Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein

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By:  Lisa Burstein
Release: March 5, 2013
Pub. Entangled Teen
Pages:  352


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.

Dear Cassie, by Lisa Burstein, was a great coming of age story.  I enjoyed that it was written partially in journal format, as she writes in her, "assessment diary," and I felt like I was able to read Cassie's most intimate thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  The main character, Cassie, has been sent to a rehabilitation camp after she was stood up at prom, (along with her friends Lila, and Amy,) and they stole marijuana from one of the guys, and drove around under the influence.  Cassie was the only one out of the trio to get punished, because Lila disappeared, and Amy turned Cassie in, as part of a plea bargain.  Cassie's only options were to go to jail, or attend, Turning Pines Wilderness Camp.  She decided to go to the camp, thinking it would be an easy, relaxing experience.  She was very wrong... 

I enjoyed reading, Dear Cassie.  I connected with the characters, and the story that they had to tell.  The authenticity of the characters, and reality of what they had dealt with in the past, and were currently dealing with, pulled me into the story.  Cassie had an abusive, alcoholic mother, and a father and brother that weren't around often, because they were in the military.  Even when Cassie's father was home, he paid little to no attention to her.  The only person Cassie could depend on was her older brother.  They had a very close relationship, and he was the only person in her life that made her feel loved, and cared about. 

Cassie was such a well-devoloped, three-dimensional, and complex character.  During the story, she went through the emotions of self-hate, anger, shame, attraction, acceptance, and finally hope.  I sympathized with her plight, and was fascinated, as, little by little, Cassie's secret was revealed.  I understood why she felt the way she did, and felt so much sadness for her.  Cassie was full of anger, sarcasm, snarkiness, and pushed everyone away.  She wasn't one to share her feelings, cry, or act friendly.  At the camp, everyone was referred to by their last name.  In Camp, with Cassie, we got to meet the girls camp leader, Rawe, (who tried to help Cassie,) and the boy's camp leader, Nerone.  We also met Cassie's room mates, Nez, (who was boy crazy, and always trying to get Cassie in trouble,) and Troyer, (who chose not to talk to anyone, but eventually becomes good friends with Cassie.)  The boys living area was separated from the girls, but they still interacted with one another in various camp tasks, such as chopping wood, hiking, canoeing, camping, and many other things.  We got to meet Eagen, Leisner, and Stravalaci.  They were supporting characters.  The boy that wanted Cassie's heart was Ben.  I fell in love with Ben.  No matter how many times Cassie tried to push him away, he never left her, and he only wanted to make her laugh, smile, and be happy.  He saw past the facade that Cassie portrayed to everyone else.  Ben was sensitive, compassionate, patient, and persistent.  He saw Cassie, for who she really was, and fell in love with her.  I wish there were more Ben's out there!

I loved how, Dear Cassie, was written.  It was simplistic, fast-paced, and very readable.  I enjoyed the way Ms. Burstein revealed glimpses of what was behind Cassie's facade.  I liked how there was mystery behind what Cassie's secret was, and how it was revealed little by little throughout Cassie's flashback memories, and diary entries.  As Cassie's secret, along with the other teens secrets were revealed, there was a clear message.  It was a message about hope, and letting go of self- loathing, forgiveness of self, empowerment, leaving the past behind, and looking toward the future. 

I give, Dear Cassie, by Lisa Burstein, 4 Soul-Searching, Learning to Let Go, and Begin Anew Stars.  This is a story of substance that deals with letting go of your past, learning to forgive yourself, and embrace a new beginning!  I recommend, Dear Cassie, to readers that enjoy the complexity, and growth that occurs during the teenage years.  It is a story that offers insight into the psyche of a troubled teen, learning to deal with her demons, and having the courage, strength, and fortitude, to let happiness in.  

"I never cried.  I didn't even cried on the night I was arrested.  Lila cried like a fucking drama queen and Amy seemed too scared to do anything but stare at her nails.  But I was crying now, and that scared me more than anything because it let me know how scared I must truly have been."  (EARC, 84)

"There was also a humming in my ears from the nicotine.  It could only be from the nicotine.  It had nothing to do with being outside, at night, alone with Ben.  It had nothing to do with Ben coming to the cabin and taking me instead of Nez and it definitely had nothing to do with the stars above us shinning like they were the sky's tiara."  (EARC, 100)

"You need to live this life, she whispered.  You can live it with regret, or you can let it go.  And even though I had no idea how, with the two of us having helped each other get here, get to this place, I knew she was right."  (EARC, 201)

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and is glad to finally have it be worth more than the paper it was printed on. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.

She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.

PRETTY AMY May 2012 Entangled Publishing THE NEXT FOREVER January 2013 Entangled Publishing DEAR CASSIE March 2013 Entangled Publishing

Lisa Burstein's:  Website/Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

                     Amazon/Barnes and Noble/The Book Depository 

3/19/2013            Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
3/19/2013            Writing My Own Fairy Tale
3/20/2013            City of Books
3/20/2013            My Not So Real Life
3/21/2013            YaReads
3/21/2013            The Girl in a Cafe
3/22/2013            Burning Impossibly Bright
3/22/2013            Pinkindle Reads & Reviews
3/25/2013            A Bookish Escape
3/25/2013            TSK TSK What to Read
3/26/2013            Reader Girls
3/26/2013            A Dream Within A Dream
3/27/2013            Book Labyrinth
3/27/2013            A Soul Unsung
3/28/2013            Seeing Night Reviews
3/28/2013            BookCrush
3/29/2013            Imaginary Reads
3/29/2013            Making the Grade
4/1/2013              Nick's Book Blog
4/1/2013              Escaping... One Book @ a Time
4/2/2013              Winged Reviews
4/2/2013              A Book and a Latte

*One Paperback of Dear Cassie (US Only)  
*One EBook of Dear Cassie (INT)

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                                         This Tour Was Hosted By:


  1. I think I would like this one too! I love when characters feel authentic in these types of stories. :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    1. Yes, Cassie was very authentic. The story dealt with some dark realities, but I appreciated how "real" the story felt.

  2. Yes, can't wait to read Cassie's story!Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. I enjoyed it, and I hope you will to! The giveaway is hosted by the author :) Pretty nice!

  3. I'm looking forward to reading this book. I love the cover and the synopsis is right up my alley.

    1. I like the cover too. Have you read pretty Amy? I guess it's part of the series, but I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet.

  4. I am looking forward to reading DEAR CASSIE. my kind of read.

    1. I'm glad! I'm looking forward to reading Pretty Amy tp find out more about the series!

  5. I would love to read this book. I love YA contemporary with real life problems.


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