Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Dreamland - Sarah Dessen

Okay. Let's admit it. I am in love with Sarah Dessen's books.

They are just...SO good. Unfortunatly, leaving in the UK means I have to wait until a couple of months later until I can get my hands on her books to read after the initial publishing. And have to live with reading reviews about how much people loved her newest books - when I'm still checking on Waterstone's when on earth it will come out and can I pre-order it.
I have read all published book by Sarah Dessen, apart from the one that isn't been realised in the UK (and I think it's to do with the issues in it *stupid banned books place*) which is Dreamland. This one.
So, how did you get it? I hear you cry. Well, when I was in Florida in October, I was wandering around Florida Mall (which is HUGE) trying to find my mother when I see Borders. And wander in there. Even though I KNOW my mother is not going to be in there. And see this book. Reduced from I think it was $10 to $7. I had to buy it.
So I did and am now the proud and happy owner of Sarah Dessen's whole series of books....right now onto the review...

Catlin's life is falling apart around her. Her goody-two-shoes perfect sister has run away with a boy her parent's disapprove of, her mother buying porceliain creepy themed dolls that seem to turning up everywhere while her father watches sports and turns the dolls around to face the wall.
Until she meets Rogerson Biscoe, a mysterious boy with a bit of a history. From then on, she seems to be in a dreamland, trying to handle everything: not seeing her best friend, Rina; cheerleading which she hates; her parents so involved with her missing sister and then, Rogerson. It's then, she enters a world of cigerettes, constant drugs, lies and of course the fists, the punches and the bruises - all from the one she supposedly loves.

A lot of people have said 'Oh Sarah Dessen is boring - she always writes novels on the same thing, someone who has problems falls in love, they can't be together, oh now they can - HAPPY ENDING'. Which annoys me so much because a) yes, they are the same structure for every book but it's the way she writes them and the different problems her heroines face that make them so imagintive and different and b) have you read this one? Or That Summer? They are both so unlike the apparent 'boring structure'.

Dreamland is so different to anything I've ever read before. Sure, I've read a handful of books that have abusive issues in them but nothing quite like this one. Sarah Dessen seems to have caught what it is like to be a sixteen year-old and to have a boyfriend and that excitement you have at that age. She also, showed the sudden change in Catlin so well and when there was the first hit (I'm trying not to say who it is for those who want to read it - you might guess), it just comes so out of the blue that I was shocked as much as Catlin was. You feel what she feels, you sympathise with her so much.
Rina and Corianna (her friends) are both some of my favourite characters. Including Boo (neighbour) as well. What I love about Sarah Dessen is all her characters, minor or major, are so different and original from one another especially these three. Rina just made me laugh and I could so imagine her being a real person - especially at the end. Corianna and Boo - I just want them alive so I can be their friend too. They are both such lovely people, more Boo than Corianna. And great names too.
My only critism is that I just couldn't imagine Rogerson. You got snippets of description of him but you never got that kind of real real, imagery than the others. I don't know - it may be done for a reason or it's just me. The mother also annoyed me a couple of times. She was just so....organised and...pushy. I don't know - I just had an annoyance for her - it may be the dolls?

Overall, I enjoyed this book so much and I was caught from the first word. It's not one of Sarah Dessen's best ones of all time but it's enjoyable and written so well with some lovely characters.
It's also sad. WARNING: You need your tissues and you will feel slightly depressed afterwards.
So I'm going on to a funny, bright happy book from my childhood...

I give Dreamland a 4 out of 5

Author's Website:


  1. I am not familiar with this book. This is the fisr time I see the cover. :D
    I enjoy the book which can make me cry. I think I need to read the excerpt of this book.
    The summary is not enough for me to catch what the book is all about

  2. Hi, I have a couple of Dessen books on my shelf but have not read her yet. I'm glad you liked this one and if you think about it, most authors DO write the same kinds of things over and over. Go with what you know works! It's like your favorite band's CDs all sounding similar. I like it because I like knowing what to expect. I'll have to give this one a try. Thanks for the review!

  3. Kelli: Yes exactly!
    Because, to me, yeah same plot and outcome and whatever but well, they're all different!

    You should read her - she's great and once you read her once, you will get addicted.

    Aleetha: Sorry, I was trying not to give too much away. Here is the link from Goodreads which might help you. Or you could search it on Google?

    Thank you both for commenting :)

  4. I love this book so so much! I was reading it in class and I started to cry. Talk about embarrassing! Everyone was like "what the heck Erin?" and I just whimper "sorry, it's a sad book okay? Don't judge."
    By: Erin

  5. It is a beautiful book and really quite different from the Sarah Dessen we know. I don't blame you for crying! I know I thought it sad too.
    Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  6. This book shows how anyone with stay will someone else, just because they feel needed. I liked this book because it also showed the way of a teenage girl trying to carve out her OWN path. It is not made by her older sister or her mother anymore. It is a great story that shows how one change or move in a life can change someone else life.

  7. Must. Read. This.

    I do understand when people say Dessen books get boring, but then I completely understand what you're saying-- they have that THING... The IT. I don't know what it is; the realness of all the characters, the beautiful writing style, they're just amazing.

    Pity it's not one of her best, but I still 100% need to read this! Thanks for the review, Rebecca.(:


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