From the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Once and For All
Love can be a very dangerous thing.
After her sister left, Caitlin felt lost.
Then she met Rogerson.
When she’s with him, nothing seems real.
But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
“Another pitch-perfect offering from Dessen.” —Booklist, starred review
Sarah Dessen is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contributions to YA literature, as well as the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award.
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye
Once and for All
About the Author
Sarah Dessen is the author of thirteen novels, which include the New York Times bestsellers The Moon and More, What Happened to Goodbye, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You, were made into the movie How to Deal.
Dessen’s books are frequently chosen for the Teens’ Top Ten list and the list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. They have been translated into twenty-five languages. Sarah Dessen is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult division of the American Library Association.
Sarah Dessen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.
Visit Sarah at sarahdessen.com.
Hometown:Chapel Hill, NC
Date of Birth:June 6, 1970
Place of Birth:Evanston, Illinois
Education:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, degree in English.
Read an Excerpt
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 sand box, 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.
This moment, 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 even 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"—Tony 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 friend 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, and her new blue comforter, still in its plastic bag. I wondered how long she'd know 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. I love you too. 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 pumpkins.
"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 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 though 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 take her own route, and for once I couldn't follow. This time, she'd left me to find my own way.
The next morning when I woke up I realized I hadn't dreamed at all, not even one fleeting image. I took the book Cass gave me out from under my bed, where I'd hidden it, and opened it to the first page, There was a drawing of a full moon, sprinkled with stars, in the corner.
August 18, I wrote at the top of the page. Nothing last night. And you're still gone.
I couldn't think of anything else, so I got out of bed, threw on some clothes, and went down the hallway to the kitchen. The door to my parents' room was closed and my father was in his office, on the phone. He had to have talked to a hundred people in the last twenty-four hours.
"I understand that," he was saying, his voice level, but I could tell he was frustrated. "But eighteen or not, we want her home. She's not the kind of girl who does something like this."
The door to his office was half open, and I could see him standing by the window, running his palm over the small bald patch at the back of his head. My father, as the Dean of Students at the university, dealt with problems every day. He was the stand-in parent for thousands of undergraduates, and was quoted each time a fraternity got caught pulling pranks or a beer bash got out of hand. But this was different. This was about us.
I pulled the patio door open and slipped outside, where it was thickly hot and muggy, another August morning. But at least it was quiet.
Next door, I could see Boo and Stewart sitting at their kitchen table, eating breakfast. Boo raised her hand, waved, and then gestured for me to come over, smiling. I took one look back at my own house, where my mother's stress filled the rooms to the ceiling, leaving a stink and heaviness like smoke, and started across the one strip of green grass that separated their backyard from ours.
When I was little and got in trouble and sent to my room, I'd always sit on my bed and wish that Boo and Stewart were my parents. They'd never had kids of their own. My mother said it was because they acted so much like children themselves, but I liked to think it was so they could be there for me, if I ever needed to trade my own family.
The window in my room faced their back sunporch, an all-glass room where Boo kept most of her plants. She was mad for ferns. Stewart's studio—he taught art at the university—was just off that room, in what was supposed to be the living room. They kept their bed in the corner, and they didn't even have any real furniture to speak of; when you were invited over, you sat on big red velvet cushions decorated with sequins that Boo had picked up on a trip to India. This drove my conservative mother crazy, so Boo and Stewart almost always came to our house, where Mom could relax among the safety and comfort of her ottomans and end tables.
But that was what Cass and I love most about them: their house, their lives, even their names.
"Mr. Connell's my father, and he lives in California," Stewart always said. He was a mild and quiet man, quite brilliant, whose hair was always sticking straight up, like a mad scientist's, and flecked with various colors of paint.
For most of the nights of my life I could hear Stewart coming home late from his university studio, the brakes of his bike—they had an old VW bus, but it broke down constantly—squeaking all the way from the bridge down the street. He'd glide down the slope of their yard, under the clothesline, to the garage. Sometimes he forgot about the clothesline and almost killed himself, flying backward while the bike went on, unmanned, to crash against the garage door. You'd think they would have moved the clothesline after the second time or so. But they didn't.
"It's not the fault of the clothesline," Stewart explained to me one day, rubbing the red, burned spot on his neck. He'd broken his glasses again and had them taped together in the middle. "It's about me respecting it as an obstacle."
Now Boo slid their door open and came out to meet me on their patio. She was in a pair of old overalls, a faded red tank top underneath, and her feet were bare. Her long red hair was piled on top of her head, a few chopsticks stuck in here and there to hold it in place. Inside, Stewart was sitting at the table, eating a big peach and reading a book. He looked up and waved at me; he had juice all over his chin.
"So," Boo said, putting an arm around my shoulder. "How are things on the home front?"
"Awful," I said. "Mom won't stop crying."
