Lisa Burstein has done it again - DEAR CASSIE is full of raw emotion and unique characters. Cassie's story picks up after the 'prom arrest' in PRETTY AMY...
Cassie is tough, snarky and seems completely sure of herself. It seemed like nothing could shake this girl. Nothing. And then her and her friends, Amy and Lila, where arrested on prom night. And now she is working at a pizzeria, trying to keep out of trouble until she is shipped off to do her 30 days in rehab at a wilderness camp instead of jail. She's ready for it. Nervous, but anxious to get it done and over with... but before she goes, she meets Adam... secretly starts seeing him... and falls in love.
There are some serious consequences to falling in love; especially with the wrong person.
Cassie arrives at rehab broken but ready to keep the attitude going and to tough things out. She's got her armor on and no one will be able to penetrate it. No one will ever know her dark secret or what she feels and goes through on a daily basis. But under all that toughness, there is a very scared and lonely girl; her bad-girl-I-don't-give-a-**** attitude isn't fooling anyone. And Cassie soon realizes that she is starting to unravel and doesn't know how much she can hold it together until everyone finds out the truth that she's been so desperate to hide.
When Cassie first arrives at camp, she meets Ben, who instantly takes a liking to her and reaches out to her. Ben's story is rare, and he is a good guy. He doesn't care what Cassie's past is about. Ben is willing to accept her, all of her, including her flaws and past. But Cassie has sworn off boys. They're not trustworthy, no one is. She can barely look herself in the eye; and if Ben ever found out the truth about her, he would never want to have anything to do with her. So why waste her time with the emotional roller-coaster of trying to have any type of relationship with him.
And then there are Cassie's roommates: Nez, the pathological liar. Troyer, the mute.
Nez was who Cassie used to be - the person who would take charge of the situation, who would answer back with smart-ass witty remarks. They obviously didn't get along, they were too much alike.
It was hard to understand Troyer at first. She didn't speak and although she did sometimes write things down, it wasn't enough to get a good reading on her, at first. Little by little, Cassie grew patient with her and they did develop a sort of friendship. One that helps Cassie immensely. One that she will never forget.
Lisa Burstein's writing is captivating - you can taste Cassie's angst and worries. You can also feel the grimness and smell the dirt of the camp. It is definitely one that I would never want to vacation at, let alone, send anyone in for rehab. Lisa tackles some tough issues that unfortunately some teens are faced with nowadays, self-harming and pregnancy. And Cassie's casual use of the f-word was to be expected and laughed at. It fit her personality so well, I couldn't imagine her any other way.
Overall, DEAR CASSIE is about forgiveness to oneself. You don't have to forget what has happened, but to learn and grow from it. It's also about letting your walls down, taking chances and finding a way to do better, to liking yourself. Because if you don't don't, no one else will be able to either.show more
by Margie C