Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: Dear Cassie (Pretty Amy, #2) by Lisa Burstein

Dear Cassie (Pretty Amy, #2)

Author: Lisa Burstein

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Synopsis: 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?

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Review: I don’t even know if there are words to describe how I feel about this book and I don’t mean that in a good way. Dear Cassie was like a badly narrated and executed Lifetime movie.

Cassie is a seventeen-year-old girl who gets sent away to a camp called Turning Pines for troubled kids. She was sent away because she was caught having stolen pot but Cassie believes there’s a different reason for her parents shipping her away to a camp in the middle of nowhere and she’s too afraid to face up to it.

And that was how the majority of this book progresses—with Cassie filled with enough angst to make you happy you’re no longer a teenager and enough anger to make you feel tired for her while she attempts to face up to her inner demons. Cassie acts as narrator and made reading her story quite unbearable to get through. She is so DRAMATIC and selfish and angry. 

There isn’t anything redeemable about Cassie. I like to read about broken characters and how they overcome what they are facing, but Cassie just spends the entirety of the book dwelling on herself. She tries to have these moments of clarity and wisdom but they don’t shine through as strongly as they could have considering Cassie can’t stop cussing every two seconds or trying to act like she’s so tough when she just came off like she’s trying too hard.

The struggle for Cassie to forgive herself and to let go of her guilt is understandable but it never feels real or ever hooks the reader in. The story felt more as if it was trying to force the reader to feel sorry for everything Cassie had to face or to feel empathetic for her. Cassie constantly repeating for the first half of the book “this thing” that went through and wants to pretend didn’t happen was incredibly annoying. By the time the big revelation comes into play, it’s been so obvious from the beginning, that it’s anticlimactic.

There’s supposed to be a romance in the book but since I skipped so many pages I couldn’t really care. Either way though, when Ben does come into play and spends time with Cassie, it just never feels real or genuine, at least not from Cassie’s end. Ben and Cassie don’t interact nearly enough for him to be the guy that manages to break down all her walls and distrust and challenge Cassie to face her past. Ben comes in and out but their relationship never feels concrete enough to have Cassie falling for him, especially since most of the time she acts like a total beotch toward him and treats him like dirt.

The plot was stale and the dialogue seemed too forced. The characters were either not really developed or were one-noted. The writing was okay but didn’t really stand out.

I suppose fans of YA Contemporary Romance may find enjoyment with Dear Cassie far more than I did.

About the Author: Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Fiction 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. Pretty Amy is her first novel. She never went to her senior prom.

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