She sighed, and we stood there for a few minutes, just looking across their yard. Boo had gone through a Japanese garden stage a few years back, which resulted in a footbridge and a fat, rusted iron Buddha sculpture.
"I just can't believe she didn't tell me anything," I said. "I feel like I should have known something was going on."
Boo sighed, reaching to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. "I think she probably didn't want to put you in that position," she said, squatting down to pull a dandelion at the edge of the patio, lifting it to her face to breathe in the scent. "It was a big secret to keep."
"I guess." Someone was mowing their lawn a few yards down, the motor humming. "I just thought everything was perfect for her, like it always was. You know?"
Boo nodded, standing up and stretching her back. "Well, that's a lot of pressure. Being perfect. Right?"
I shrugged. "I wouldn't know."
"Me neither," she said with a smile. "But I think it was harder for Cass than we realized, maybe. It's so easy to get caught up in what people expect of you. Sometimes, you can just lose yourself."
She walked to the edge of the patio, bending down to pull another dandelion. I watched her, then said, "Boo?"
"Did she tell you she was going?"
She stood up slowly. "No," she said, as the lawnmower droned on down the street. "She didn't. But Cass had a hard year, last year. Things weren't always as easy as she made them seem, Caitlin. It's important that you know that."
I watched her pull a few more flowers, adding them to the bunch in her hand, before she came over and squeezed my shoulder. "What a crappy birthday, huh?" she said.
I shrugged. "It doesn't matter. I wouldn't have done anything anyway."
"What about Rina?" she said.
"She's off with her new stepdad," I told her, and she shook her head. "Bermuda this time." My best friend Rina Swain's mom had just gotten remarried again: This was number four. She only married rich, and never for love, which led to Rina living in nicer and nicer houses, going to endless exotic places, and piling up huge therapy bills. Rina had what Boo called Issues, but the guys at school had another name for it.
"Well, come inside," Boo said, pulling the door open and stepping back to met me in first. "Let me make you breakfast and we'll not talk about any of this at all."
I sat down at the table next to Stewart, who had finished his peach and was now sketching on the back of the power bill envelope, while Boo filled a mason jar with water and arranged the dandelions in it. Stewart's canvases, both finished and unfinished, covered the walls and were stacked against any solid surface in the house. Stewart did portraits of strangers: All his work was based on the theory that art was about the unfamiliar.
Stewart might have been unconventional, but his art classes were insanely popular at the university. This was mostly because he didn't believe in grades or criticism, and was a strong proponent of coed massage as a way of getting in touch with your artistic spirit. My father had been quoted about Stewart's teaching practices more than once, and always used words like unique, free spirit, and artistic choice. Privately, he wished Stewart would wear a tie now and then and stop leading meditation workshops in the quad on big football weekends.
Stewart looked over and smiled at me. "How's it feel to be sixteen?"
"No big difference," I said. With all the confusion, my father had forgotten about taking me to get my driver's license, but everyone had been so crazy I hadn't wanted to ask.
"Oh now," he said, pushing the envelope away and putting down his pen. "That's the great thing about aging. It just gets better every year."
"Here you go," Boo said, plunking a plate down in front of me: scrambled tofu, Fakin' Bacon, and some pomegranates.
"I remember when I was sixteen," Steward said, sitting back in his chair. His feet were bare, too, and sprinkled with green paint. "I hitched a ride to San Francisco and had a burrito for the first time. It was incredible."
"Really," I said, picking up the envelope he'd been doodling on. It was just half a face, sketchily drawn. I turned it over and was startled to see something in Cass's writing: her name, doodled in blue, signed with a flourish, as if she'd been sitting in this same chair some other morning, eating scrambled tofu, just like me.
"Just being free, out on the road, the world wide open…" He leaned closer to me, but I was still looking at Cass's name, suddenly so sad I felt like I couldn't breathe. It seemed impossible that Cass had been planning to change her life completely while none of us even noticed; even when she doodled on that envelope, it could have been on her mind.
"…anything possible," Stewart was saying. "Anything at all."
I blinked, and swallowed over the lump in my throat. I wanted to keep that envelope and hold it close to me, like it was suddenly all I had left of her, some sort of living part pulsing in my hand.
"Caitlin?" Boo said, coming over and bending down beside me. "What is it?" She leaned down and saw the envelope, catching her breath. "Oh honey" she said, and even before she wrapped her arms around me I was already leaning in, tucking my head against her shoulder as she held me, as I knew she'd held Cass, in this same chair, at this same table, in this same light, on other mornings, not like this.
When I walked up to our sliding glass door, the phone was ringing. No one seemed to be around, so I picked it up.
There was silence, with just a bit of buzzing.
My father appeared in the doorway, out of breath: He'd been outside, in the garage. "Who is it?"
I shook my head. "I don't"
He was immediately beside me, pulling the receiver out of my hand. "Cassandra? Is that you?"
