Dreamland by Sarah Dessen is its own kind of powerful. It centers around an abusive relationship, a drug addiction, and a runaway sibling. As you can see, this book isn’t something to be taken lightly, nor is it something you can just read in one sitting (even though it’s really short). You’ll leave Dreamland in a sort of daze, reconsidering your feelings on love and human nature.
What I love most about Dreamland is the main character, Caitlin. Caitlin is not a hero. She’s not an outspoken yet genius, weapon wielding, take-no-prisoners type of girl. She’s quiet, shy, obedient, normal teenager. She doesn’t have a moment where she jumps into the spotlight and saves the world/prince(ss)/kingdom/family/etc. She’s not your average YA character. In being completely and utterly average in everything, Caitlin defies her genre’s stereotypes, and becomes a unique and shockingly realistic main character.
Dreamland is a very character driven story. It begins at one of the most classic places a coming-of-age story can, Caitlin’s 16th birthday. Also known as the day her outspoken, Yale-bound older sister, Cass, runs away to New York to live with her boyfriend. Caitlin’s entire world is immediately, completely thrown out of balance. Her mother spirals into depression, while her father barely notices her. And her sister? Well, she’s gone. While she’s struggling with her feelings, she meets perfect-boyfriend-material Rogerson Biscoe. He’s funny, genius, knows her McDonald’s order by heart, and has really cool friends. He’s perfect. But when she discovers something about Rogerson she doesn’t necessarily want to know, she’ll have to decide; what is the price of her love?
I would absolutely recommend Dreamland to anyone who wants a great read, that will leave them thinking about it after the book is over.