Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dreamland


I decided to plunge into the Sarah Dessen summer challenge by going to the library to read my first Sarah Dessen book. It seems inconceivable that this is my first ever read of this prolific YA author, but I've been concentrating on YA lit for boys.

Dreamland is about Caitlin and her mysterious new bad-boy boyfriend Rogerson, green-eyed and troubled. She wants to protect him from the cruel wrath of his father, and in him, she finds a mirror of herself -- the less than perfect, less than stellar younger sibling. But Rogerson soon consumes her in his jealousy and his rage and Caitlin can't separate herself, even when she knows she's losing herself.

As an adult and a parent, this is a scary look into teenage domestic violence, and unfortunately as a teacher and a former teen, it brings back memories of certain teens in the middle of these types of relationships. I can feel the tightness in Caitlin's stomach as she tries to make sure that she is not late when Rogerson picks her up, not talking to anyone that may trigger his anger, not doing anything inappropriate, not talking too long, laughing too loud. . . How do we raise girls that will be strong enough to reach out for help? How do we raise boys who will respect females and release anger and frustration in more productive and creative ways? How do we as parents deal with the guilt of turning away, being blind to the adult problems that teens often face?

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