Monday, July 16, 2012

Dreamland / Sarah Dessen

Title: Dreamland (see above images for different bk covers available--the one I read was the first one)
Author: Sarah Dessen
Owned by CCLS? Yes

On Caitlin's sixteenth birthday she wakes up to find her older (and only) sister Cassi gone; and so begins a tumultuous year. Caitlin attempts to find her own way in the world--traveling a different road than her sister may have taken, perhaps one less perfect. However, when Caitlin makes the cheerleading squad, she wonders how different a path she has actually chosen. It is after a cheerleading event that Caitlin meets Rogerson Biscoe, a handsome boy with wild hair, money, and a car. Caitlin and Rogerson quickly becomes a couple and although Caitlin falls hard for him, the reader quickly realizes that their relationship is far from perfect when Rogerson hits Caitlin, first once and then regularly. Caitlin loves Rogerson so much that she does not tell anyone about the abuse. Will Caitlin come to her senses and break things off with her abusive boyfriend or will someone else have to intervene on her behalf before it is to late?

M's Verdict... 
Popular YA author Sarah Dessen always weaves a great three-dimensional tale that keeps readers hooked. I loved This Lullaby and was planning on reading What Happened to Goodbye, but they were all checked out. So I chose Dreamland. It's a great read on a story that's not often told. What happens when you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship? There seem to be enough headlines and Lifetime movies about husbands or jealous boyfriends who kill their wives or girlfriends, so it seems appropriate to use this storyline in a fiction novel for a teen audiences. Having said this, I do wish that this story had wrapped up a little differently. [Without spoiling the ending] I don't wish that the ending was more Disney-esque, but I would have been more impressed with an ending kind of like in By the Time You Read This I'll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters; where there were additional resources at the end of the book that provided the reader with information and help regarding the tough subject of the book (in the case of Julie Anne Peters's book: teen suicide/bullycide). Dessen's book was the perfect medium for discussing abusive teen relationships, but past finding some solace in the fictional story, it would have been nice to provide readers with some additional resources. Overall...good dramatic story with realistic issues that provide the opportunity for great educational discussions that could help bring about awareness regarding abusive relationships.

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