Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Dreamland Social Club - Tara Altebrando

Where I got it: Publisher/ library
Rating: 3.5 stars
Cover Rating: 4.5 stars (Ummm...certainly very bright, I do love the colors, even though there are sooo many. I love the mermaid holding the sign, and the font for the title/author fits nicely.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 12, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Page Count: 389 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Jane and their brother have inherited a house on Coney Island from the grandparents they have never met. They have never really stayed in one place to long. Their fathers job and mother's free spirit took them around the globe. Now with their father unemployed and their mother dead, they take the opportunity to visit their mother's home. Jane is obsessed with finding out more about her mother's childhood. Her brother couldn't care less, he is busy living here like he's lived everywhere. Jane doesn't feel like she can fit in at Coney, there are lots of cliques and none of them seem to accept her. When she sees a beautiful tattooed boy though, some of his tattoos bring up memories that are hidden deep in Jane's mind. With his help and some of his "freak" friends, Jane just might find a place for herself in this strange land that her mother once loved. She might just find some other answers, even if they aren't the ones she was hoping for.

First off, the ARC version I received for review was missing 30 pages near the page 120 mark. Luckily I had a copy of it on order at my library so I snatched that up after I finished, so I could see what I missed. This novel was a weird one, but in a good way. Coney Island sounds like a mythical land full of strange sights and people. Coney seemed to become a place where Carnys gathered, even though there was no more carnival. We come upon Coney in it's slow downfall. Shops and rides are in disrepair, and some are trying to make something new, while others want what is left restored. This novel was about a lot of things, so some messages were half thoughts. This story was about a girl trying to define herself through what her mother once was. A tale of a magical place that could come alive again if people believed in it and wanted it to happen enough. A novel about finding friends and other relationships in unlikely places and finding acceptance. Some may be weirded out by the setting, it's a little freaky-deaky at times, and the teachers seem  a little odd too. I love that they have a local history class with plenty of field trips, but I cringe at the mention of the Thomas Edison electrocution of and Elephant video.  I thought this was a fun novel that was heartbreaking at times. Every time Jane came to a dead end, or was let down I felt myself feel crushed for her. Her memories of her mother are what she should have been holding onto, like her brother did. It sounded like their mom was a ton of fun though. The characters in this novel were very unique and often outspoken. I think this was a great novel about acceptance, above all the other things it was about. It also made good points about how the past was the past. If you get a chance to pick this up, I strongly suggest you do.

First Line:
"I'm at the beach but it's not the real beach; it's indoors and it's called the Ocean Dome."

Favorite Lines:
" Maybe it hadn't really been the seahorse at all. Maybe it had just been him. She remembered the first day they'd talked on the boardwalk, the way she'd imagined climbing into a submarine and telling each other their darkest secrets."

Others who loved it: Buried in Books
Other who didn't love it: Teen Bibliophile

1 comment:

  1. I read an ARC of this one too. I hope mine wasn't missing any pages. I don't think it was as the story flowed for me. I enjoyed it. I felt like Coney Island was a character in the novel it was so integral to the novel. It was one of the most unique stories I've read in awhile. I really enjoyed it. Your review summed it up perfectly.



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