By Sarah Dessen

Book overview


Dreamland is a teen novel by the American author Sarah Dessen in 2000.

 The book is split into three parts.

Part I: Cass


Caitlin O'Koren has just realized that on her 16th birthday, her 18-year-old sister, Cass, has run away. Everybody completely forgets about Caitlin's birthday. Her parents are broken-hearted, since Cass was supposed to attend Yale two weeks later.

 Everyone searches for Cass, but she soon makes a call saying she is with Adam, her boyfriend. Her father is furious, saying he had better expectations of her. Later on, Caitlin's friend, Rina, asks her to join the cheer leading squad, but Caitlin keeps refusing. Caitlin gives in and makes the squad, much to Boo's dismay. Caitlin's mother is very excited. Caitlin says that it's probably best to take her mind off Cass' departure.

 It turns out that Caitlin hates cheerleading, but she remains on the squad because of her mother, who sees Caitlin as Cass' replacement. On her 1st game at half-time, Caitlin goes to the top of the pyramid. While on top, she hears someone calling Cass's name. So, while thinking of Cassandra, Caitlin reaches up to find the scar from the shovel incident. She feels it, then falls to the ground, and someone from the bottom of the pyramid, runs out from under everyone to catch her. Luckily, the worst injury out of the pile of cheerleaders is a broken nose.

 Later on, Caitlin meets a boy named Rogerson Biscoe at the car wash, who is a drug dealer. They meet again at a party and she ditches Mike Evans to leave with him . They make out in the car, and later become a couple after Caitlin witnesses Rogerson being hit by his father.

Part II: Rogerson

 Caitlin and Rogerson's relationship becomes more physical. Rogerson introduces Caitlin to drugs and a woman in her mid-twenties named Corinna. They become best friends and begin to smoke pot.

 Caitlin begins to forget school which causes her to not attend classes and fail every class possible. Rogerson helps her with this, claiming that "he knows everything."

Caitlin soon begins to be abused by Rogerson when she does not tell Rogerson where she is, and when she is seen talking to other boys. Caitlin begins writing in the gift that she received from Cass, a dream journal. Caitlin begins to see Cass in a TV show that Cass's boyfriend works on. Caitlin's mom engages in the show, not caring about what's happening but finally seeing her daughter again.

 On Christmas Eve, Catilin finally agrees to sleep with Rogerson. She says later in the book that whenever they have sex it is the only time she feels safe.

 One day, Caitlin's friend, Rina, decides to take her out for some fun. They go to Rina's step fathers' lake house, but Caitlin was terrified because she knew that Rogerson was waiting outside of her house. She tried calling him, but he never picked up the phone.

 Caitlin walks away and heads home. She sees Rogerson parked in front of her house. She gets into his car and Rogerson becomes angry with her and begins to abuse her, until she is pushed out of the car. He continues to abuse her until Caitlin's mother shoves Rogerson away from her and calls for help. One of the neighbors calls the police, and Rogerson is arrested.

Part III: Me

 Caitlin joins the Evergreen Rest Care Facility after Rogerson is arrested. She comes in because of drug addiction, and after all Rogerson did to her, she still loved Rogerson. She starts counseling and begins a slow improvement.

 Caitlin gets a letter from her friend, Corinna, saying that she left her longtime boyfriend, Dave, and is in Arizona living her life, trying to forget her past. She says she hopes to see Caitlin again soon. She also gets a letter from her sister, Cass, saying that she did not want to go to Yale. She was having a tough time and wasn't happy with her parents' plans for college, which explains her sudden departure.

 Rina tells Caitlin that she ran into Rogerson at the Quick Zip and he briefly passed by her not saying a word or looking her in the eye. Caitlin realizes that she must prepare herself for the next time she sees Rogerson.

 At the end of the book, Caitlin is released but before she goes she takes a picture of the new her, and compares it to the old picture she once ripped but has put back together. Her family has a welcome home party with a special guest, Cass.

Dreamland quotes