Dreamland

Dreamland

4.4 1277
by Sarah Dessen
     
 

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Rogerson Biscoe, with his green eyes and dark curly hair, is absolutely seductive. Before long, sixteen-year-old Caitlin finds herself under his spell. And when he starts to abuse her, she finds she's in too deep to get herself out...See more details below

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Overview

Rogerson Biscoe, with his green eyes and dark curly hair, is absolutely seductive. Before long, sixteen-year-old Caitlin finds herself under his spell. And when he starts to abuse her, she finds she's in too deep to get herself out...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Caitlin O'Koren has always had to follow in the footsteps of her perfect older sister, Cassandra (homecoming queen, soccer star, student body president, soup kitchen volunteer). When Cassandra runs away from home, Caitlin finds herself trying to fill the gap Cass's absence creates. Shortly after, when she meets mysterious Rogerson Biscoe (a bad boy of the type Dessen hinted at in Someone Like You), Caitlin sees a way to forge a path for herself, away from Cass's shadow and the expectations weighing on her. Rogerson seems vaguely ominous, but Caitlin is taken by surprise when he first gets violent with her. Unwilling to give up the freedom she thinks her relationship gives her, she withdraws from her friends, starts failing in school and drifts into confusion. Her parents, the stereotypically meddling mom and stiff, emotionally distant father, and her close neighbors, two touchy-feely ex-hippies, are so caught up in their own concerns, and particularly in Cassandra's disappearance, that they fail to notice the difference in Caitlin (including what seems to be alarming physical evidence), pushing the limits of plausibility. For all these shortcuts, however, the characterizations have an unmistakable depth; readers may grow impatient with Caitlin and the obliviousness of her nearest and dearest, but they will believe she is real. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly
Caitlin's perfect sister runs away from home and she finds herself trying to fill the gap the absence creates. "The characterizations have an unmistakable depth," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
When sixteen-year-old Caitlin's older sister Cass runs away, Caitlin feels a great void in her life. She's lost the person in her life with whom she's been closet. Deciding she needs a major change, Caitlin enters into her first serious, romantic relationship. Rogerson who is brilliant and charming, but also dangerous. He sells drugs and, as Caitlin soon learns, he is physically abusive to her — the legacy of the abuse he receives from his own father. Not having Cass around for the advice and support she needs, Caitlin retreats into "Dreamland," a half-sleep state where she can keep aloof her problems at a safe distance. In her fifth novel, Dessen again demonstrates her astonishing talent at creating memorable characters with authentic voices and psychological depth, and her remarkable ability to craft subtle but riveting stories, exploring rich themes which young adult readers are sure to find compelling. Genre: Death and Drugs. 2000, Viking, 250 pp., $15.99. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Ed Sullivan; Oak Ridge, Tennessee
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's January 2001 review of the hardcover edition: When Caitlin's "perfect" older sister unexpectedly runs away with her boyfriend on the morning of Caitlin's 16th birthday, it hits everyone in the family hard. "I'd always counted on Cass to lead me," Caitlin muses, and without her Caitlin drifts into a dreamlike state. Her best friend Rita convinces her to try out for the cheerleading squad, and Caitlin goes along. Instead of dating a football player, however, she starts to go out with sexy, dangerous Rogerson. He deals drugs and trashes her friends, but even when he starts hitting her Caitlin doesn't end the relationship. She writes in her journal, "There's just so much wrong that I can't imagine the shame in admitting even the tiniest part of it." Her mother finally catches him about to beat her again, and Caitlin ends up in a residential treatment facility, finally able to deal with some of her conflicted feelings and put herself back together again. Dessen, the author of That Summer, Someone Like You, and Keeping the Moon, convincingly portrays Caitlin's emotional turmoil, making her appalling situation believable to readers. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2000, Penguin, Puffin, 250p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
VOYA
Caitlin always had been number two. Her older sister, Cassandra, bound for Yale, was the one with the friends and the plethora of activities that kept her sparkling in the limelight. On Caitlin's sixteenth birthday, however, Cassandra abandons her golden path and runs off to New York. Caitlin is left alone with the enormity of her parents' disappointment as well as with her own inexpressible grief. Encouraged by her only friend, Rina, Caitlin tries out for the cheerleading squad and to her dismay, makes it. She despises the shallow displays of school spirit and the social pressure to date an unappealing football star. When dark, handsome Rogerson Briscoe mysteriously appears at a football party, beckoning her to leave, she follows him away from the safety of her assumed roles, into a romance both thrilling and horrifying. As Caitlin's relationship with Rogerson becomes increasingly dangerous, she begins to fade from her own life, her torment invisible to those who love her most. Author of Keeping the Moon (Viking, 1999/VOYA December 1999) and Someone Like You (Viking, 1998/VOYA August 1998), Dessen masterfully traces the evolution of an abusive relationship in yet another breathtaking novel for young adults. She evokes the various masquerades of love through the couples in the novel—the loving pair of old hippie neighbors; Caitlin's new friend who lives with a sweet but irresponsible boyfriend; Rogerson's cold, wealthy parents; and Rina's determined promiscuity with several boys. In examining the question of how much must be sacrificed to maintain a romantic relationship, Dessen has created a compassionate novel that examines how wrong love can go. This book will appeal to girlsaddicted to romance novels or to any teen struggling with an abusive situation. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Penguin, 280p, $15.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Diane Masla

