Author: Sarah Dessen
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars!
What makes Sarah Dessen's books so special is the fact that you feel like you can actually relate to the characters. Also, the plots are almost always the same, complete with a girl, a boy, and some romance, and the main character always has some kind of emotionally damaging problem they have to deal with, but it never seems repetitive.
Dreamland was haunting. It was disturbing. Not words you usually associate with Dessen, the queen of summer romance and chick flicks. But words that Dessen definitely pulled off.
I had to take a few breaks from Dreamland, first because I finally got ahold of Insurgent, and then because somebody lend me The Maze Runner. Yet every time I came back to read this book, I didn't feel very distant from it or confused, because the plot just sucked me right in, like the last time I read the book was not a week ago, but a day ago.
The thing about Sarah Dessen is that she gives you a lot of time to know the characters more, and then after a couple of hundred pages or so she actually gets into the plot. Normally, this kind of format would greatly annoy me, but with Dessen's books, I think it actually works really great. By knowing the characters with more details and revealing many different sides of them, everything in the story just seems to be more vivid, more rich.
Caitlyn is the kind of girl that can easily be persuaded at her weak point, but has a very strong will and drive. Honestly, I was more emphatic towards her than sympathetic, but I felt like she was a pretty well-rounded female lead. Now Rogerson brought a whole new dynamic to the story. Whereas Caitlyn was hesitant, forgiving and slightly self conscious, Rogerson was cocky, impatient, and possessed quite a temper. In fact, Dessen made these two characters- well, all the characters- all so complex and developed that I fear I may not ever have the right words to describe them.
Caitlyn and Rogerson's relationship was what you could call unexpected and tumultuous. I desperately wanted to yell at Caitlyn to get away from this abusive relationship, yet I understood how she really couldn't. It's that kind of relationship that draws you, drowns you in with a brutal force, and never let's you out of its grasp. Sometimes, you might be able to wiggle a little looser from it, yet you just can't completely set yourself free. It puts you in a daze, a hallucination where you think that everything's all right, yet you know that it's not.
Sarah Dessen definitely blew me away with this one. All the elements in this story- the relationships, the family dynamic, the pain, the emotions- interwove with each other in perfect harmony. She made the book feel so light, so eerie, and ever so fascinating. Just like you were in dreamland.