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Dear Cassie

Official Stuff –

Author – Lisa Burstein

Pages – 352

Publisher – Entangled Publishing

Series – Pretty Amy

Summary –

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?

My Rating – 2 Stars

*I received a digital copy of this novel from Netgalley on behalf of Entangled Publishing*

Cassie is one of the friends that Amy turned in after being arrested on prom night for a very serious amount of pot (If you are confused by that sentence, read my review for Pretty Amy). Her sentence included a 30 day stay at a rehab/wilderness camp.

On her way to the camp, she meets Ben, who is also off to the same camp. He’ cute, he’s funny, he’s interested in Cassie (after 5 whole minutes!). But Cassie can’t be with him because he’s a boy and boys do nothing but hurt you and screw you over.

Once at the camp, she learns that people are only referred to by their last names, and she has to bunk with two other girls; Nez and Troyer. The girls are required to use a hole in the ground for a toilet, not talk, and write their feelings out in a diary. Of course there is some standard sneaking out to meet with Ben and the boys from the camp.

Cassie blames herself a lot and feels that she deserves to be there, but not for the prom night arrest. For something else much bigger (she claims that’s the real reason for her being at camp but that makes no sense to me because no one knows about it but her and her brother). She needs to learn to forgive herself and move on.

I did not like this book. The only plot is Cassie learning to forgive herself but that doesn’t even really happen. There is no character development. Cassie does not grow; she stays the same through the whole camp experience. She’s an angry teenager that made a bad decision and now has to live with the decision she made and is all sulky about it. Granted, it was a hard decision and one that can take an emotional toll on a person but to me it just came out bratty. There is also no real depth to Cassie. She’s an angry, violent teenager because her mother is an alcoholic and her father is in the Army and never home. That seems too easy to me. I need more; did her mom neglect her? Did she beat her? Cassie tells stories about all the great things she did with her brother; like horseback riding and going out on a boat, and playing basketball. I feel like the two things don’t connect.

Another reason I didn’t really like this book is that I felt the wilderness camp did things that bordered on illegal if it were real life. These kids are all minors; I highly doubt it’s legal to throw a minor into “solitaire” out in the middle of the woods with only a few weeks “training” (Maybe it is legal but that kinda sounds like it borders in child abuse). And they took away Cassie’s earrings because they could be used as weapons but they gave her a hunting knife and let all the campers practice archery. Also, they let Cassie fly by herself to the camp, across country. I also doubt the courts are going to allow someone to get themselves to court ordered rehab, especially when the other girl that was arrested with them ran off. These kind of things took me out of the story.

The relationship with Ben is strange because she only sees him for short periods of time over their month of camp and she’s still supposedly reeling over her previous relationship but she’s fighting these feelings for Ben but she knows next to nothing about him.
The one good message about that came from this book is that you need to learn to forgive yourself. But other than that I do not recommend this book, unless you are a big fan of Pretty Amy.

Dear Cassie