Sarah Dessen

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Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. How does Cass's running away effect the entire family?
  2. What clues are present in the first chapter that foreshadows the violence to come?
  3. What is Caitlin's dreamland? How does she find it?
  4. Who else in the novel is in dreamland?
  5. How do the next door neighbors, Boo and Stewart, bring balance to Caitlin's family?
  6. What attracts Caitlin to Rogerson in the first place? Why do you think she stays with him, even after he starts abusing her?
  7. How does Caitlin's drug use affect her decision making?
  8. What were the warning signs that Rogerson might be violent?
  9. What do Corinna and Caitlin have in common? Why are they friends? What do you think Corinna's character symbolizes in this story?
  10. Caitlin is tempted several times to tell her mother what is going on with Rogerson. Why can't she? Find various places in the story where she almost does. Discuss what is happening in each scene and what prevents her from sharing.
  11. Rogerson is at the same time tender, loving, violent, and abusive. Discuss what motivates Rogerson. How do you think he rationalizes his behavior? How does Caitlin rationalize hers?
  12. Caitlin slowly descends into this abusive relationship. Was it believable to you as a reader? Can you understand how she found herself in this situation?
  13. How does Caitlin leave her dreamland?
  14. What did you think of Caitlin's parents? Did you blame them at all for her situation?
  15. If your friend told you that their romantic partner was physically abusing them, how would you react? Would it be different after having read this novel?

Portions of this discussion guide are credited to Dreamland: A Reader's Companion by Patty Campbell and published by Viking Children's Books

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.