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Dreamland Paperback – May 11, 2004
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
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One thing that struck me the most about this novel is the feeling of not being able to decide WHO you ARE. All of us have been teenagers at some point in our life and I bet many of us questioned who we were, what we were going to do with our lives, and all that kind of stuff. All of this is a struggle, especially considering the age we are at when we are trying to decide our future. This in itself, is a major theme in the novel, one that great affects many teenagers today. I think the author did a wonderful job at portraying a teenage girl as such because it holds so much truth.
With that, this is the story of a girl who doesn’t know what she wants or who she wants to be. In her confusion about life and family she meets a boy named Rogerson. They quickly get caught up in one another, fall in love, and everything else fades away. But when Rogerson- the boy from the wrong side of the tracks- begins to physically hurt Caitlin, things begin to spiral out of control. What was once a life filled with confusion on how to grow up into the person she wanted to be turns into a painful game of just trying to keep the anger of Rogerson so he won’t hurt her.
Readers beware, this is not a lovey dovey book with sunshine and roses that will make teenage love seem magical. This is a story about a confused girl and the abusive relationship she finds herself in. Readers will most likely cringe at the physical descriptions of this abuse, but the topic is so important that it won’t matter all the much. This is a story that will affect you and make you think twice.
Caitlin has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Cass. So when Cass leaves one night without warning, Caitlin feels like it is her responsibility to step up and fill in that "perfect child" role. At the same time, she doesn't want to be Cass. She doesn't want to have to be perfect. She's confused and doesn't know which way to go. Her confusion ends up leading her down the wrong road, sending her life spiraling down a hole she never thought she'd end up in.
In the attempt to step out of her sister's shadow, she falls into Rogerson's. The relationship between these two is heartbreaking, horrific, and realistic. Caitlin's confusion over how she feels about Rogerson is what makes it all worse because I can understand her thinking. Reading about her struggles made my heart ache for her. He met her when she was already down and only brought her lower.
I think the reasons I didn't find myself completely loving this book are because of that initial disconnect between me and Caitlin, as well as how blind those closest to Caitlin were. Out of everyone that knew and loved her, not one took enough notice of her downward spiral. I understand why it was done that way, but I still wish one of them had shown something more.
Dreamland is a quick read, but a powerful one. It shows that sometimes the weak are actually the strongest and that what we see on the outside my only be an illusion.