Thursday, March 28, 2013


by Sarah Dessen
Published:  SPEAK, 2004
Pages: 250

When Caitlin's sister runs away, her entire life begins to change.  She takes up cheerleading and starts seeing a mysterious boy by the name of Rogerson.  Caitlin quickly falls into a new routine, spending more and more time with her new boyfriend.  What happens when being with Rogerson becomes a bigger problem than being without him?

As someone that doesn't read the backs of books, the topic covered in this story surprised me.  When a book covers a topic like abuse, rape or eating disorders, to name a few, I feel like there should be a trigger warning attached to it.  I'm not saying that people should never write about these topics, because they should! I just didn't expect this story to be so heavy.  (It's kind of my own fault for not reading the summary.)

Aside from the startling topic, Sarah Dessen works wonders with her characters, developing a situation that feels so real, and in many lives is real. Though, some of the characters were frustrating.  I just wanted to yell at them to pay attention to Caitlin, to read the signs.  In this way these characters feel real.  People are often too caught up in their own lives to see what's going on around them.  I think Dessen captured this exceptionally well in her characters.

This book not only provides a story worth reading, but also gives the reader an opportunity to think.  I thought a lot about this story and abuse.  After discussing it with a friend, I realize that this books paints a great (for the lack of a better word) picture of how hidden a bad relationship can be.  If you don't already know the signs, it's hard to register them as unusual.  There's a partial eye-opening experience and the reader becomes privy to thoughts that might occur during this kind of relationship.  Sarah Dessen gives everyone an opportunity to talk about real dangerous situations.

Stars: 3/5


"Deamland is the secret story of many contemporary teen relationships. Compelling reading."
     --SLJ, starred review

"An affecting and believable portrait of a teenage girl drifting into a kind of dreamland.  You can't help being pulled in by Caitlin's story."
     --The Horn Book

"It's not only the plot that's vivid; the characters are also intensely real. Another pitch-perfect offering from Dessen." 
     --Booklist, starred review

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