Dreamland Social Club-Tara Altebrando
Publication date: May 12, 2011
Source: Librarything Early Reviewers
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.
This year, I have yet to pick up a contemporary YA book I didn't enjoy. Dreamland Social Club floats to the top of the contemporaries for me for a few reasons. I'm a huge history nut, and I love the historical elements of this book. Not only are the characters interested in Coney Island history, but Jane must sift through the past to learn a bit more about her family and their legacy in her new hometown. I'm also a fan of the oddball in life, and there are plenty of odd characters and happenings in this novel.
To me, Coney Island is old New York. NYC is becoming 'yuppified' (for lack of a better word) and I wonder if the days are passing to legend when someone like Madonna or Patti Smith could head to NYC with just $40 and a dream. The characters share this thought, and Jane is torn between her father and how his job-hunt leads him towards the very people who want to strip away Coney's charm, and her new friends who want things to stay as they are.
I also enjoyed the unconventional love story in this novel. Not every novel has to feature romance front and center, and while there is a romantic sub-plot, I enjoyed that the relationship enhanced the story, but it wasn't the end all be all.
I really enjoyed Dreamland Social Club and if you're a YA fan, you must put this on your must-read list!