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Dear Cassie

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted May 11, 2013

    Cassie has been sent to 'rehab' for the events that happened on

    Cassie has been sent to 'rehab' for the events that happened on prom night in Pretty Amy, the first book in the series. However, while she was expecting a spa-like atmosphere where she would be sharing her feeling in front of her peers, what she encounters at Turning Pines is at the other extreme of that scenario. Through hard labor, hiking and other physically straining activities Cassie is to work through her problems so that she can get on with her life and serve the sentence she was handed down. What she was not planning on was encountering her demons head on and opening her heart to another boy, especially after her experience back home.

    I loved this story! If I thought that Amy was complex and suffered through a lot of heartache after the events on prom night, Cassie exceeded Amy's emotional turmoil and then some. This time around I found myself not only sympathizing with Cassie, but also emotionally invested in her well being and survival.

    From the heart wrenching emotions that had me crying along with Cassie and feeling her frustrations, hesitations and pain to the lightness in spirit of having finally found a shred of hope in having a future, Lisa Burstein did an amazing job in bringing this emotional charged coming of age story to the page.

    I loved the way the author went about telling Cassie's story through diary entries. By using this method the author plunged me head-on into Cassie's emotional state bringing forth her every emotion in a way that truly touched me and endeared her to me. I admit that when I met Cassie in Pretty Amy I thought that she came across as a bully - selfish and uncaring. I was happy to see that this was all a front, a way for her to hide her true self so she wouldn't get hurt. Although she came across as strong, independent and a fighter, to have her break down and shed all her armor was a beautiful sight to see.

    Although Dear Cassie is the second book in the Pretty Amy series it can be read as a stand alone since the author provides a lot of back story of what happened in the previous book so that the reader can follow the story easily.

    I received this title from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    Where do I start with this?  I fu**ing love it! And Cassie is pr

    Where do I start with this? 
    I fu**ing love it! And Cassie is probably one of my fav characters now. She's so real, so normal and at times, such a mess I can't help loving her. 

    This is the first Lisa Burstein book I read, I had Pretty Amy on my TBR pile since before it came out, I just haven't got the chance... But trust me after this, I'm so reading it!

    Cassie got arrested on Prom night and instead of jail, she gets send to boot camp: no cell phones, no bathrooms, no internet and no earings. Absolute Hell. But for her, getting arrested isn't the real reason she's there. There's something else, something worse that lead to boot camp. 
    What's even worse is that Lila run away and she was the one behind what got them arrested, and Amy ratted her out to avoid jail time. 

    There are many things I love about Dear Cassie:
    The book is told in the form of diary entries, and through them we get to know Cassie in such a raw and basic level. 
    The secondary characters add to the story in a particular way each. Troyer is everything Cassie isn't and through her silence and notes she helps Cassie trust in someone again. I also like to how in her up front way, Cassie was just what Troyer needed. Nez is Cassie's other roommate and probably the bane of her existence but she knew just how to push Cassie's buttons. 
    And Ben... He slowly but surely makes you fall for him. He's everything Cassie doesn't want, what she's afraid of, but at the same time she can't stay away.
    The relationship between Ben and Cassie is one of the best things of the book. Is slow, sweet, innocent and heartwarming. It has a first love feel to it and Ben is probably one of the most loveable male characters ever. 

    At first, I wasn't too happy with how easy to see what "the thing" was, but as I continued reading I saw this wasn't about "the thing" so much as it was about how Cassie was dealing with it. Denial is a powerful thing, and putting into word something painful can be one of the hardestthings to do, reading Cassie's entries as she tries to get through that and somehow live afterwards you learn to love her, all of her: the tough girl thiat curses non stop and the scare one who hides behind her. 
    The ending was a bit abrut maybe? I mean I knew that was the end, I just thought there would be a bit more to it. In a way it fitted Cassie's personally perfectly. She just ended that chapter of her life.
    I Just want more of her... I need more of her. 

    Dear Cassie is a raw, emotional journey about lost friendship and heartbreak. Is about how sometimes we make desitions that later become too painful. Is story about forgiving yourself and lear to love yourself again. Is about finding love again.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the

    The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the cover. I used to play around with pictures, adding text that was almost invisible on the image but still you could see the basic outline and maybe read it if you stared at it long enough. When I saw this cover, that was all I could think about and I knew right away that I loved this cover without a doubt in my mind. Then I was certain that if I could love a cover just by looking at it, studying it, I knew that the story just might capture me as well. I actually debated about whether to request the title or not for awhile and then decided that there was no way that I couldn't. I loved the cover too much not to. So here I am, dry tear tracks on my cheeks (thank you very much, Lisa Burstein, you've made it onto my list) and determined to give this book the review it deserves. Although, I know that I probably won't make you cry over it. 
    Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein is a heart wrenching story of Cassie, a girl who probably punishes herself more than anyone would think she deserves. In her life, all she had was her brother and her two best friends to depend on but by the time everything went down, all she had was her brother. One of her best friends served her up on a platter for a lesser sentence for a crime they all committed and it is was all because of a boy, one who didn't deserve either of them. This boy destroyed Cassie's world and was the final nail in her coffin. Now forced to spend one month in a wilderness rehab, she must face the demons that she hid away under the walls she built around it and the guy who just might be worth her trust. The only solace she can find is in this Assessment Journal as people betray and hurt her constantly. She knows without a doubt that she deserves all of the punishment they give her, in fact she punishes herself just to teach herself that she isn't worth anything. She isn't worth forgiving. But people are determined to help her see beyond her faults and realize that she can forgive herself despite everything that has happened. Will she be able to forgive herself? Can she move beyond the things that weigh her down? Will she allow herself to be happy?

