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By: Sarah Dessen

Book Summaries & Analysis:

Author Biography:

Sarah Dessen was born in Evanston, Illinois. She moved with her family to Virginia and then North Carolina where she now lives with her husband Jay. She has one daughter named Shay. When she was younger she droped out of Greensboro College and began taking classes at University of Carolina where she graduated with honors. She then was a waitress for some time and then left her job to accept a position as a teacher at UNC. After she went there she left that job to become a full time writter.

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Themes, Motifs & Symbols:

Themes - The theme of this book would be abuse. Whether it's physical or emotional. Also the hurt that most kids go through their teenage years. Teen relationships and the way that they interact with eachother.

Motifs- Some of the motifs in this novel would be the camera that Caitlin would use to take pictures of her suroundings. It shows the real capture of each person and reality.

Symbols- The symbols would be the car rides that Rogerson and Caitlin would take. This was like her going on a new journey everytime. She was in her own dreamland.

Plot Overview:

This book talks about 2 sisters Caitlin and Cass that are diffrent but alike in so many ways. Cass is the overachiever in the Family, and Caitlin has always been jealous of her. We soon find out that Cass's life is not as great as it seems. She is not happy at home, there is too much pressure on her. She falls in love over the summer and decides to run away. Caitlin is sad but takes advantage of the oppurtunity to make her parents proud of her just like they are of Cass. Caitlin joins the Cheerleading team even though she hates it. It make her mother happy, getting her involved in activites again. Caitlin then meets Rogerson Biscoe, this mysterious intelligent guy who also is a drug dealer. She quickly falls in love with him but as their realationship progresses she begins to show his true self, he physically abuses her. She stays with him until the situation gets out of hand and it becomes public. She is taken in a rehab facility and beings to recover. Towards the end of the book her sister returns, and she has never been so happy to see her, realizing that she needed her all along. The author Sarah Dessen dicusses how that even the most perfect child can be unhappy, and have problems like any other normal teenager.

Historical context:
The novel is modern time, and takes place around 2000-2001. It doesn't have any "historical Context"

Caitlin O'Koren-  She is a teenage girl that has always been jealous of her big sister Cass, after her sisters dissaperance she meets a new boy named Rogerson. She then gets into trouble and starts doing drugs and getting behind on her school work. She gets addicted to drugs and uses marijuanna often to escape the pain her boyfriend gives her
Cass O'Koren- She is Caitlins sister who is supposibly perfect in her parents eyes. She runs away to go and live with her boyfriend that has forever changed her life.
Rogerson Biscoe- He is Caitlins boyfriend , who is overprotective and won't allow caitlin to talk to other guys or even hang out with her friends. He physically abuses her and then pretends that everything is alright , he is scared that Caitlin will leave him.
Rina Swain- She is Caitlins best friend, she is known for being intemidating for her beauty and has all the girls at school jealous of her
Margaret O'Koren- She is Caitlins and Cass's mother, she is the most devestated with her daughter's disapearance.
Boo Connell- She is the next door neighbor. She is like a second mother to both Cass and Caitlin, she has always been there for them.

Setting-The setting is in a quiet neighborhood where they all know eachother and help eachother out.

Key Quotations-

"It was funny. What i loved most about Rogerson was that he took me to a place so far away from anywhere Cass has been"( Dessen 158).

"But Rogerson was always impatient, finishing whatever business he had and heading straight fot the door, making it clear he was ready to go" (Dessen 109)

"I thought her leaving might actually give me some growing room, a chance to finally strike out on my own. But this changed everything" (Dessen 16)

Study Questions-
1. Why was Caitlin so jealous of Cass?
2. What what the main reason Cass ran away?
3. What was it about Rogerson that attracted Cass?
4.Why does Cass not say anything whe she is being abused by Rogerson?
5. What was the reaction of Caitlins parents to all of this?

Movie Trailer -


Book Recommendations- Books that you might like to read
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Book reviews

"Dreamland is the secret story of many contemporary teen relationships. Compelling reading." - SLJ, starred review

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Works Cited