It’s been a while since I’ve had to write a review like this, so here it goes…
…I had to DNF this one.
There, I said it.
Nine times out of ten, I can get past the young adult predictable tropes and read with the bigger picture in mind, but Dreamland felt like a bad teen flick from the beginning, and that hurts me to say because I genuinely love Dessen novels. Here’s why.
We meet Caitlin, whose sister, Cass, runs away from home, leaving Caitlin to deal with the aftermath. It’s a lot for sixteen year old Caitlin to handle, but she realizes that she’s finally out of her perfect sister’s shadow. Caitlin makes the cheerleading squad, even though she really didn’t care to and was pressured into it by her friend, Rina. Then, she meets Rogerson Briscoe. He’s a bad boy, this Rogerson, and even though Rina has already set her up with a footballer who’s ready to give her his letterman jacket, Caitlin knows that Rogerson is more intriguing, and she thinks he’s a sign from her sister. So she starts up a relationship with him. And all the while, she’s worrying about her sister, and a note that her sister left in her birthday gift dream journal, telling her that she’ll see her in dreamland.
All thee above is laid out in 65 out of 250 pages, and I just wasn’t buying into the story. Caitlin and Rogerson seem like two outcasts made for each other, but I could already predict where this story was going to go. And because I don’t like to assume incorrectly, I skipped ahead and skimmed to see what would happen to the two. I was still right.
Now, just for the record, I still think Dessen is a wonderful, heartwarming, feel-good young adult author. I will still be reading and reviewing more of her novels. But, I feel that I’m just too old to buy into the storyline of Dreamland, and would rather move on to a more thought-provoking read. So, alas, I have. But, if you have read Dreamland, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. I am human after all, and if you think I should give it a second chance, I’d love to know why.