she assumes everyone will blame her for getting into such a dangerous situation.

One of the strengths of this book is Dessen's shaping of Rodgerson. We find that he has led an affluent life and has a brilliant mind, but he has been a victim of his father's abuse. Dessen makes him human and allows us to have sympathy for him before he begins abusing Caitlin. Unfortunately, once he turns on Caitlin, Rodgerson's voice in the story becomes almost absent. He has very little dialogue, and we hear about most of his and Caitlin's interactions (positive and negative) only through Caitlin's recollections. I would have loved to have seen more dialogue from Rodgerson throughout the book.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book for young adults and even adults. I'm 37 and found I couldn't put this book down.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Hank Wyborney on January 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Several weeks ago I stayed up most of the night to finish reading this haunting story. I've read some good books since then, but Dreamland has stayed with me. It's a strangely gripping mixture of the poetic and the realistic. I couldn't help but believe this is how life is for many teens. For one thing, the author caught the intelligence and frivolity of being a teen so vividly. One moment the narrator is making a breathtaking observation about life, and the next she's ignoring danger signs practically screaming at her. The story somehow maintains a feeling of hope even as it deals with drugs and self-destructive choices. And yes, this did remind me a bit of last year's TV show FREAKS & GEEKS, since the main character is a girl who changes her choice of friends and style of life. However, Freaks and Geeks (pretty good show that is was) didn't pack near the punch of this book. I rank this book five stars because it's an good book and it's one that stays with you. It will probably stay in your mind long after you're finished reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leslie on December 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book Dreamland by Sarah Desson is an excellent story about a young girl's life and the decisions she is faced with. It all starts on Catlin's 16th birthday, when she wakes up to find a unexpected note on the kitchen counter, that her older sister, Cassandra, has ran away to with her new boyfriend, Adam. Catlin's parents, who were very invovled in Cassandra's life, are devastated by this mishap. Catlin is now going insane, she doesn't even feel like a part of the family anymore. Her friends convince her to join the cheerleading squad, which wasn't easy for her. Next, she finds herself with a new boyfriend, totally opposite from her friends. He is out of school, a big partier and worst of all, a drug dealer. This however does not stop Catlin. Soon, she starts to drift way from her friends and is with him everyday. Her parents start noticing bruises all over Catlin and black eyes appearing out of nowhere. This is one book, you will not be able to put down, it keeps you wanting to know more and more "Is Cassandra going to call home?" or " Is Catlin's boyfriend really the sweet guy she thinks he is?" I would recommend this book to anyone. Especially teenagers, these are real life situations that can happen to an everyday teen.
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