"Jack?" my mother said from their bedroom. I could hear her moving, coming closer, and then she appeared in the hallway, clutching a tissue, one hand over her mouth. "I dozed off. Is it"
"Cassandra, listen to me. You have to come home. We're not mad at you, but you have to come home." His voice was shaking.
"Let me talk to her," my mother said, coming closer, but he shook his head, holding out one hand to keep her there.
"Tell her we love her!" my mother said, and I couldn't stand the way her voice sounded, unsure and wavering. I slipped around them both and into my room, slowly picking up my own phone. On the line, no one was speaking.
"Cassandra," my father said finally. "Talk to me."
Silence. I pictured her standing in a phone booth by a highway, cars whizzing by. A place I'd never seen, a world I didn't know. Then, suddenly, I heard her voice.
"Daddy," she began, and I heard my father take in a breath, quickly, as if he'd been punched in the stomach. "I'm okay. I'm happy. But I'm not coming home.""Where are you?" he demanded.
"Let me talk to her!" my mother shrieked in the background. She could have gone into my father's office and picked up the extension there, but I knew she wasn't thinking of that, couldn't even move from that spot in the hallway where she was standing. "Cassandra!"
"Don't worry about me," Cass said. "I'm"
"No," my father said. "You must come home."
"This is what I want," she said. "You have to respect that."
"You're only eighteen," my father told her. "This is ridiculous, you can't possibly know"
"Daddy," she said, and I realized suddenly I was crying, again, the receiver wet against my face. "I'm sorry. I love you. Please tell Mom not to worry."
"No," my father said, firm. "We are not"
"Caitlin?" she said suddenly. "I know you're there. I can hear you."
"What is she saying?" my mother kept asking, now close to the receiver. "Where is she?"
"Margaret, just hold on," my father told her.
"Yes," I whispered back to Cass. "I'm here."
"Don't cry, okay?" she said. The line crackled, and I thought of her tackling me that night, her breath against my neck, laughing in my ear. "I love you. I'm sorry about your birthday."
"It's nothing," I said.
There was a voice outside her end, a yell, and another buzz on the line. "Is that him?" my father demanded. "Is he there?"
"I have to go," she said. "Please don't worry, okay?"
"Dammit, Cassandra," my father said. "Don't you hang up this phone!"
"Good-bye," she said softly, as my father's voice dropped away. "Good-bye."
"Cassandra!" my mother wailed into the phone, all the anger and fear of the last twenty-four hours bursting across the line. "Please"
Click. And she was gone.
What People are Saying About This
"It's not only the plot that's vivid; the characters are also intensely real. Another pitch-perfect offering from Dessen." (Booklist, starred review)
Reading Group Guide
When he hit me, I didn't see it coming, It was just a quick blur, a flash out of the corner of my eye, and then the side of my face just exploded, burning, as his hands slammed against me.
Strange, sleepy Rogerson, with his long brown dreads and brilliant green eyes, had seemed to Caitlin to be an open door. With him she could be anybody, not just the second-rate shadow of her two-years-older sister Cass. But now she is drowning in the vacuum Cass left behind when she turned her back on her family's expectations. Caitlin wanders in a dreamland of drugs and a nightmare of sudden fists, trapped in her search for herself.
As violence becomes more and more prevalent in our world, one out of every five teenage girls in America will be beaten by a dating partner, and one third to one half of married women will be victims of abuse. Yet shame, fear, and assumed guilt keeps many in conspiracy of silence about this widespread but invisible anguish. Why do girls allow themselves to get into such relationships—and what keeps them there?
In this riveting novel, Sarah Dessen searches for understanding and answers through the mind of a young girl who suddenly finds herself in a trap of constant menace, a trap that is baited with love and need. More and more she must frantically manage her every action to avoid being hit by the hands that had seemed so gentle. All around Caitlin are women who care—best friends, mother, sister, mentor—but she can confide in none of them, especially not Cass, her brilliant older sister, whose own flight from home had seemed to point the way for Caitlin.
Dessen has here created a subtle and compelling work of literature that goes far beyond the problem novel in a story rich with symbolism, dark scenes of paralyzing dread, quirky and memorable characters, and gleams of humor. With the consummate skill and psychological depth that brought her praise for Keeping the Moon, she explores the search for self-identity, the warmth of feminine friendships, and the destructive ways our society sets up young women for love gone wrong.
ABOUT SARAH DESSEN
Sarah Dessen grew up in Chapel Hill, where she teaches fiction writing at the University of North Carolina and recently married her high school sweetheart. Dreamland is her fourth novel for young people.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
Books by Sarah Dessen:
HC: 0-670-89122-3, $15.99 ($22.99 CAN)
Keeping the Moon
HC: 0-670-88549-5, $15.99 ($22.99 CAN)
PB: 0-14-131007, $5.99 ($8.99 CAN)
Someone Like You
HC: 0-670-87778-6, $16.99 ($23.99 CAN)
PB: 0-14-130269-0, $4.99 ($6.99 CAN)
PB: 0-14-038688-2, $5.99 ($8.99 CAN)
I Never Asked You to Understand Me
by Barthe DeClements
Puffin Books, 0-14-130059-0, $ 4.99 ($ 6.99 CAN)
In a school for "dropouts and druggies," Didi finds friends who help her put her life back together after his mother's death.
