Review: Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein

Title:  Dear Cassie
Author:  Lisa Burstein
Series:  Companion to Pretty Amy
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Publication Date:  March 5, 2013
Pages:320 (eARC)
Format/Source:  eARC/Received from Publisher

Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Contemporary

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? (Synopsis from Goodreads, cover from Entangled Publishing)

A Plethora of Sarcasm and Four-Letter Words…

I really loved Cassie when I read Pretty Amy.  I didn’t love how she treated Amy, but I knew there was probably a reason behind it, and I’m glad that with Dear Cassie, we got to see more of what makes Cassie the way she is. And I absolutely adored her sarcasm!  I also loved seeing a bit of flashbacks to Cassie’s POV during the events in Pretty Amy, as well as seeing how Lila and Cassie met.  I think that was such a powerful scene, and it really explains how these unlikely friends came to be so close.

And this book is FULL of cuss words.  If that bothers you, let this be your warning.  I don’t mind it, and I actually think it totally fits in this book.  Cassie is the kind of girl who just doesn’t give a crap (or at least that’s how she wants people to think of her), and she’s also in this horrible rehab camp that would make any prim and proper teenager cuss under their breath.  So I actually enjoyed all the cussing, because I thought it totally fit the plot and the character.

Dual Appreciation…

As with Pretty Amy, I found myself appreciating Dear Cassie on two different levels.  I could relate with Cassie and all the other teens by thinking about how I was at that age–how all teens are.  But then I could also relate to Rawe, the woman in charge of the girls at the rehab, and as an adult, I can see how this rehab is not as horrible as all the teens think it is, and how it’s something that can completely change Cassie’s life for the better.  Like I said in my review of Pretty Amy, Lisa Burstein definitely has a knack for conveying teenagers’ actions and emotions, while also making the story extremely relatable to adults as well.

Great Quotes…

I found tons of really great lines in Dear Cassie, but here are some of my favorites*:

“This wasn’t rehab.  Rehab was supposed to be like a spa where you woke up in your nurse-made bed each morning and pretended to give a shit.”

“When we were invited to Lila’s house, Amy was always sitting cross-legged on the floor of Lila’s room when I got there, her gray eyes aimed on Lila, like she had grown out of the floor and Lila watered her every so often with a few words and a smile.”

“Ben must have already gone back to his cabin.  I wondered if he had come in and watched me sleep before he left.  If so, he would have probably seen my fists clenched, my face tight.  That was how I woke up every morning, like I wanted to tear up the air around me like paper.”

“He was really clueless.  I guess all boys were.  I guess that was how they were able to stomp on your heart without even noticing.”

“She moved through the channels quickly, letting each one get a word out, like she was trying to have the TV say a sentence for her.”

My rating for Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein:

Actually 4.5 stars.  I think I enjoyed this one even more than Pretty Amy, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Lisa Burstein in the future!
You may also enjoy: Sloppy Firsts │ Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review (Thanks, Heather Riccio and Entangled Publishing!). I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

*All quotes are from the eARC.  They may be different in the finalized version.


  1. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    February 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I do want to read this, so I'm glad you liked it! I still have to read Pretty Amy. Sometimes being a book blogger is like having homework all the time, only the best homework in the world!

  2. Brandi Kosiner

    February 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I love this cover, and have been considering reading Pretty Amy. I am glad that this one gave you a different side of things with Cassie.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  3. fakesteph

    March 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I've definitely been thinking about reading this one. I remember how much you enjoyed Pretty Amy, so I'm glad to hear that you loved this one even more.

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