Buy the book Buy the ebook Many young women may not only want to read this story but need to read it as a way to discuss an often overlooked aspect of teenage dating life. It had a lot of the elements of the other books, but something kept pulling it deeper, to a place that for me, as a writer, was really challenging. I have quite a few of those, gathering dust in my office. But then, on Christmas Day of , I was reading a book and the word dreamland, used in a simple sentence, jumped out at me. I just had this image of a mother standing in a bedroom door, in silhouette, saying something about seeing you in dreamland, and the story started to fall together. I picked the parts about Caitlin and Rogerson from the other book and shaped a story around them, adding in Cass and her story, as well as the other subplots of the book.
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Shelves: tearjerkers , standalone-favorites , standalones , library-finds , cover-lust , , favs Wake up, Caitlin, Mr Lensing had said. I understood those mermaids. All I wanted was to block out all the human voices as they called my name again and again, pulling me upward into light, to drown. But I was wrong - how utterly wrong I was. Dreamland broke my heart completely and left me gasping, unable to form coherent thoughts when I first finished it.
When I turned the last page, I sat on my bed for a moment, dazed. This gritty, emotional tale follows Caitlin, an eternally-second-best, straight-B girl living in the shadow of her absolutely perfect older sister, Cass.
But when Cass runs away, their whole family is distraught. Caitlin is sidelined or never given much thought to in the face of their great loss. Then she meets Rogerson. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a bigger problem than being without him? It is smooth, compelling, almost lyrical. Before long you are swept up in it, bound towards the inevitable end, and by the time you see the ending coming it is too late.
I felt like this reading experience truly wrecked me. Characters really come alive off the page as you read, and every scene felt painfully real. Caitlin broke my heart. I watched her carry the weight of the world on her shoulders, watched her life begin a downward spiral, and I wept for her. From the heady rush of first love, Caitlin was brutally transported into literal hell. After the first time Rogerson hit her, he only continued to do it repeatedly as the story went on.
Her whole life became ruined by fear, as she danced with caution around her boyfriend, always trying to keep him in the best mood she could. Nobody around her saw what was really happening to her, and Caitlin retreated further and further from reality, choosing instead to float through life in a kind of dream.
Her gradual decline tugged at heartstrings and brought out all the emotions in me. I could have just gotten out of the car and walked up to my house, leaving him behind forever. Things would have been very different if I had done that. But the fact was that I loved Rogerson. Sometimes we fall into the easy habit of victim-blaming. And so I understood Caitlin, how she struggled with herself for so long.
Yet she was brave, and resilient in her own way. I was drawn to Caitlin all throughout the book. And I hated Rogerson. Like any sane person would. I will admit that I loved him at first, but after that first slap all I wanted to do for the rest of the book was gut him.
Or kick him. Do whatever he was doing to Caitlin back unto him. There are no words to describe how much I loved this book, or how much it affected me. I myself felt like I was dreaming as I was reading - everything seemed so surreal and impossible. It was as if I was dreaming with Caitlin and then rudely awakened with her, as well. I was worn out, broken: He had taken almost everything. And when the police led him away, I pulled out of the hands of all these loved ones, sobbing, screaming, everything hurting, to try and make him stay.
The only thing I was a little disappointed with was the little amount of closure we got. After most of the book was so brilliantly written, the ending seemed rushed, which was a letdown so I deducted a star. I would have loved to know more about Caitlin taking the first steps to heal herself both mentally and emotionally, and how she rebuilt her relationships with the people closest to her, instead of a few lines scribbled in the last few chapters. But otherwise, this book far exceeded my expectations.
It was a wonderful read I never saw coming. But you did. And accepting that love - and everything that followed it - is part of letting it go.
In Sarah’s Words
The book is split into three parts. Her parents are broken-hearted, since Cass was supposed to attend Yale two weeks later. Everyone searches for Cass, but she soon makes a call saying she is with Adam, her boyfriend. Her father is furious, saying he had better expectations of her.