Zero at the Bone
by Michael Cadnum
Viking Children's Books, 0-670-86725-X, $ 15.99 ($ 22.99 CAN)
Puffin Books, 0-14-038628-9, $ 4.99 ($ 6.99 CAN)
After Cray's older sister Anita doesn't come home that night—or ever—he and his family are left searching for reasons for her disapperance.
When She Was Good
by Norma Fox Mazer
Em's huge, dangerous big sister Pamela is dead, but her voice goes on telling Em that she's stupid and bad and deserves to be hit.
Breaking Free from Partner Abuse
by Mary Marecek
Morning Glory Press
A simply written little book that uses quotes from abused women, poetry, and helpful advice, to drive home the message that "people aren't for hitting." Includes 16 page mini-lesson on abuse.
Resources to Help Stop Partner Violence:
If you or someone you know is having trouble with partner violence, here are some organizations that you can turn to.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Advice, comfort, and referral for teens in violent relationships, available 24 hours a day.
"Love Doesn't Have to Hurt Teens"
A teen-friendly website, sponsored by the American Psychological Association, that offers counsel to girls who think they may be headed for an abusive relationship.
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
A referral organization that works to develop national and local programs and distributes materials, like their guide for parents, "Helping Teens Stop Violence."
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
A gathering of organizations and groups working to stop partner abuse. Distributors of the "Rough Love" video and teaching guide.
A CONVERSATION WITH SARAH DESSEN
How did you get started writing young adult fiction?
To be honest, I fell into it. But it is a voice that really works for me, partially because I live in my home town, and I'm very close to all of my friends from high school. A lot of my memories are very vivid because I'm still in the same place. It's easy to reach back when you drive past your high school at least once a week.
Tell me how you came to write about dating violence.
I've had several friends—not myself personally, because I've been dating the same person since high school—who have been in bad relationships like this and I didn't know until years later. Teenage girls are evolving so much and it's so easy—the first time when you fall in love especially—to think maybe this is just the way it's supposed to be, or "Nobody will ever love me again." You don't have the strength that you would have later, to walk away. In writing this book there was such a sense of having to be very, very careful with this topic and very responsible with it.
Because you may have readers who are in this situation looking to you for answers.
Exactly, although this is not a problem novel. I also felt I had to be responsible about the role of marijuana in the story. I worried that when Corinna and Caitlin are sitting on the couch together for endless afternoons looking at television and smoking pot that it was going to seem frivolous, like I was making it seem attractive. But Caitlin uses it to dull her senses, and Rogerson is the one who starts her on it, and it's what enables her to endure his abuse. So I definitely needed it there, and I'm prepared for controversy.
Did your editor feel the same way?
I was so glad I was with Deborah Brodie for this book, because she allowed me to be true to my voice; she was respectful in not wanting to tinker with things too much, and that was great. And she has amazing insight—I could not have done better!
- In the first chapter, Sarah Dessen not only puts us immediately in the midst of the action and introduces us to all the major characters in her story, but she drops hints about ideas and events that will be important in the novel. For instance, Caitlin stumbles over Cass's gift as she leaves her room, "whacking my face on a hall light switch." Later, her parents are too distraught over Cass's departure to notice Caitlin's injury—a pattern that foreshadows the violence to come. What other clues are embedded in the chapter that point to symbols and themes that will be explored later?
- The idea of "Dreamland" as a place of refuge is central to the story, as the title suggests. What childhood events establish this picture in Caitlin's mind? Why is it significant that Cass has given Caitlin a dream journal and what does she imply in her cryptic message to her sister: "I'll see you there"? Trace how the meaning of the word later changes for Caitlin as she retreats into a drugged sleepiness and thinks, "This Dreamland was preferable, walking through this life half-sleeping, everything at arm's length or farther away." Who else in the novel is in Dreamland? Find a passage at the end of the novel that suggests that Dreamland could become a more hopeful idea.
- Explaining Cass's flight, Boo says, "It's so easy to get caught up in what people expect of you. Sometimes, you can just lose yourself." In what way does this also describe Caitlin's situation? Both sisters are trying to find an identity by stepping outside of other people's expectations. In what ways are their attempts at taking control alike? How do they differ? Do you think women often try to find their own selves by their choice of a man?
- What has been the effect on Caitlin of following in the footsteps of her older and more talented sister all her life? How does the scar on her eyebrow that Cass inflicted sum up those feelings? On the other hand, what different meaning does the scar hold for Cass? What scenes dramatize this? Why is Caitlin particularly anxious to hide Rogerson's abuse from her? In the end Cass, with unconscious irony, writes in a letter yo her sister, "You were always able to make your choices based on you and what you wanted, nothing else." How and why can she be so wrong?
