Monday, December 13, 2010


A friend from my online book club recommended Dreamland by Sarah Dessen to me AND sent me her copy.  I had asked for some recommendations for books about teen dating violence, and this was one.

From Goodreads:

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

My Thoughts:  I really liked this book.  Susie, the person who recommended it, told me it didn't take her long to get through it.  The same happened to me.  I couldn't put the book down. 

Having worked with women who have been in abusive relationships, I have some firsthand knowledge of how those relationships affect them and how those perpetrators can really get under their skin.  I found Dessen's telling of Caitlin's story to be very realistic.  The writing conveyed Caitlin's feelings, confusion, and struggles.  I saw some of the standard red flags that can be found in abusive relationships.

I think Dreamland should be read by all young women.  There are so many girls out there who fall prey to guys like Rogerson and don't know what to do.  It's nice to read a book about a delicate subject and find that it's realistic, accurate, and attention grabbing.  I've already recommended it to others.

Rating: 4/5

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