Book Review: Dreamland By Sarah Dessen

If you’ve ever lived silently in the shadow of a sibling, you understand what it means to feel invisible. To feel like nothing you ever do, getting the perfect grades, dating the perfect guy or girl, joining the most esteemed clubs, will eve quite measure up to everything they do.

For Caitlin, this is what life has dealt her in the past 16 years. When her sister, Cassandra, unexpectfedly runs away from home to escape her own demons, something beings to emotionally crack within our lead character. Cassandra has always been the one to garner a majority of the attetnion, has always been the popular one, the worshipped one it seems, so why does Caitlin suddenly feel like she needs to be her sister’s replacement?

 

dreamland

Source: Amazon

In the midst of her newfound transformation into the new ‘It’ girl of her high school and family, Caitlin begins dating the ultimate bad boy, Rogerson Biscoe. This might come off as predictable in terms of the ‘good girl dating the bad boy’ YA stereotype, however Dreamland takes this idea and utterly flips it on its head.

A majority of  Sarah Dessen’s novels explore sensitive, meaningful topics such as growing up, self-confidence and acceptance, as well as passionate young love. However, as the reader dives futher and further into 2004’s Dreamlandthey might be surprised to discover that Caitlin and Rogerson’s seemingly ‘ideal’ relationship is, in fact, one that is anything but.

This is a moving novel that, I believe, includes themes that should be addressed more openly, and I hope that those who read it, in whatever way they relate to it, understand in their hearts that they’re not alone in their lonliness and unending desire to be perfect.

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Featured image via MIT

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