Rogerson Biscoe, with his green eyes and dark curly hair, is absolutely seductive. Before long, sixteen-year-old Caitlin finds herself under his spell. And when he starts to abuse her, she finds she's in too deep to get herself out...
Dreamland is by no means a fast-pace, can't put down book but it's well written and pulls you in. This is primarily due to Dessen's ability to tap into true to life events. At no time did I feel like I was reading a book but, rather, watching a life slowly unravel. Caitlin has wanted to have some kind of attention her entire life and, instead, all eyes were always on her sister Cass. But when Cass suddenly leaves and Caitlin's on her own, Caitlin doesn't know how to navigate the landscape. In fact, the irony is that at a time when Caitlin could finally be out front in center at school, in front of her parents, and even on her new cheerleading team, she slinks even further back into the shadows.
Unfortunately this is all too easy to do since there's a continued preoccupation to bring back Cass who has runaway. Caitlin forgoes any and all opportunity to demand attention. In her eyes, Cass' disappearance takes away the person with whom she's always felt tethered and now Caitlin feels more alone than ever. She, like the rest of the family, allows herself to be numbed by this. Caitlin's mother offers opportunities for attention and yet the only attention Caitlin ever pursues is with her new boyfriend Rogerson--an intelligent, lost soul with a dark streak.
I applaud Dessen for tackling such a serious topic. I could relate to Caitlin wanting to both stand out and be noticed by those important to her but also her desire to blend in. I think boyfriends and even friends can often start to reshape a person's life sometimes with--and without--their consent. Caitlin doesn't realize so much that it's happening until she's already in love and already compromising so much of herself. I had not yet read a YA book about intimate partner violence but this is a topic that's incredibly important. I fear if this was released today, at a time of almost overcrowding in the YA market, that it would not have stood out which would have been a shame because this is definitely worth reading.
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