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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.
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?
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!!
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.