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Dreamland Social Club Hardcover – May 12, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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$16.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Altebrando provides exceptional depth in both the setting and the motley cast of Coney Islanders, teen and adult, living and dead....The result is a memorable tale of personal growth and acceptance that will make teens eager to join a Dreamland Social Club of their own."--Kirkus Reviews (star), Best Teen Books of 2011
 
"This is a wonderful book, a story of secrets and memory, of terrible loss and hard truths, nighttime adventures with a boy who comes this close to kissing you...   and how a girl finds her own path to belonging."--Judy Blundell, National Book Award winning author

"Altebrando makes the bizarre, sensational and sad story of Coney Island seem vital and urgent--whether you have ever been there or not. An entirely strange, wonderfully romantic, and surprisingly political tale"--E. Lockhart, author of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
 
"Altebrando conjures a boardwalk fantasia of mermaids, dwarves, bearded girls, contortionists, and beautiful tattooed boys. This charming, sea-salty book stays with you like a half-remembered dream--the kind you wish would never end."--Natalie Standiford, author of How to Say Goodbye in Robot

About the Author

Tara Altebrando is an author of books for teens and adults. She lives with her husband and young daughter in Astoria, Queens.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Children's Books (May 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525423257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525423256
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,049,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Tara Altebrando's DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB is a fascinating read from its intriguing start to its satisfying conclusion. Partly a delicately spun coming of age story, part mystery, part romance, it succeeds on multiple levels. At its core is a sympathetic young protagonist, skillfully rendered and with plenty of nuance - keeping it real. The exotic array of secondary characters is brought to vivid life with Altebrando's sure, subtle writing. No less a character is the setting itself: gritty, fantastical Coney Island, and it's given the weight it deserves. It would be hard to end this book without yearning to experience it for oneself.
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Format: Hardcover
Jane's used to moving around and never settling down in one place for too long. But when she and her older brother Marcus inherit a house - the same house their deceased mother grew up in - from the grandfather they've never met in Coney Island, Jane's intrigued by the idea of getting to know who her mother was, and more importantly, who she is without her mother.

Never really fitting in any place she's lived, Jane sets out to start a life of her own in Coney Island. A life where she tries to retrace her mother's steps in the hopes of finding her own. But she finds a whole lot more than just herself in Coney Island. In her own attic she's found Coney's past. In her basement, she's found a (practically) brand new vintage wardrobe that belonged to her long gone grandmother Birdie.. And at school she found a group of people who seem vastly different on the outside, but just like her on the inside that she calls friends. But above all these things, Jane's found Leo, a beautiful tattooed boy who will change her life forever.

Dreamland Social Club, written by author Tara Altebrando, is an unforgettable read that will transport readers back in time to Coney Island's past while closely examining the happenings and politics of today. Well developed and well written, it's a realistic book that feels a lot like fantasy. There's something magical about this book. Readers will be able to see the famed Wonder Wheel, to hear the lapping waves upon the shoreline, and even taste the piping hot knishes Jane and Leo love.

Altebrando excels at painting a beautiful portrait. Instead of just telling her audience she shows us. It's amazing how seamlessly she combines Coney Island's past and present by interweaving facts, rides, and various happenings.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of those stories that I have trouble reviewing because I didn't love it or hate it. I admittedly picked it up because the description hinted at something fresh and mystical -- a girl discovering her mother's past as a mermaid in Coney Island? Yep, that hooked me too. But the discription is misleading; it's not so much literal as it is suggestive of possibilities; the "club" itself really isn't a big part of the book, although you would think it would be. The story is very somber, and while our loner main character does find a group of friends, they all maintain a distance between each other that never made me feel like they were truly close; rather, they were more like outcasts thrown together who just wanted to get through high school. I also thought the main character wasn't believable as a 17-year-old and seemed to act and think as if she was 3 years younger. The writing didn't impress me, but it did intrigue me at parts. I considered stopping serveral times. If you have other books on your list, I'd check them out first.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking for something set in Coney Island. When I encountered the high school with second generation side show freaks I thought....this is not believable. But as I read on I found myself involved in a story that dealt deftly with the past/present dichotomy. There was lots of Coney Island history and much about the difficulty accepting change. As someone who wishes the Dodgers never left Brooklyn and that Steeplechase was still open the whole question of development was very relevant. And the characters, freaks or not, had depth that pulled me in as a reader. I didn't want it to end.
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Format: Hardcover
Before Jane and her brother Marcus were born, their parents loved to travel. Since her mother's sudden death ten years ago, Jane and Marcus have lived all over the world with their father, who uproots them almost annually due to his structural engineering jobs. Now, just in time for Jane's junior year of high school, her family moves to Coney Island, to a house which belonged to a grandfather she never met - the childhood home of a mother she barely remembers.

Jane's lived a lot of places, but none of them were like Coney Island. Her classmates at Coney Island High range from the typical (the interchangeable pretty girls, the quiet kids and the loud ones, et cetera) to the not-so-typical (the bearded girl, the contortionist). The first student who talks to her is Babette, a no-nonsense Goth girl who happens to be a dwarf. She only comes up to Jane's waist, but she's as fierce as a pack of wolves. Altebrando's writing allows readers to picture Babette immediately:

"Her ears were pierced more times than it seemed an earlobe could sustain. Her charcoal-lined eyes were a fierce turquoise, the color of an ocean near the equator. [...] The goth's tiny black T-shirt had a white silhouette of a girl's profile, with teardrops falling from her eyes. For a second Jane felt like that girl; she wanted to jump into the shadows of the shirt."

While her older brother Marcus seems to have no problem fitting in and finding friends, Jane feels more like an observer at first. While watching the way other kids interact at school and watching the old films she finds in her grandfather's home, she becomes intrigued by the culture and history of Coney Island.
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