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Dreamland Paperback – May 11, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 384 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-Cass, activist, athlete, and academic success, runs away to work on a TV talk show with her boyfriend. Sixteen-year-old Caitlin, always overshadowed by her older sister, feels ever more invisible as her parents single-mindedly seek to locate and bring Cass home. Caitlin's best friend convinces her to try out for cheerleading. She makes the squad and discovers that her mother begins to live vicariously through her activities, just as she had done with Cass. Then, Caitlin meets Rogerson Biscoe and falls in love with him. He's not like the jocks at Caitlin's public high school; he's rich, attractive, enigmatic, and wild. She smokes dope supplied by Rogerson, a small-time dealer, and their physical relationship is consummated. Anger drives him, and he controls Caitlin with fear and pain. Shocked and physically hurt, she lies to her parents. Rogerson's beatings escalate, and Caitlin is shattered psychologically as well as physically. Powerfully written and not soon forgotten, Dreamland is the secret story of many contemporary teen relationships. Caitlin's dependency on Rogerson is a realistic and finely drawn portrait of a young woman without a strong sense of self-esteem. Characters are well developed; even Cass comes through as a complete person. The high-school milieu is accurately depicted as is a family's reaction to an unpredictable crisis. Compelling reading with contemporary teen appeal.
Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

Review

"It's not only the plot that's vivid; the characters are also intensely real. Another pitch-perfect offering from Dessen." (Booklist, starred review)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; 9th Edition edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142401757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142401750
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (384 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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