Tag Archives: Realistic Fiction

Dear Cassie – Lisa Burstein
Blog Tour
March 21, 2013 posted by Nichole

Dear Cassie – Lisa Burstein

13628374What 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?

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.


Pages: 352

Publication Date: March 5th, 2013

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Rating: : ★★★★☆

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5430977About Lisa:

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

Stalk Lisa: Website   Blog   Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads




1 paperback copy of Dear Cassie (U.S. only)

1 ebook copy of Dear Cassie (International

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When It Happens – Susan Colasanti
Book Reviews
December 30, 2010 posted by Nikki

When It Happens – Susan Colasanti

At the start of her senior year in high school, Sara wants two things: to get into a top college and to find true love.Tobey also wants two things for his senior year: to win Battle of the Bands and to make Sara fall in love with him. However, a popular jock named Dave moves in on Sara first. But Tobey’s quirky wit and big blue eyes are hard for Sara to ignore. Plus, he gets the little things that matter to her. Can a slacker rock-star wannabe win the heart of a pretty class brain like Sara?

Hilariously and movingly told through Tobey and Sara’s authentic voices, Susane Colasanti’s debut novel sizzles in its portrayal of two young people searching for The One.

Sara has two goals this year: get into her college of choice and score herself a very hot boyfriend. The first one should be pretty easy, since she’s super smart and has been working her booty off. When it comes to the second goal, though, Sara isn’t totally sure she can pull it off.

Enter Dave – new kid at school and totally hot property. When he starts casting his eye Sara’s way, she can’t believe her luck.

Tobey, also can’t believe his – his bad luck, that is. His two goals this year are to take his band to the next professional level, and score Sara as his girl. So when Dave beats him to the punch, Tobey enters serious boy moping mode. Tobey doesn’t understand why such a cool chick like Sara would be interested in a douche like Dave, but he doesn’t have the guts to ask her. He doesn’t have the guts to really even talk to her, which is probably why he missed out on dating her in the first place.

But then something changes. He watches Sara and Dave incessantly, and Tobey knows that Sara isn’t really happy dating Dave. He enlists the help of Sara’s friend, and before you know it, Tobey has Sara falling all over the place for him.

Being with Dave really isn’t all Sara thought it would be anyway. He’s boring, and really, she just doesn’t feel that spark. All of a sudden, Tobey is everywhere she is, and he’s all she can think about. Everything about Tobey feels right and everything about Dave feels wrong.

Tobey and Sara both feel the same way: they just can’t pass up the chance to feel something real, something honest. But is being with each other worth it? When you think you’ve found your soul mate, shouldn’t it be easy?

As Tobey and Sara learn, nothing about love is easy. Especially the real, honest-to-God kind.

I’ve read a couple of Susan Colosanti books before and absolutely adored them, and while Tobey and Sara’s story is indeed high up there on the cute meter, When It Happens wasn’t a real page turner for me. I just wasn’t feeling their love in the way I wanted to. I do, however, thing the younger YA readers will really dig this one. Sara’s innocence and drive to be a good person is inspiring, and she’s really a great role model for young girls. Tobey’s honesty and silly teenage lust is adorable, and the girls will really dig him.

If you’re looking for heart breaking romance, then this isn’t the book for you, but if you’re looking for something light and entertaining, then it sure might be. I’ll let you decide…

Pages: 310

Publication date: 2006

Rating:: ★★★☆☆

Teaser quote: “Then Sara looks right at me, catching me off guard. I am instantaneously transformed into this sweating, heart-pounding freak. I am no longer Tobey Beller. It’s weird that I am still able to speak in this condition.”