Review + Excerpt: Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

by 12:14 PM 4 comments

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...

Overall Thoughts:
I've read a few of Sarah Dessen's other books, and they've never really touched me like Dreamland did.

Dreamland is about 16 year old Caitlin O'Koren. She has a pretty normal family which consists of: Jack O'Koren (Caitlin's serious, yet lovable father); Margaret (Caitlin's upbeat mother); and Cass O'Koren (Caitlin's "perfect" older sister). For most of Caitlin's life, she's paled in comparison to her sister. She was the popular, smart, loud, social butterfly that Caitlin could never compete with. Until one day she runs away, crushing the whole family. Her mother was the most affected one. She'd always been Cass's cheerleader, and her leaving was like a slap in the face and she just shut down. Caitlin and Cass were close since birth, and now Caitlin feels like she has no one to talk to. Her father never puts his emotions on display, but this hits him just as hard.

Then, Caitlin runs into bad boy Rogerson Biscoe. He drives a black BMW, smokes & sells pot, and has been in and out of trouble with the law. And for some reason, Caitlin falls in love with him. Though they seem like an unlikely match, they worked good together... in the beginning. Then, Rogerson starts to viciously beat Caitlin. But she still loves him...

What I liked about this book:
I didn't have really high expectations for this book, only because I usually find Dessen's books to be average at best. But Dreamland has changed that. It sucked me in at the very beginning and I read it all in one sitting. The writing was very simple, but the story was anything but that.

What I disliked about this book:
I was often annoyed at the characters. There were times in this book when I wanted to slap Caitlin across the face and wake her the freak up! I couldn't for the life of me understand why Caitlin did some of the things she did, and that frustrated me to no end. Then, I wanted to backhand the parents for being so oblivious. When Cass ran away, it's like they forgot they had another daughter! And Rogerson... don't even get me started on that fool.

This was a very emotional book that pulled me in and didn't let me go until the very last page.



In the picture I'm on his lap as he sits at the table, my head against his chest. He has one arm around my waist, and just as Corinna hit the shutter he'd tickled me, making me burst out laughing, and he had, too. It is one of those great moments, the kind you can't plan. Sometimes the light or the expression is just perfect, and you're lucky enough to catch it, usually accidentally. 

I spent a lot of time looking at that picture. Wondering what I'd think of that girl, if I was someone else, seeing how easily she sits in her boyfriend's lap, laughing, with his arms around her. I would have thought her life was perfect, the way I once thought Cass's was. It was too easy, I was learning, to just assume things.

Page: 185

Carmen Shaw


Carmen N. Shaw is currently a biology major at Georgia State University. She is the owner and developer of the book blog, Understanding Carmen's Story.


  1. One of my favorite Sarah Dessen books.

    Great review.

    Dreaming In The Pages

  2. This has such an interesting premise. I can't believe I haven't heard of this book of hers before! Adding it to my TBR list ASAP!

  3. I've never read a Sarah Dessen book although I own a couple, I'm hoping to get to them eventually, great review, new follower

  4. I absolutely love Sarah Dessen and her books, and Dreamland is one of my favorites! I agree with you that sometimes, Caitlin's actions were annoying, but I can totally understand why she did what she did (or more like what she DIDN'T do). This book was one of the first of Sarah Dessen that I read, and I have been rereading her books ever since!


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