The obvious setting for Dreamland by Sarah Dessen is a non-descript, small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. It is small town, contemporary Americana. Gossip is frequent and affects the lives of those who live there.
Two other settings within the book represent different stages in Caitlin’s life, the time when her sister, Cass, is present, and the time after her sister leaves. Prior to her sister leaving, Caitlin’s world is set in her home, her neighborhood, and her school. This setting represents the life that Caitlyn lives as a teenager in small town America.
After her sister leaves, Caitlin makes some difficult, sometimes inappropriate choices. The settings change to those of her choosing; Rogerson’s house and car, Dave and Corrina’s house, and as the title suggests, in her hopes and dreams. The two settings are separate in Caitlyn’s mind with no bridge between them.