March 20, 2012

I Walked With You Once Upon a Dream • Dreamland

Dreamland book cover
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: May 11, 2004
Source/Format: Gifted by Katelyn || Paperback

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else - her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

I'm a major Sarah Dessen fan. Ever since I first picked up The Truth About Forever, I've read just about every single one of her novels. It was only recently I discovered that I hadn't read Dreamland - and my friend Katelyn was wonderful enough to send me a copy of this novel!

Dreamland is different from Sarah Dessen's other novels, if only because I felt like it was a little darker and well, told in a very "dreamy" manner. Though I may sound a little negative, trust me, I actually really liked this novel! It may not necessarily be my favorite, but it did make an impact on me after I'd read it.

Sarah Dessen has again proven to me that she is the master of taking tough issues and not being afraid to expose them for what they really are. Dreamland is many parts sad, yet ends brimming with honesty and hope.

The Character

I think it has a lot to do with what I was experiencing at the time I read Dreamland, but I really felt like I could relate to Caitlyn. Yes, the issues we face(d) are different. Yes, our responses to them are also different. But her crazy mix of emotions, her feeling of general invisibility to the world around her and the need to forge a path that was uniquely hers - these things I definitely could understand. Reading about her experience was heartbreaking - but it also raised my awareness and my level of understanding.

The Story

My heart broke quite a few times reading Caitlyn's story. Sure, there were definitely moments when I felt extremely glad and really hopeful for her and I felt like it reached a realistic, just right conclusion at the end - but a lot of this novel was just really, really sad to me. It often felt like I was submerged in "dreamland" with Caitlyn, with the struggles and feelings keeping me prisoner alongside her.

It took a bit of time for the novel to pick up in terms of story for me though. I honestly struggled a bit with the beginning (starting at chapter one, not the very first bit), but it was definitely worth it in the end.

Personally, I say you should...

Read this book if you're a fan of compelling, honest, contemporary YA novels. Sarah Dessen is definitely an author I would recommend to all readers interested in this genre, as she does it so well. Dreamland is a gripping novel that will tug at your emotional heartstrings.

This review was posted as part of Rewind & Review.

Rewind & Review is a great monthly feature started by Ginger of GReads! and Lisa of Lisa is Busy Nerding. Each month, participants will set aside some "older" titles to read and review on their blogs. This feature is the perfect opportunity to get around to reading that title you've been eyeing for years or that book that's been in your TBR for what feels like forever. For more information, you can visit this post.


  1. Sometimes, we need books to tug at our emotional heartstrings. No one does it better than Sarah Dessen - that's fo sho!

    YAY for tackling your TBR with Rewind and Review! <3

  2. I need to read Sarah Dessen's books. I know this and yet it hasn't happened yet... You've definitely convinced me to try soon! :) I love having my emotional heartstrings tugged ;) Thanks for the review!

  3. I read Someone Like You and Keeping the Moon from Sarah Dessen so far... I'm not hooked unfortunately... I still plan on reading Dreamland though, given I own the book lol

  4. I just bought this one not too long ago. Hoping to get to a Dessen book soon. Still haven't read one of hers and am so ashamed of it!

  5. I completely agree with your very first comments on this book. It isn't my favorite Dessen book either (I think it may be because of how "dark" it is compared to some of her others or the fact that this issue really just isn't my favorite thing to read about) but I still liked it. I am glad you enjoyed :)

  6. I feel the same way, this was one I found out later that I hadn't read (how did we miss it?! oh well...) and immediately checked it out of the library to fix that blunder. It is definitely darker than most of Dessen's novels (especially with Rogerson...), but I appreciate the honesty she approached the situation with. Like you as well, not a favourite, but still a great book.

  7. Sarah Dessen is always going to be one of my favorite authors. I've generally liked/loved her books, and this one is no exception. Despite the darker tone, her writing style still manages to shine through.

  8. Thank you for sending it to me! You've helped me read the one Dessen book I haven't read, apart from What Happened to Goodbye (which I will start soon, I swear). It was good, despite not being my favorite!

  9. This one's not necessarily my favorite, but I hope you enjoy it. I would recommend you try The Truth About Forever or Just Listen :)

  10. Ooh, suggestion! Try out The Truth About Forever and Just Listen - those are my favorites from her.

  11. Yes, I hope you get to read her work soon, because she's one of my favorite authors.

  12. Thank YOU for coming up with the feature! It's certainly inspiring me :)

  13. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?
    My web blog ;

  14. I am genuinely thankful to the holder of this
    web page who has shared this great post at here.

    my web page

  15. bookmarked!!, I like your site!

    Also visit my webpage: seo specialist

  16. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your
    website is excellent, as well as the content!

    Check out my blog ::


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)