- In a striking scene from Caitlin's childhood, Boo uses the little girl's play with a Barbie doll to drive home a feminist lesson. "She can be anything—and so can you," she tells Caitlin—whose own mother has never noticed that fact. What small evidence can you find that this message has not been entirely wasted on the teenage Caitlin, even as she goes through her cheerleading routines and surrenders her life to Rogerson?
- When Caitlin first chooses to go with Rogerson, even though they know nothing about each other, she thinks, "I could have been anybody, and it made everything possible." What is it about Rogerson that makes him so perfectly suited to Caitlin's need? Before he turns violent, we—and Caitlin—learn only seemingly unrelated facts about Rogerson's past, his family, his likes and dislikes, his behavior quirks and odd abilities. What are the missing pieces in this enigmatic personality, and can you guess at the rest of the picture? What do you think is the particular quality in Caitlin that makes her so attractive to him?
- The first time Rogerson hits Caitlin, it comes out of nowhere as a complete shock—for us as well as her. Yet, on another level, we're not really surprised. We knew some things about him that should have been warning signals. What were they? Obviously, Caitlin should leave him immediately at this point. Why is this impossible for her, and why does it become increasingly impossible as his violence escalates? Sketch out a scene as to what might have happened if she had been able to walk away from him after the first attack. Would it really have ended there? Or not?
- The affectionate portrayals of New Agers Boo and Stewart, with their tempeh salads and wise comments, lighten this powerfully dark novel. Do you think they have remained fast friends with the O'Korens only—as Caitlin supposes—because they live next door? Rina, too, who has issues with men, brings some comic relief to the story, and she and Caitlin are another unlikely friendship. What do you think holds them together? And why is Caitlin unable to confide in her about the abuse?
- Corinna, another woman who has run away from her parents' world, is also a mismatched friend for Caitlin, who thinks that they have "a lot in common." Even though their backgrounds and interests are so different, in what ways is this true? When Corinna makes a safe haven for Caitlin, how is it both comforting and destructive for both of them? When Corinna finally finds the courage to leave Dave, what do her silver bracelets come to symbolize to Caitlin, and how does the wearing of them affect her decisions?
- One of the most puzzling paradoxes about Rogerson is his gentleness as a lover, as contrasted with his violence. Find evidence of his patience toward Caitlin in sexual matters and his insensitivity to her needs in all other ways. What in his background could explain this and why is it such a powerful tool in gaining her trust? In a related paradox, what two kinds of "hits" does he give her and how do they work together?
- Caitlin is tempted several times to tell her mother what is going on with Rogerson, but she cannot begin to break through her parent's complete obliviousness that something is wrong. A poignant example is the moment when her father carefully spreads ashes on the slippery sidewalk because Caitlin has blamed a fall on the ice for the abrasions on her face. Find other examples of their loving intentions coupled with blindness to the reality of the situation. In a way, are these metaphors for most parent/child interactions in adolescence?
- Sarah Dessen builds an almost unbearably escalating sense of dread into the climatic scene of the novel. We can almost hear the throbbing drums in the background as Caitlin, who has been bullied by Rina into going off to the lake, frantically tries to telephone a dangerously furious Rogerson. Imagine you are shooting this scene as a movie. How would you underscore the rising terror and tension with film techniques like jump cuts, close ups, long shots, distorted focus, special effects, computer graphics? What music would you choose? Where would you end the scene?
- Much of the richness of the language of this novel comes from the many symbols that amplify the meaning of the story, and we have discussed several of these already, like the scar and the silver bracelets. Others to explore are the black BMW, the staring rows of dolls, the pyramid, Caitlin's photographs. An extended metaphor that brings the book home to a satisfying conclusion is drawn from T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." A literary interpretation of this passage is clearly laid out by a bright student in Caitlin's English class. How do the elements of this metaphor—the mermaid's song, the voices calling, water and drowning at the surface—come to represent salvation to Caitlin in her turmoil? In this context, react to the last sentence, in which Caitlin feels "the water break across my face as I burst through it into the air to finally breathe on my own."
Patty Campbell is a longtime critic, librarian, editor, writer, and teacher in the field of young adult literature. She was the winner of the 1989 Grolier Award for distinction in the service of young adults and reading.
"I was born in 1970 in Illinois, but all the life I remember I’ve spent in Chapel Hill, NC. My parents were both professors at the University of North Carolina: my mom is a classicist (which means she knows everything you could ever imagine about myths, Latin, and words) and my dad teaches Shakespeare (which means I’d seen As You Like It about five times by the age of 18.) I have one brother, who is a musician and lives in California with his son and his wife, an artist who designed my personal website. (Thanks, Mariangeles!)
"I’ve been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I’d sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think it’s just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it’s hard not to do it all the time.
