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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

Jane has traveled the world with her father and brother, but it's not until her fractured family-still silently suffering from the loss of Jane's mother many years before-inherits a house and a history in Coney Island that she finally begins to find a home. With the help of a new community of friends, a mermaid's secrets, and a tattooed love interest with traffic-stopping good looks, the once plain Jane begins to blossom and gains the courage to explore the secrets of her mother's past.  
Colorful characters, beautiful writing, and a vibrant, embattled beachfront backdrop make this the perfect summer read for anyone who has ever tried to find true love or a place to call home.


First off, I love the cover of Dreamland Social Club. It's bright, eye-catching, and features a mermaid... It's kind of hard not to notice it, whether it's the kind of book you'd normally pick up or not. I'll be honest, I bought it based solely on my positive response to the cover, without knowing much about the actual plot.

Still, after reading the description, I knew that Dreamland Social Club was a novel I could potentially fall head-over-heels for. In fact, I was excited that the novel was set on Coney Island. The references to the theme parks that, at one time, enthralled visitors and employed the island's population were definitely my favorite part of the novel.

Unfortunately, despite the wonderful setting, Dreamland Social Club didn't win me over in the end. There were simply too many aspects that bothered me. 
  1. Jane's immediate feelings and preoccupation with the tattooed love interest, Leo, was an immediate turn off. There was zero tension and I couldn't understand how she developed feelings for him so quickly.
  2. I always felt a bit confused about how I was supposed to feel about the theme parks. Sometimes I felt like they were being portrayed as magical and wondrous, other times I felt like they were a bit creepy and shady... Honestly, I'm still confused.
  3. Jane's brother seemed like an ass, yet it never seemed to faze her. If he were my brother, I definitely would have had some strong words for him.
  4. The characters had very little depth. Even though I finished the novel only a handful of days ago, they're already becoming difficult recall.
I could probably go on, but I don't think it's really necessary. It's obvious that this book and I didn't mesh well. I was looking for more depth and the romantic elements held little magic for me.

But, if Dreamland Social Club sounds like something you might enjoy, please don't let my opinion stop you from picking it up! In fact, one of my bestest blogging friends, Katie (from Sophistikatied Reviews) adored this book! Check out a couple positive reviews below:

Sophistikatied Reviews:

365 Days of Reading:

Dutton Juvenile, May 2011 Hardcover, ISBN: 9780525423256, 389 pages


  1. I started reading this a couple of weeks ago and got about halfway before stalling out - the issues I have are the same as yours so I'm a little meh about finishing knowing it won't magically get better...


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