Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
Jane’s used to moving around and never settling down in one place for too long. But when she and her older brother Marcus inherit a house – the same house their deceased mother grew up in – from the grandfather they’ve never met in Coney Island, Jane’s intrigued by the idea of getting to know who her mother was, and more importantly, who she is without her mother.
Never really fitting in any place she’s lived, Jane sets out to start a life of her own in Coney Island. A life where she tries to retrace her mother’s steps in the hopes of finding her own. But she finds a whole lot more than just herself in Coney Island. In her own attic she’s found Coney’s past. In her basement, she’s found a (practically) brand new vintage wardrobe that belonged to her long gone grandmother Birdie.. And at school she found a group of people who seem vastly different on the outside, but just like her on the inside that she calls friends. But above all these things, Jane’s found Leo, a beautiful tattooed boy who will change her life forever.
Dreamland Social Club, written by author Tara Altebrando, is an unforgettable read that will transport readers back in time to Coney Island’s past while closely examining the happenings and politics of today. Well developed and well written, it’s a realistic book that feels a lot like fantasy. There’s something magical about this book. Readers will be able to see the famed Wonder Wheel, to hear the lapping waves upon the shoreline, and even taste the piping hot knishes Jane and Leo love.
Altebrando excels at painting a beautiful portrait. Instead of just telling her audience she shows us. It’s amazing how seamlessly she combines Coney Island’s past and present by interweaving facts, rides, and various happenings. In many ways, Dreamland Social Club is like a history book. Only it’s far more exciting.
Featuring an extraordinary cast of characters, Dreamland Social Club is a book that anyone could relate to. From Legs the giant to Babette the Goth dwarf, each character has their own unique story to tell, adding a layer of depth to an already deep story. Of all the characters though, Jane is the one character that readers will find a little bit of themselves hidden within. She’s a heartfelt character who struggles with the same thing we all struggle though: finding who we are in a crazy mixed up world.