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

Children's Literature
This is the story of a family's disintegration when the older of two daughters decides that instead of going to Yale she will run off with her boyfriend. Cassandra O'Koren, champion soccer player, honor student, pride of her parents' lives, runs away with Adam in a desperate attempt to get away from her perfect life. Her younger sister, Caitlin, is devastated. No sportswoman, she tries to fill Cass's place any way she can, and becomes a cheerleader. She hates it: the regimentation, the expectation that she'll date a football player, the endless exhortation to be "peppy." When she hooks up with "bad boy" Rogerson Briscoe, though, she takes on more than she can handle. Rogerson wants Caitlin to be his girl, to be instantly available, and to be on time. If she isn't, he can be dangerous. Very, very dangerous. How will Caitlin get out of this relationship? She isn't sure she wants to—she loves Rogerson. And he loves her. Doesn't he? Although not for very young teens, this is a fascinating book. 2000, Viking Children's Books, Ages 12 up, $15.99. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Cass, activist, athlete, and academic success, runs away to work on a TV talk show with her boyfriend. Sixteen-year-old Caitlin, always overshadowed by her older sister, feels ever more invisible as her parents single-mindedly seek to locate and bring Cass home. Caitlin's best friend convinces her to try out for cheerleading. She makes the squad and discovers that her mother begins to live vicariously through her activities, just as she had done with Cass. Then, Caitlin meets Rogerson Biscoe and falls in love with him. He's not like the jocks at Caitlin's public high school; he's rich, attractive, enigmatic, and wild. She smokes dope supplied by Rogerson, a small-time dealer, and their physical relationship is consummated. Anger drives him, and he controls Caitlin with fear and pain. Shocked and physically hurt, she lies to her parents. Rogerson's beatings escalate, and Caitlin is shattered psychologically as well as physically. Powerfully written and not soon forgotten, Dreamland is the secret story of many contemporary teen relationships. Caitlin's dependency on Rogerson is a realistic and finely drawn portrait of a young woman without a strong sense of self-esteem. Characters are well developed; even Cass comes through as a complete person. The high-school milieu is accurately depicted as is a family's reaction to an unpredictable crisis. Compelling reading with contemporary teen appeal.-Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
A teenager opts for the bad-choice route out of her "perfect" older sister's shadow in this intense, exhausting tale from the author of Keeping the Moon (1999). Caitlin has always felt semi-invisible next to soccer star-senior class president-Homecoming Queen Cass, and that doesn't change in any important way when Cass suddenly takes off with a male friend for New York, leaving their mother Margaret, inconsolably fretful and distracted. When not even a successful bid to make the cheerleading squad earns Caitlin more than fitful parental attention, she plunges into faster waters, hooking up with Rogerson, a fifth-year senior with a police record, a BMW, and a thriving business dealing pot. At first it's an exciting ride, filled with new friends and experiences, but Caitlin's dream soon twists into nightmare. So dependent does her emotional state become on Rogerson's ups and downs that even when he starts slapping her around, she hides the bruises and retreats into numb isolation, feeling trapped but lacking the will to escape. Dessen's characters are familiar but not entirely typecast, which adds flavor to their interactions-though they are paired off into stable and unstable relationships in a rather deliberate way. Caitlin finally gets the help she needs to break free after Rogerson furiously beats her in public, and piece-by-piece she rebuilds her self-respect in rehab, with the help of a liberating letter from Cass. Her descent and recovery come in believable stages, and though Rogerson is definitely the villain here, the author gives readers reason to spare a dash (a very small dash) of sympathy for him, too. (Fiction. YA)