"In high school, I was lucky enough to have a big group of girlfriends that have really inspired a lot of the stories in my books. I’m still close with my friends from that time, so it’s never very hard to put myself back into that place, that voice. Also it doesn’t hurt to still be living in my hometown, where it’s a given that I’ll bump into people I had homeroom with, or guys I had big crushes on, while I’m pumping gas or buying stamps. It makes it hard to leave high school behind entirely, which is a good or bad thing depending on what day you ask me. I attended college at UNC, where I studied creative writing and graduated with a degree in English. (Which means I can quote small parts of many Great Works. Comes in handy occasionally, like at cocktail parties.) I’d been on the five-and-a-half year college plan, and when I graduated my parents were hoping I’d settle down and get a Real Job so they could stop worrying about me. But instead of doing the whole resume/pantyhose thing, I decided to stick to my job waiting tables at the world famous Flying Burrito Restaurant and try to publish a novel. At the time, I had only one very bad book I’d written my senior year of college and the beginnings of another one. Luckily, my family was supportive and I spent a few years living in a ramshackle little house where I wrote during the day and did the restaurant thing at night.
"Three years after graduating, I sold my first book, That Summer, but it wasn’t until a year after that that I got offered a teaching job and left waitressing for good. I still miss it sometimes, though. It was a great job for a writer. Endless conversations to eavesdrop, tons of material, and fast money without ever taking work home. Plus, free Mexican food, the best perk of all. Now, I’ve published four books, all for young adults. I never really intended to be YA writer, but the second book I showed my agent she thought had a strong teenage voice, so she sent it off to an editor at Orchard Books, who bought it. Even though it was in a way accidental, I’ve found that writing for teens suits me. I do short stories, and other novels, that are for an older audience, but again and again I am brought back to the stories of high school. Maybe it’s because so much happened to me then that I’m not finished yet telling everything. My senior quote was from Pink Floyd (okay, I was a bit of a burnout-I spent a lot of time in the parking lot, whatever, let’s move on) and it pretty much summed up my future, although I didn’t know it at the time. It was: "The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say." It turns out that I did.
"The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn’t tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die or Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it’s the best thing to which any writer can aspire. Now, I teach writing at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I’m lucky enough to see my students find their own voice, the way I did in the same program there not so long ago. Teaching is great for me, because I get to show people how writing can really change the way you see not only yourself but the world. I’ve found in my own life that if my writing isn’t going well, not much else will. It is the one constant, the key to everything else.
"As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden-although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything aliveand, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dreamland by Sara Dessen is about a girl named Caitlin, age 16. On her birthday Caitlin's sister Cassandra runs away with her boyfriend, leaving her family disappointed and confused with what has happened. Soon after, Caitlin meets Rogerson Biscoe, a mysterious and appealing boy around her age. As their relationship grows stronger Caitlin finds herself in a twisted situation trying to decide between her world with Rogerson and her world with the rest of the people in her life. Caitlin's decision brings her to tough times in this supposed "Dreamland." Once this book got going I couldn't put it down, it is written with great detail and form. This wonderful coming of age story teaches a great lesson to girls 12+ while still keeping it interesting. I've never read anything like it and I can't wait to read more books by this author. Don't let the slow beginning keep you from continuing this novel.
This book, "Dreamland" by Sarah Dessen , is about Caitlin (main character), her sister, Cass leaves on Caitlin's birthday to be with her boyfriend and get away from the college chaos. Caitlin's family goes through some really tough times and Caitlin, later on, decides to do cheerleading. This cheerleading activity leads to unsupervised parties and boys. Caitlin's new boyfriends name is Rogerson Biscoe, who she sees as a great guy, but ends up getting Caitlin into things she normally would not do. Rogerson is really good to Caitlin, until she doesn't show up for a shopping trip that they had planned, and their relationship pretty much goes downhill from there.
My favorite part of the book is when Caitlin's parents meet Rogerson. Friends of the family, Boo and Stewart, are playing Trivial Pursuit with Caitlin's parents and everything Rogrson says is correct, leaving the family amazed after some things that they had herd about him.
I defiantly recommend this book to anyone who is into "real life" books and anyone who will read for hours , because this book will leave you wanting to read on and want to know more. Not a disappointment.
I love this book. I read it a few years ago, and it is still my favorite book of all time. I haven't found another book that could replace the magic of this book. It is a story that talks about the love and pain inside a teenage abusive relationship. It is gripping, scary, powerful, and yet, still beautiful. There is love. There is desire. There is pain. There is confusion. But most of all, there is an understanding you gain from reading this story. You learn to understand why maybe some girls are stuck, or choose to stay in abusive relationships. You may learn to understand the power and life behind a druggie. You may learn to appreciate life in ways you would've never seen before. The title of this book is perfect. It brings you into Caitlyns life - where everything seems fast paced at times, and slow at others. It's a life where nothing seems like it could be real. But the effects of living in this dreamland can kill her, but leaving it might also. I feel like I have learned from this book, something about myself, and other girls who may've gone through what Caitlyn has, and also the life behind someone like Rogerson.
