Expected publication: March 5, 2013
What if the last place you should fall in love is the first place that you do?
You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
You’d be wrong.
There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.
What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?
But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t—he can’t—the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.
And yet I can’t help but wonder…what if?
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We first met Cassie in Pretty Amy as part of the trio of friends that broke into a guy's house after they were stood up for prom night, stole his pot, and managed to get themselves arrested with it. Cassie was the "tough guy" of the group, never showing emotion and never really letting anyone in. In Dear Cassie, we find out why she is so closed off from relationships and so guarded with her emotions. Besides Cassie's tough childhood and getting arrested with a crap load of pot on prom night, she is also trying to figure out how to deal with a life altering decision she was forced to make after the arrest. Now Cassie is being sent to rehab to try to keep herself out of jail, but she wonders if this will be enough? Will it really help her?
I have developed a love/hate relationship with Lisa Burstein. And I use the word "hate" in a very loose sense because I don't really mean hate. This is the third book I've read by this author. (Well, two books and one novella. Review on the novella coming soon.) I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised that I have enjoyed them so much. On the surface, Dear Cassie may look like a typical YA book with a whiny "oh poor me" main character where everything pretty much turns out perfectly even though they complain about their hard life the whole time, but you get so much more than that. Lisa Burstein manages to capture the raw emotions and effectively portray them so that the reader can relate to the character and the situation. Both Pretty Amy and Dear Cassie take real situations and show how hard it can be to deal with the consequences. I enjoy this type of YA/NA book and wish that I had been able to find these when I was that age. Now for the "hate" part. I rarely find myself so drawn into a character's world that I am disappointed at the end of the book. Not disappointed in the story but disappointed that it was over because I was so drawn into Cassie's world that I want to know what happens next. What is Cassie's next step? I am really hoping we find out in a follow up. Is Lila's story up next? I hope so.
A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Read my review of Pretty Amy.
About the author:
Lisa Burstein received her MFA in Fiction from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She lives in Portland, OR, with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Dear Cassie is her second novel.
According to her twitter profile: "I write to help girls like me turn into girls not like me."
Find out more at LisaBurstein.com, on Twitter, and Facebook.