From the Publisher
"It's not only the plot that's vivid; the characters are also intensely real. Another pitch-perfect offering from Dessen." (Booklist, starred review)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101042298
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/11/2004
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
45,409
Lexile:
920L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


    When I was four and Cass was six, she whacked me across the face with a plastic shovel at our neighborhood park. We were in the sandbox, and it was winter: In the pictures, we're in matching coats and hats and mittens. My mother loved to dress us alike, like twins, since we were only two years apart. We did look alike, with the same round face and dark eyes and the same brown hair. But we weren't the same, even then.

    The story goes like this: Cass had the shovel and I wanted it. My mother was sitting watching us on a bench with Boo, who had her camera and was snapping pictures. This was at Commons Park, the small grassy area in the center of our neighborhood, Lakeview. Besides the sandboxes it also had a swing set, one of those circular things you push real fast and then jump on—a kind of manual merry-go-round—and enough grass to play baseball or kickball. Cass and I spent most of the afternoons of our childhood at Commons Park, but the shovel incident is what we both always remembered.

    Not that we ourselves recalled it that well. We had just heard the story recounted so many times over the years that it was easy to take the details and fold them into our own sparse memories, embellishing here or there to fill in the blanks.

    It is said that I reached for the shovel and Cass wouldn't give it to me, so I grabbed her hand and tried to yank it away. A struggle ensued, which must have looked harmless until Cass somehow scraped one hard plastic edge across my temple and it began to bleed.

    Thismoment, the moment, we have documented in one of Boo's photos. There is one picture of Cass and me playing happily, another of the struggle over the shovel (I'm wailing, my mouth a perfect O, while Cass looks stubborn and determined, always a fighter), and finally, a shot of her arm extended, the shovel against my face, and a blur in the left corner, which I know is my mother, jumping to her feet and running to the sandbox to pull us apart.

    Apparently, there was a lot of blood. My mother ran through the winding sidewalks of Lakeview with me in her arms, shrieking, then took me to the hospital where I received five tiny stitches. Cass got to stay at Boo and Stewart's, eat ice cream, and watch TV until we got home.

    The shovel was destroyed. My mother, already a nervous case, wouldn't let us leave the house or play with anything not plush or stuffed for about six months. And I grew up with a scar over my eye, small enough that hardly anyone ever noticed it, except for me. And Cass.

    As we grew older, I'd sometimes look up to find her peering very closely at my face, finding the scar with her eyes before reaching up with one hand to trace it with her finger. She always said it made her feel horrible to look at it, even though we both knew it wasn't really her fault. It was just one more thing we had in common, like our faces, our gestures, and our initials.

    When Cass was born my mother still wasn't sure what to name her. My mother had suffered terrible morning sickness, and Boo, who had moved in next door during the fourth month or so, spent a lot of time making herbal tea and rubbing my mother's feet, trying to make her force down the occasional saltine cracker. Boo was the one who suggested Cassandra.

