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?
I requested Dear Cassie because it sounded interesting. I have wanted to read more contemporary YA and this looked like a great addition to that category. Unfortunately, Dear Cassie just wasn’t for me.
First I want to point out the great thing about this book. Lisa Burstein did an amazing job of getting into her heroine’s head. She got inside Cassie’s head and it was as if you really are reading the words of this hard on the outside and broken on the inside teen.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Cassie is a frustrating and unlikeable character. She is whiney and annoying and mean and so closed off. Yes, she is very broken. Yes, what happened to her has left her with a significant amount of pain and grief – understandably so. Her inability to respect and love herself is sad and (because I’m not a monster – at least I don’t think so) I wanted to take her in and give her the love and parental support she really needs. But because her story is told in the first person and I was constantly in her head full of whiney self recrimination, I found it hard to turn the page. Ever chapter is titled “(number) of f***ing Days to Go.” And all I could think was “(number) f***ing chapters I have left read.” That is how frustrated I was with her character.
I, personally, saw very little growth in her character. And although I wouldn’t expect a ton of a growth in just a month’s time if I were dealing with a real live person, I guess I did kind of expect it with a fictional character that only has a few hundred pages to improve her outlook on life.
As for the other characters, I don’t have much to say. I think if this story had been told in the third person or in alternating first person POV, I could have understood the secondary characters better. Particularly Ben. I never quite understood his motivation behind pursuing Cassie.
This book was definitely not for me. The reason I give it 2 stars instead of 1 is due to the author’s ability to absolutely and unapologetically own her heroine. Even if I didn’t like this book personally, I can’t deny how impressive it is to have that ability as a writer.