Charming, mysterious, and attractive; the first impression of Rogerson Biscoe. One would not think that someone who seemed so gentle could be capable of such monstrous things. Caitlin who is desperate to escape her older sister Cass's shadow and find comfort in her sudden departure. Instead she finds Rogerson the answer to all of her problems.. or so it seems. He brings in a few problems of his own; drugs and abusive habits. Caitlin soon gets hypnotized by his charm and quickly get's mixed up in his dark side. She turns her back on the people in her life that she cares most about, and with one decision she completely alters her life as she knows it. Seems in today's society lots of women and girls get mixed up in abusive relationships, Dessen in this book searches for the answer as to why girls feel trapped in this situation. She captures that by showing that Caitlin lacks love and Rogerson give's that to her, though only when she isn't late for meeting him, and talking to other guys, in this case doing thing that are apparently very wrong in Rogerson's mind. In Caitlin's life she has many people she can turn to for help like her sister, her mom, her best friend, and her neighbor, though shame overrides her want and her need to be rescued, from Rogerson deathly grasp on her and her world. Dessen does an astonishing job of showing Caitlin's struggles to over come her drug addiction and to escape Rogerson's fists. Dessen has generated a novel full of happy memorable moments as well as dark blood curdling scenes, only making the readers never want to put the novel down. She shows young girls and even women that it is hard to escape an abusive relationship, but no impossible. This is by far one of Dessen's greatest novels. She captures the essence of Caitlin's double life in her odd fun loving family, and Rogerson's dark secrets, drug addiction, and his dark abusive side. In this book she demonstrates how Caitlin get's into this mess and how she escapes. Though it took lots of bruises along the way she overcame her addiction and her need to be loved by a man who loved her only after she is beaten several times. Dreamland is definitely a recommend read, Dessen did an incredible job on portraying what it is like to be in an abusive relationship
this book is my faveorite book as of FOREVER im 13 and i can realate and i absoloutly love this book. its wonderful.
I loved this book!! If you are wondering if you should get it... just get it!!! Best book I have read in a while!
I read it in the beginning of my sixth grade year and it had to have been one of the best books iveread in a while. Really, this book tells you to be careful abou who you chose to love and be with. That once you make choices they might not turn out how you want rhem to.
This book shows how anyone with stay will someone else, just because they feel needed. I liked this book because it also showed the way of a teenage girl trying to carve out her OWN path. It is not made by her older sister or her mother anymore. It is a great story that shows how one change or move in a life can change someone elses life.
I practically cried my eyes out after reading this amazing book. It shows what people actually go through and opens up a whole new world to us. People usually have parents who do what Rogerson does and think that it's how a relashionship is supposed to be. I love Sarah Dessen PLEASE keep up the amazing work!!!
I finished this book in tears. It is so good!
Dreamland Dreamland is a heart-tearing story by Sarah Dessen about a girl named Caitlin who finds love in a boy named Rogerson. They fall in love so deep that when he started to abuse her, she can’t pull away. Even after her sister runs away and Rogerson gives her drugs, she finds comfort in him. She is pulled from her family even more. This heart-warming story will have you intently reading till the end. I recommend this book for anyone in need of a brilliantly written sob story. Rebecca G.
I love this book . It is the perfect mix of every thing i likenin a book. However i gave it a four star because it is to short all of the suspence was building up and then it just droped like she got tired of writing the book. This book is ok but so far my fave sarah dessen book is someone like you. Like i said good book but she definitley has better ones
I really liked this book. I liked the story behind it. But i think that the reason why everybody was so disappointed is because the most exciting part of the book doesn't come until the ennding of the book. All of Sarah Dessen's books are like that. She takes about 100 and something pages to explain the story behind every character and then thats when it starts to get exciting. I like to read books in less than a week. So if you have time, try not to read one chapter one day, then another one next week, because then you'll hate this book. but if you're a fast reader, read it the same day if you can. Thats what i did, and i really really liked it!!
Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors now, but this was the first book I read by her. I didn't like it AT ALL. The whole book felt detached, as if she was half asleep and nothing really made sense. I never felt like I actually knew the characters either. It felt too rushed and the whole "everywhere we go happens to be extremely dark" thing got old fast. I was very cautious reading another Dessen book after this, but luckily This Lullaby fixed my faith in her. Read her other books before trying to stay awake during this one.
