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?
I remember when I read Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein. I remember that it tugged at my heart and threw me for an emotional roller coaster ride. The story, the writing, the characters…it was all just so beautiful, and I remember that I wanted more. I read about Amy, sure, but I wanted to know more about Lila and Cassie. So, I was thrilled when I learned that Lisa Burstein was writing Dear Cassie, and I was not above begging and pleading if I had to to be a part of the Dear Cassie Blog Tour over at Rockstar Book Tours. Thankfully, it didn’t quite come to that.
Dear Cassie was so emotional and beautiful. It was so….raw. In Pretty Amy, we only got a small taste of Cassie. We learned that she had a horrible home life, she was emotionally screwed up, she did drugs, she didn’t really care about her life, and she had absolutely no taste in guys. Dear Cassie takes off right after Pretty Amy, and Cassie is sentenced to go to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp (somewhat of a boot camp) for 30 days. There she is forced to write about her troubles and her thoughts, interact with both friends and foes, do physical labor, suffer from poison ivy, and accept herself and her past.
I loved Dear Cassie so much. As someone who doesn’t overly love contemporary books, I get so extremely excited when I find ones that I fall head over heels in love with. And that’s exactly what happened with Dear Cassie. Cassie’s character was strong but weak at the same time. I found so much inspiration and strength in her. And those times that she wanted to fall down, I just wanted to pick her right back up and set her on her feet. I haven’t loved a character as much as I loved Cassie in a very long time, and kudos to Lisa Burstein for giving life to her.
This book does focus a lot on the topic of abortion, which could possibly offend some of you. I found it to be beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s not my place to say whether or not I agreed with Cassie’s decision, but it was a wonderful experience watching her come to terms with her decision. It was really hard, though, for me to read about her constantly punching her stomach (after the baby was already gone), because it was just too painful. I can’t imagine being in that type of position and it was just utterly heartbreaking.
On a negative note, I hated Ben’s character. Ben is a guy at Turning Pines Wilderness Camp, and he develops this weird thing for Cassie. I kind of wanted to see her end up with noone. I didn’t even want a semi crush or relationship in the book, because I felt that Cassie really needed to learn that she could survive without a man in her life. I also found Ben to be very controlling, something that I can not stand in men.
The ending of the book infuriated me. It’s not what I wanted or expected, and I’m hoping that maybe there will be another book about Cassie. Her story is really unfinished right now, and I hate when books end that way.
Overall, I flat out adored this book. It was beautiful, romantic, sweet and heartbreaking. It discussed topics that were difficult to read but necessary for the story. Dear Cassie was such a realistic story, and I cannot wait to read more from Lisa Burstein in the future.
Publication Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and is glad to finally have it be worth more than the paper it was printed on. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.
She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.
PRETTY AMY May 2012 Entangled Publishing THE NEXT FOREVER January 2013 Entangled Publishing DEAR CASSIE March 2013 Entangled Publishing
1 paperback copy of Dear Cassie (U.S. only)
1 ebook copy of Dear Cassie (International
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