It’s the second time I read this book. I remember the first time I read it I was 12 years old, just starting middle school. The cover caught my eye while roaming around the school library, of course it had a different cover back then. And yes, I tend to pick out books based on the cover.
For a long time, I considered Dreamland to be my favorite book. It was the first novel I read by Sarah Dessen. I soon started reading many others of the YA genre (by Dessen and other authors), but no other book could dethrone it’s number one spot. Back in 2009 I purchased it just to have a copy of my own, but I didn’t dare to read it. Weird, right? My “favorite” book from middle school, but I just couldn’t reread it. Well, let me tell you that copy rested in my bookshelf for many more years to come. Only recently, did I get the courage to read it again. And although I already knew how it all ends, it hit me hard. Once more.
For those of you who haven’t read it, the story is about sixteen year old Caitlin, who unexpectedly meets Rogerson Biscoe — a different and mysterious guy, nothing like her high school peers. Green eyes, olive skin and the wild hair. The central topic is abusive relationships — a topic that is still not discussed enough even today. He’s older, he smokes and sells pot, it was obvious he was trouble. But young and naive Caitlin didn’t see it coming, and when she realized in what situation she was in, she simply couldn’t get out.
It’s impossible not to love Rogerson at first. Of course if you’ve already read it, you’re just thinking he’s a total scumbag and part of you wants to warn Caitlin. But you certainly can’t because they’re just fictional characters. However, there are many girls who go through the same thing or worse. I recently saw 13 Reasons Why and I couldn’t help relating these two. Depression can have different manifestations. Even though Caitlin made certain choices but later receives help, other girls in her situation could have taken the same decision as Hannah (main character from 13 Reasons Why).
I’m actually a very emotional person and I usually do not vent about it, even less write about it publicly. But seeing 13 Reasons Why and rereading Dreamland, with a one week difference, was definitely not the best decision. It was a bit overwhelming. Aside from all the emotions, I did enjoy reading it again. And I can now openly state that Dreamland is no longer my favorite book, but it will always have a special place in my heart.