Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein

  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Source: eARC provided by the publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

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?

My Thoughts

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.


20 comments:

  1. Another five stars? Wow! You're on roll with these books;) I love a book with broken characters and I haven't read Pretty Amy yet, so I certainly must. Luckily with companion novels it's great that you don't have to read them in the right order so maybe I'll start with Cassie's story. It sounds so different, because usually our heroines are not bullies, but rather the opposite. I'd be delighted to read something different for a change. And Ben? He sounds awesome! Thank you so much for your thoughts, Amy! Cannot wait to read this :)

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

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    1. I have been getting lucky with some great reads lately. You don't have to read them in order. You could start with this one if you wanted to. Ben was fantastic. I thought he was great!!

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  2. Oh, I loved Pretty Amy too! I have Dear Cassie but I haven't read it yet and so I'm really, really happy that you loved this one. I didn't really like Cassie in the first book but it sounds like we see a whole enw side of her in this book so that's awesome. I also can't wait to meet Ben. Great review hon!

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    1. I loved getting to know Cassie better. It makes you understand why she is the way she is. Oh, man that is one really messed up girl. Can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  3. I have a copy of Pretty Amy, but I still haven't read it although I've head some great things about Lisa Burstein. I'm so glad that you loved this book, Amy! I can totally see through your review that you were really passionate about this book.
    Cassie sounds like such an interesting character. It's so intriguing that she isn't very likable at first but then she grows on you. I love when authors do that because it's showing character development. Ben sounds like another character that I will love. He seems like a really bubbly guy.
    I better read Pretty Amy first!
    Lovely review, Amy! :)

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    1. You don't need to read Pretty Amy first, but it will help you know why Cassie is where she is and what let to it all in better detail. I really loved Cassie's story. I thought it was fantastic!! Lisa is great at writing flawed and broken characters.

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  4. Nice review doll. I need to read Pretty Amy.

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    1. Thanks babe!! I hope that you like Pretty Amy when you read it.

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  5. Oooh, I really liked Pretty Amy, but I wasn't sure if I would read Dear Cassie, because I didn't like The Next Forever, which went in more of a New Adult direction. Sounds like Dear Cassie is more like Pretty Amy. Good to know! Also, I want to meet Ben!

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    1. Dear Cassie is YA not New Adult. Cassie is more brash than Amy though, so there is a lot of swearing in it. It is like Pretty Amy though. It's just Cassie's story of what happens when she get's her mandatory punishment.

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  6. I have yet to read Pretty Amy which is crazy because it sounds like a book that I would love so freaking much! I really want to get started on this series, especially now because this one sounds really good too so I know I'll get two great books out of it. Ben sounds awesome, I love a good love interest that we can all swoon over!

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    1. He was so fun!! I really loved his character. Being inside Cassie's head is very dark and emotional, and Ben was like a light in the dark. He was very persistent too. There is a good reason why Cassie tries as hard as she can to not let herself get close to him.

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  7. Eeep -- just skimmed your review because I'm reading this soon but SO glad that you loved it!

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    1. Ohhh I can't wait to see what you think!!

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  8. Like Jen, I didn't read your review very thoroughly b/c I'm reading this soon, too. I know you and I are both huge fans of Lisa's and I have super high expectations for Dear, Cassie!

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  9. I agree w/you. I love Lisa's writing. Her characters are so real and flawed, I enjoy learning more about them all. Poor Cassie, she goes thru a shitload of crazy stuff, and she's pretty jaded, but it was great seeing her change and grow thru this book. Great review!

    Vivian
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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  10. Oh I'm glad you loved this one! I really need to be sure to read it since I enjoyed Pretty Amy and I'm anxious to get Cassie's story. I want her to have that HEA. :)

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  11. Glad to hear this book is good. I have been wanting to read a book by this author. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  12. Oh the way you talk about Ben makes me this this book is a must for me.

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  13. I didn't realize this was a companion to Pretty Amy I thought it was just a whole other book. Sounds just as emotional. Characters going through a lot. It is hard to like the bullies but sometimes they do have a horrible history that affects the way they act. Ben sounds like a sweet guy and I love when the love interest stays a bit mysterious.

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