    "In Greek mythology she was a seer, a prophet," she told my mother, whose tendencies leaned more toward Alice or Mary. "Of course she came to a horrible end, but in Greek mythology, who doesn't? Besides, what more could you want for your daughter than to be able to see her own future?"

    So Cassandra it was. By the time I came along, my mom and Boo were best friends. Boo's real name was Katherine, but she hated it, so I was named Caitlin, the Irish version. Cass's name was always cooler, but to be named for Boo was something special, so I never complained. Her name was just one thing I envied about Cass. Even with all our similarities, it was the things we didn't have in common that I was always most aware of.


    My sister wasn't a seer or a prophet, at least not at eighteen. What she was, was student body president two years running, star right wing of the girls' soccer team (State Champs her junior and senior year), and Homecoming Queen. She volunteered chopping vegetables at the homeless shelter for soup night every Thursday, had been skydiving twice, and was famous in our high school for staging a sit-in to protest the firing of a popular English teacher for assigning "questionable reading material"—Toni Morrison's Beloved. She made the local news for that one, speaking clearly and angrily to a local reporter, her eyes blazing, with half the school framed in the shot cheering behind her. My father, in his recliner, just sat there and grinned.

    There were only two times I can remember ever seeing Cass really depressed. One was after the soccer State Championship sophomore year, when she missed the goal that could have won it all. She locked herself in her room for a full day. She never talked about it again, instead just focusing on the next season, when she rectified the loss by scoring the only two goals of the championship game.

    The second time was at the end of her junior year, when her first real boyfriend, Jason Packer, dumped her so he could "see other people" and "enjoy his freedom" in his last summer before college. Cass cried for a week straight, sitting on her bed in her bathrobe and staring out the window, refusing to go anywhere.

    She drew back from everyone a bit, spending a lot of time next door with Boo where they drank tea, discussed Zen Buddhism, and read dream books together. This was when Cass became so spiritual, scanning the world around her for signs and symbols, sure that there had to be a message for her somewhere.

    She got into three out of the four schools she applied to, and ended up choosing Yale. My parents were ecstatic and threw a party to celebrate. We all applauded and cheered as she bent over to slice a big cake that read WATCH OUT YALE: HERE COMES CASS! which my mother had ordered special from a bakery in town.

    But Cass wasn't herself. She smiled and accepted all the pats on the back, rolling her eyes now and then at my parents' pride and excitement. But it seemed to me that she was just going through the motions. I wondered if she was looking for a sign, something she couldn't find with us or even at Yale.

    She stayed in this funk all the way through graduation. In mid-June she went to stay with her friend Mindy's family at the beach and got a job renting out beach chairs by the boardwalk every day. Three mornings into it she met Adam. He was down at the beach on vacation with some friends from the show, and rented a chair from her. He stayed all day, then asked her out.

    I could tell when she called the next morning, her voice so happy and laughing over the line, that our Cass was back. But not, we soon learned, for long.

    I don't think any of us knew how much we'd needed Cass until she was gone. All we had was her room, her stories, and the quiet that settled in as we tried in vain to spread ourselves out and fill the space she'd left behind.


    Everyone forgot my birthday as our kitchen became mission control, full of ringing phones, loud voices, and panic. My mother refused to leave the phone, positive Cass would call any minute and say it was all a joke, of course she was still going to Yale. Meanwhile my mother's friends from the PTA and Junior League circled through the house making fresh pots of coffee every five minutes, wiping the counters down, and clucking their tongues in packs by the back door. My father shut himself in his office to call everyone who'd ever known Cass, hanging up each time to cross another name off the long list in front of him. She was eighteen, so technically she couldn't be listed as a runaway. She was more like a soldier gone AWOL, still owing some service and on the lam.

    They'd already tried Adam's apartment in New York, but the number had been disconnected. Then they called the Lamont Whipper Show, where they kept getting an answering machine encouraging them to leave their experience with this week's topic—My Twin Dresses Like a Slut and I Can't Stand It!—so that a staffer could get back to them.

    "I can't believe she'd do this," my mother kept saying. "Yale. She's supposed to be at Yale." And all the heads around her would nod, or hand her more coffee, or cluck again.

