Published by Penguin on Sept. 1, 2000
Wake up, Caitlin
Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
For the Summer of Sarah Dessen I’m posting reviews of all her books that I haven’t reviewed yet. This week’s book is Dreamland. You can see when each book is featured in this graphic from Penguin Teen:
It’s been said that Sarah’s newest book Saint Anything is her “darkest” book to date. I disagree. I think Dreamland holds that title. It deals with an abusive relationship. Now, all of Sarah’s books have serious issues that her characters have to deal with. However, Dreamland delves deeper into the issue at hand. While it’s one of the shorter Sarah Dessen books, it’s one of the most intense.
What I really appreciate about Dreamland is the way it shows the progression of Caitlin and Rogerson’s relationship. Things start out great. Being with Rogerson helps Caitlin deal with everything else in her life. It doesn’t go horribly wrong all at once. It’s easy for Caitlin to make excuses for Rogerson and forgive him. Once she finally gets help, everything isn’t great all at once. Caitlin still has things to work through. I think it’s really important for teens (and adults!) to see this.
In Dreamland, Sarah Dessen does an excellent job writing about a sensitive issue without the book reading like an after school special. The story is interesting and the characters are excellent. This book just reaffirms my belief that Sarah Dessen is the queen of contemporary fiction!