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  • Posted March 13, 2013

    By now, it¿s pretty much a given that anything Heather Riccio te

    By now, it’s pretty much a given that anything Heather Riccio tells me to read, I will read no questions asked.

    So when she asked for reviews for Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein, I was all over it. Heather never steers me wrong and Entangled publishes amazing work. I have a free copy of this for the express purpose of review, but I enjoyed it so much that not only is it a definite “MUST READ” for me, I’ll be purchasing a copy so that Lisa will write many, many more.

    Book Blurb:

    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?

    The Good:

    Needless to say, the story is gripping. It’s told entirely from Cassie’s point of view (obviously, as it’s a diary) and all of her turmoil is conveyed in raw, moving descriptions of her time at Turning Pines.

    Ultimately, Cassie is just an average teenager. She isn’t extraordinarily bad. She isn’t even really a little bad. She’s going through the same sorts of things that all teens go through as they try to figure out who they are and where they fit in with the rest of the world.

    As Cassie gets closer and closer to admitting to herself and more importantly to Troyer (I’ve already asked for her story!), it’s heartbreaking to see the effect that her secret has had on her.

    Cassie finally learns to start trusting herself, and others, again.

    Seriously, the writing is incredible. I felt all the feels that Cassie felt and I was right back in the middle of all the self-doubt I had when I was her age.

    Lisa doesn’t fall into the sometimes trap of writing teen characters for adults. They don’t have it all together. They aren’t confident. Her characters are still learning and trying to figure it out. They really are teens. Not teens the way that adults wish they’d been. So, BRAVA!!

    The Bad:

    Since it’s about Cassie and told from her point of view, I want more about the other characters! I’m looking at you, Lisa!


    Dear Cassie is incredibly touching. It’s a deep soul-searching journey for Cassie, as she struggles to come to terms with the long and often difficult journey into adulthood. (Doesn’t that sound all official and stuff?)

    Honestly, it’s just an incredible read and I think you should sit down and read it. Now.

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  • Posted March 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I loved Lisa Burstein's first book, Pretty Amy and have been eag

    I loved Lisa Burstein's first book, Pretty Amy and have been eagerly awaiting Cassie's story. It was everything I expected and more. I knew she was a broken person, more broken than Amy, but I didn't expect to embrace her as much as I did. I saw more of myself in Cassie, then I did in Amy so I think it was easier to connect with her. Their personalities were so different, yet the books gave me that same raw emotion. I really just love Lisa Burstein's writing and she has become an auto-buy author for me. She is able to capture the dark and real emotions that the characters go through so well that you want to climb inside the book and either hug them, yell at them, or smack some sense into them. That is what I look for in a book. That's what makes a book reach my favorites list!

    Cassie is not a character that I liked very much at first. The perception we get of her from Amy's story really makes her seem like a bully who doesn't care about anyone except herself, and really, she kind of is. But when you start to get to know the real her, and she gets to know herself better, things really change. It was so heartbreaking to know that she was beating her self up both literally and figuratively over something that she had gone through. That she wasn't able to forgive herself and thought she needed to be punished. She felt like she deserved worse than what she was going through. It was so sad to read some of it. She is not really a strong person for most of the book. When we start off she is actually weak, hopeless, unforgiving, and very much alone. It isn't until she lets herself open up, just barely to one of her cabin mates, and to Ben that she is able to start wanting to change herself. To start forgiving herself for things that she can't change. In the end, I really liked Cassie.

    What I really loved about this one was Ben. He is such a big part of it and he was so funny, and charming, but could still be super aggravating at times too. I loved the lightness he was able to bring to it. He never lets up on Cassie even when she tries so hard to push him away. He knows that there is a better person underneath than what she shows on the surface. He also knows that she is really hurting inside and wants to help her. He wants to care about her and have her care back. Ben was quite a mystery for a lot of the book. We know why everyone else is at this camp from hell, but we don't find out why Ben is there until almost the end and it made me love him that much more! I loved that he pushed Cassie's buttons and wouldn't let her shut him down no matter how many times she tried. He knew he wanted to get to know her and that there is a good soul inside of her even if she didn't think so.

    This book was amazing. I love to read stories that are realistic, honest, and deep. I love being proven wrong about what I might initially think of certain characters and grow to like, and even sometimes love them when I thought there was no way. The beauty and honesty of the writing is just breathtaking. I love how much Lisa Burstein can make me feel while reading her words on a page. I loved Amy's story, I loved Cassie's story, and I can't wait for Lila's story because I have no doubt I will love that too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    I was given this review copy from the publisher in exchange for

    I was given this review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    After being arrested on prom night (which you can read about in Pretty Amy, another awesome book by Lisa Burstein) Cassie is sent to Turning Pines wilderness camp. Here she rooms with two other girls who have just as many problems as she does. She also meets Ben, who despite being attracted to she initially keeps pushing away.

    Dear Cassie is beautifully written, with depth and understanding. We see all facets of Cassie's character, from the snarky to the desperately vulnerable. It's an emotional rollercoaster of a read. I couldn't put it down and would one hundred percent recommend it to anyone.

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