Review - Dreamland - Sarah Dessen

Dreamland Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: September 1 2000, Speak
Pages: Paperback, 250
Source: Library book
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 Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life.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?

I've heard amazing views on Sarah Dessen's books. My one friend loves reading them and highly recommends them. When I saw two of her books sitting upon a shelf in the YA section of the library, I took them out without first reading the blurb, which wasn't the brightest thing I could've done. Dreamland was a book that I was expected to be a light-hearted read, instead the book had a hovering, dark feeling. There were drugs, alcohol, smoking, an abusive relationship and a rehabilitation center involved. Perhaps if I had read the blurb first I would've been more prepared, but as the book continued I discovered that it wasn't the fluffy contemporary that I thought I would be reading. I honestly didn't enjoy it that much, and it was disappointing to me, as it was the first time reading a book by Sarah. I will definitely read her other books as I've heard that Dreamland wasn't the best she's written.

The thing that irked me with Dreamland, is that the main character, Caitlin, had no backbone. She just let things happen to her, bad things, that she could have said no to, but she didn't. She let herself be hit around, she started chain-smoking, she started smoking pot, endless drugs, her life was going in a downward spiral. She could've prevented it and climbed back to the top, it was all in her power to tell someone and get help, but alas she didn't. I was so completely furious with her, she was stuck in a rut that she could easily climb out of.

Hit after hit she took from her abusive boyfriend, broke her down physically and mentally. But what did she do? She didn't fight back, she didn't tell anyone. If I ever have a boyfriend one day, that physically abuses me. I would slap him back, set my dog on him, and get him in jail. I would not take that from a guy. Another thing that irritated me, is that she was completely blindly in love. She would take blows from a guy, and say she still loves him. She would have sex with him, and even though she said it didn't feel right she didn't break up with him anyway. Every second she feared, every second she was thinking about Rogerson, making sure she was on time, making sure she did what he said. When he offered her drugs, she thought to herself, I should say no, not cave into peer pressure. I'm positive she was about to say no, but then he says trust me, and then SHE SMOKES POT. Its her first proper date with him, and when he says trust me, the idiot, TRUSTS him. How can you trust someone you've only met twice, and someone who has a bad reputation? That's right, no normal person should do that! Oh yes, and on the first night she met him, he offered to drive her home. Firstly, stranger danger. Its a teenage boy, he may seem harmless, but how did she know he wasn't some sick pervert? And then, while his driving her home, they start making out and he un-fastens her bra. Perv alert!

Caitlin was a completely naïve, sixteen year old, who, because she wanted to create her own path in life and not follow in the steps of her sister, starts taking drugs and suffering abuse from her boyfriend. She didn't think about herself at all, at how the events that she were causing would effect her in the long run. I know I was supposed to feel sympathy for Caitlin, but I couldn't. I didn't feel sorry for her AT ALL. It was her own stupid fault she was going through this. In fact, I still can't believe she went through all that for a guy. She frustrates me, I'm not going to continue ranting, because if I do this review will honestly never end. So, moving on.

Rogerson is a completely BUTTHEAD, IDIOT, PERVERT, MEANIE, and every other adjective that describes a complete and utter self-centred JERK! I understand that he gets hit by his father, but then he should understand the pain that is inflicted upon a person when they are being hit and beaten up. But nooo, he goes and beats other people up too, and not someone his own age, size or gender, but a girl. His girlfriend to be exact. That is smaller than him and weaker. If Sarah Dessen wanted us to feel sorry for him, it did NOT work for me. I still completely and utterly hate his character. He should tell people what happens at home and get help. He needs it. Oh yes, he's also a drug dealer. I'm still not understanding how Caitlin fell for him. And no, Rogerson, despite what you say, I'm pretty sure its NOT the hair.

That relationship was totally messed up as well. Rogerson was this boy who was serving community service because he had done a wrong deed and that's where their relationship really started. Caitlin went on drug rounds with him on their first date as well as ending up smoking pot. And then she saw him be abused by his father and then he started beating her. Their whole relationship ended up being built on lies and feigning trust. It was very wrong.

I also found I got quite bored of the book. The beginning to me was more intriguing then the rest of the book. When the drugs was introduced, it completely turned me off the book and I was about to mark it as a DNF. It got quite monotonous.

I also didn't feel like I knew Cass very well, she was one of the focal points in the story, but I don't feel like I know her. I don't have an accurate description of her and I barely know her, I do wish we got to knew her first before she ran away.

I did love one of the supporting characters, Boo. She was sweet, gentle and unique and whenever she came into the story I loved reading about her. She was probably the only thing I liked about this book. However, I did like Sarah's writing, if I didn't dislike the main characters and plot so much, it would easily be a book I fall in love with. Her writing is addictive, like a chocolate cupcake that you can't stop eating. And I was reading the book in a frenzy until the whole situation with Rogerson was introduced.

I think Sarah Dessen approached the topic with gentleness and care, but too me it hung heavy and dark in the air, and I didn't like that. The characters infuriated me, as well as their actions. The plot was quite monotonous as I have previously mentioned, and had me sometimes skipping pages, which I rarely ever do. Dreamland was a disappointment to me, as I was expecting something different. I will be reading the author's other books, as I've heard great things about them, and I did enjoy Sarah's writing until the big event with Rogerson. If you enjoy reading books that addresses heavy issues, I'm sure you'll love this. Have any of you guys read this, and what did you think?

I give it: 2/5 CUPCAKES!