I would recommend this book to a person who is okay with reading a book that is a story of struggles, this is not a happy book. Although the ending does redeems itself, so if you love to see endings in which the main character survives and gains back what is lost, then this book is for you. The main story line of this book "Dreamland" is that of a teenage girl and her family, relationships, and internal struggles. Her sister was an all around star, academically, socially, and physically. She was constantly being overshadowed by her sister, feeling a lost of identity. Not that her sister tried to be an overcast, she allowed herself to be overshadowed and her mother was very bad at the equality of attention, and support. On her 16th birthday her sister runs away, having her birthday forgotten, and her mother completely distraught and occupied with getting her sister back. Caitlin tries out for the cheerleading squad because her best friend nags her too and she would be doing something similar to her sister. She makes it and is beginning to gain her mother back through her busy schedule. One night Caitlin is running into the gas station and she spots a mysterious boy, he is just staring at her from the hood of his car. Caitlin is not able to shake the impression of this guy. Later at a party she runs into him and learns his name is Rogerson, she ends up leaving with him. She begins to build a relationship with him. What drew Rogerson to Caitlin was that he was all new, something that her sister never touched. As she keeps seeing him she discovers he's a pot dealer; she stays with him. Over time she begins to smoke pot, all her extra time she spends with him. She starts to slip away from her family, friends, and commitments. Rogerson is very demanding of her, becoming angry if Catlin is late meeting him. He begins to hit her, and it starts to become a regular occurrence and she doesn't know how to get out of it. As you can see this is a story about a girl who looses herself. If you are willing to ride out the hard times to see her hit rock bottom, and recover. Recovering is a long and painful process. She has to learn how to build up her relationships, to trust and to find herself again. The ending will not fail you, you will leave this book with a sense of hope and revitalized.
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen is a great page turning book. It is mainly about Caitlin, who becomes a completely different person after her sister, Cass, runs away. She ends up a cheerleader, taking drugs, and having an abusive boyfriend. This book always makes me want to know whats going to happen next, and how she is going to deal with the next hole shes dug herself into. You feel like you really know Caitlin, and you understand why she does all the things that she has done wrong in her life. Even though you know they aren't right, the things she does always seems a little bit better when she explains her reasoning. It makes you think about actions a little more and the thought process behind it. It is very well written and I would recommend it to girls because it is written more for them. I would pick up this book if you get the chance!
Great look at teen relationship problems/situations. New look at what victums of domestic violence need to remember and to do, the girl in this book shys away and avoids help all because she thinks she has no one to turn to. It reminds readers that you always need to be there for somebody and know that there is always someone to go to.
this book based on relationships, pressure, and friendship was absolutely amazing. Ive read this book three times and i always get shocked on the same parts. Its emotional, realistic, and informant. I absolutely loved it.
When i read this book i couldnt help but cry. The fact that the guy she thought was amazing begins to abuse her she didnt have a clue on what to do. This book is so realistic cause it reminds me so much of a person. Dessen did an incredible job on this novel.
At first I was not sure if I would like this book. To be honest I thought the main character was a guy. Until she talked about a skirt. You may laugh but I dose not tell where any girl things may be brought up. I thought when Catlin was being abused It was really sad I almost wanted to cry for her because she did not know he would be like this. I would recommend this book to 7th grade and older. It was really good but It had mature things in it. Older kids would be able to understand more. I think this book is a 5 out of 5 it was really good. I would defiantly read this book again.
This book is absolutely amazing. You hear people saying how some books are amazingly realistic and they felt like they were actualy there, sometimes you might not believe it, but in this book it is so true. (If you have not read this book yet, do not read this part) When Rogerson first hit Kaitlyn, I was so surprised. I mean after a while it kind of made since, seeing as Rogersons father ofton hit him, but at that moment i was very surpried. And at the very end when she was calling him back and telling him not to leave, even after all that he had done to her, it absolutely broke my heart. Because she was very much in love and emotionally attached to him that she wanted to be with him even though he had harmed her. Sarah Dessen is an absolute genius. I have read almost all of her books and I have never been let down by one. I strongely recomend this book. It is beautiful, realistic, and absolutely amazing.
This book was awesome. It was kind of depressing. I remember at when i was going to bed one night i was kind of depressed cause i was reading this right before. It is a really good book. I loved it.
I loved this book! I recommend it to anyone who wants something they just can't put down. Even if this isn't your favorite book ever, you will get some kind of insight from it--I did.
This book was fantastic. It was a little hard to get into, but at the same time the story really came together and everything had a huge significance. This story is extremely emotional and heart wrenching. I would suggest this book to any teenage girl dealing with an abusive relationship and anyone who seems to be stuck with their current situation in life. Making this incredible/average journey with the lead Caitlin truely inspires you to look inside yourself and encourages you to help yourself. I had thought that this was going to turn out to be a happy ending,typical relationship book and then out of no where the plot twists and you see deeper into the relationship and you can't let go of the book. While it was difficult for me to finish to see what the final outcome would be, it was deffinately worth it. I would recommend this book to almost anyone!!
One of the best books I've ever read, this was the third Sarah Dessen book I've read and I can see that right now it is my favorite. I could not put it down. For anyone who loves Sarah Dessen, or anyone who wants a good story read this book, you will not be disapointed.