    I went into Cass's room and sat on her bed, looking around at how neatly she'd left everything. In a stack by the bureau was everything she and my mother had bought on endless Saturday trips to Wal-Mart for college: pillowcases, a fan, a little plastic basket to hold her shower stuff, hangers, and her new blue comforter, still in its plastic bag. I wondered how long she'd known she wouldn't use any of this stuff—when she'd hatched this plan to be with Adam. She'd fooled us all, every one.

    She had come home from the beach tanned, gorgeous, and sloppy in love, and proceeded to spend about an hour each night on the phone long-distance with him, spending every bit of the money she'd made that summer.

    "I love you," she'd whisper to him, and I'd blush; she didn't even care that I was there. She'd be lying across the bed, twirling and untwirling the cord around her wrist. "No, I love you more. I do. Adam, I do. Okay. Good night. I love you. What? More than anything. Anything. I swear. Okay. I love you too." And when she finally did hang up she'd pull her legs up against her chest, grinning stupidly, and sigh.

    "You are pathetic," I told her one night when it was particularly sickening, involving about twenty I love yous and four punkins.

    "Oh, Caitlin," she said, sighing again, rolling over on the bed and sitting up to look at me. "Someday this will happen to you."

    "God, I hope not," I said. "If I act like that, be sure to put me out of my misery."

    "Oh, really," she said, raising one eyebrow. Then, before I could react, she lunged forward and grabbed me around the waist, pulling me down onto the bed with her. I tried to wriggle away but she was strong, laughing in my ear as we fought. "Give," she said in my ear; she had a lock hold on my waist. "Go on. Say it."

    "Okay, okay," I said, laughing. "I give." I could feel her breathing against the back of my neck.

    "Caitlin, Caitlin," she said in my ear, one arm still thrown over my shoulder, holding me there. She reached up with her finger and traced the scar over my eyebrow, and I closed my eye, breathing in. Cass always smelled like Ivory soap and fresh air. "You're such a pain in the ass," she whispered to me. "But I love you anyway."

    "Likewise," I said.

    That had been two weeks earlier. She had to have known even then she was leaving.

    I walked to her mirror and looked at all the ribbons and pictures she had taped around it: spelling bees, honor roll, shots from the mall photo booth of her friends making faces and laughing, their arms looped around each other. There were a couple of us, too. One from a Christmas when we were kids, both of us in little red dresses and white tights, holding hands, and one from a summer at the lake where we're sitting at the end of a dock, legs dangling over, in our matching blue polka-dot bathing suits, eating Popsicles.

    On the other side of the wall, in my room, I had the same bed, the same bureau set, and the same mirror. But on my mirror, I had one picture of my best friend, Rina, my third-place ribbon from horseback riding, and my certificate from the B honor roll. Most people would have been happy with that. But for me, with Cass always blazing the trail ahead, there was nothing to do but pale in comparison.

    Okay, so maybe I was jealous, now and then, but I could never have hated Cass. She came to all my competitions, cheering the loudest as I went for the bronze. She was the first one waiting for me when I came off the ice during my only skating competition, after falling on my ass four times in five minutes. She didn't even say anything, just took off her mittens, gave them to me, and helped me back to the dressing rooms where I cried in private as she unlaced my skates, telling knock-knock jokes the whole time.

    To be honest, a part of me had been looking forward to Cass going off to Yale at the end of the summer. I thought her leaving might actually give me some growing room, a chance to finally strike out on my own. But this changed everything.

    I'd always counted on Cass to lead me. She was out there somewhere, but she'd taken her own route, and for once I couldn't follow. This time, she'd left me to find my own way.

NINE CRAZY IDEAS IN SCIENCE
A Few Might Even Be True

By Robert Ehrlich

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS

Copyright © 2001 Princeton University Press. All rights reserved.

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From the Publisher
"It's not only the plot that's vivid; the characters are also intensely real. Another pitch-perfect offering from Dessen." (Booklist, starred review)

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