Popular author Tara Altebrando’s Dreamland Social Club is a magical novel about one vagabond family finding a home. Still pained by the loss of her mother years earlier, Jane has been all over the world with her brother and father. Once they plant stakes in New York’s Coney Island, Jane begins to feel settled. And the mermaids, dwarves, bearded girls, contortionists, and tattooed boys certainly keep things interesting.
I was slightly hesitant when going into Dreamland Social Club; Having just finished up two amazing contemporaries, I knew that Dreamland Social Club was going to have to be spectacular for me to like it, and it was just that – spectacular.
Dreamland Social Club is weird and quirky and kooky, and I loved it. The main character, Jane, is trying to figure out who she is, who her mother was, and how this strange closed-off place (Coney Island) fits into the mix. It was so much fun watching Jane find herself through memories of her mother and also through old relationships and friendships of families from Coney Island. The setting of Coney Island is, I think, what makes this book so quirky. It’s not just New York City, but a specific place – a place that conjures up notions long before the reader starts reading and it was fun to take my preconceived thoughts and see how they were worked into the novel.
Watching Jane grow into herself and accept herself was by far the most enjoyable part of the novel. And the minor characters who helped Jane along the way were just as kooky as Coney Island. This novel is full of characters that you won’t soon forget. Fans of Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King will enjoy for sure.