Joint Review: Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein
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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?[/note]
[quote style=”3″]Are you there, Smokey Bear? It’s me, Cassie. (Opening sentence)[/quote]
Dear Cassie….you made me cry – uncontrollably. When I first started reading you I fell madly in love with your grace and stubble humor. You stirred emotions in me I didn’t foresee coming and I’m so glad I could share in your heartache, laughter, pain and growth. You’re exceptionally well written and I can’t give you enough praise. Well done Dear Cassie, well done…
Dear Cassie is the heart-wrenching story of Cassie and the repercussions she suffered from one night of tragic mistakes. When we are fist given a glimpse of Cassie we are introduced to her bad a$$ attitude and foul mouth, a girl who likes to smoke and who doesn’t play well with others. Not having read the previous novel in set in the same world, Pretty Amy, as a reader I was still hopelessly drawn to our main character and kept wondering what happened on that catastrophic prom night and what secret Cassie buried inside herself to make her hold such animosity towards other people, especially boys. Burstein dropped little clues through out the story and this kept me reverently turning pages. And the more pages I turned, the more obsessed I became with the characters.
Overall, I can’t say too much about this beautiful novel without spoiling the fun of discovering it for yourselves. If you’re craving a break from the paranormal and want to embrace your emotions, then this is the story you need to grab. I highly recommend it to parents and teens in hopes that you all can laugh and cry together and it opens up the discussion of heavier subjects that most teens find uncomfortable to express to adults. Even though the ending is open and encourages readers to use their imagination, Dear Cassie is a true treasure and should be on every bookshelf.
5 out of 5 Controllers
Dear Cassie marks and records the struggle of one young girl who ends up in a rehab camp after a few bad decisions. It’s a touching story that shows us the journey of trust and love when you’ve known nothing but lies and deception. Each page unfolds her battle, both internal and external.
Cassie goes to this camp instead of jail. On prom night, she is out joyriding, with her girlfriends. They had primped, dressed, and were all set to have the night of their lives. That was until their dates failed to show up. In a fit of anger and pain, one of the girls breaks into her boyfriend’s house and steals his stash of weed. The rest is pretty much history, and Cassie pays the ultimate price.
In between this night and days before she leaves, naïve Cassie falls for a boy. She lets down her guard and believes his sweet words. Thing lead to other things, and well you’ll get the whole picture eventually, but I’m not giving it away.
Camp becomes repentance for Cassie as she struggles through the rehabilitation program. It’s designed to teach survival skills. The kids, under supervision, learn to follow rules, prepare meals, build fires, and pitch tents. Most times they must work together, and this is something the kids have a tougher time with.
At night they are asked to write in their journals. It’s an exercise that many of us know, but even Cassie fights writing the bitter truth of why she is here. To her it wasn’t about the drugs or even prom. Only her brother knows the absolute truth of what kind of monster she is.
Over all I enjoyed Dear Cassie. I didn’t get a chance to read the previous book in the series, and it isn’t needed to read this one. I might pick it up in the future though because I found the dropped tidbits rather interesting.
This is a YA book, but how young would be up to the parent and child. While it is relatively clean, there is sexual tension and sex related themes that make up the plot. Sadly, it’s a bit of a spoiler to come out and say what it is. I’d say 17+ is safe, and probably on par for the author’s audience.
The author did a wonderful job in creating Cassie. I liked her spunk, and I found myself laughing at her words/jokes. She reminds me of myself when I was that age, so I can definitely say totally relatable character to anyone who lived through teenage angst.
The ending surprised me. Diayll and I both read this (obviously), but I found myself wanting more closure. All in all it was the only part of the book that I didn’t love, but in the defense of the author, if there is more planned to further the story, then I get why she chose to end it that way. When I first picked up Dear Cassie, I didn’t realize it was a part of a series. Definitely an author and series to watch out for.
4.5 out of 5 Controllers
Reader Question: Have you read Dear Cassie? If so what are your thoughts?