Title: Dear Cassie
Author: Lisa Burstein
Series: Pretty Amy series
Pages: 352 pages
I love fairy tales. I love that perfect happy ending. I spent the first 10 years of my life wishing I lived in a land that mixed Sleeping Beauty with Beauty and the Beast and I still hold out hope that one day my prince will come and everything will be perfect and wonderful. Even with that hope, when I’m reading, I’d rather have real than happy. Why is this important to know?
Because Dear Cassie is not a fairy tale. It does not have a perfect happy ending. This book will twist your gut and punch your heart. Cassie’s life has never been wonderful, but ever since she became the fall guy for her friends and their prom night, it’s been worse. She’s made decisions she never thought she’d have to face and she’s still dealing with the repercussions.
I didn’t read Pretty Amy before reading Dear Cassie, but I didn’t feel like that took me out of the story at all. The events of Pretty Amy are talked about enough that I could get a good picture of what happened. Even if I couldn’t, Dear Cassie deals more with the aftermath of that prom night and the choices Cassie makes. She is set to this rehab camp as punishment for the prom night events, but she’s working through something even more important and life changing.
Cassie’s disdain for herself broke my heart. There was no “right” solution and she did what she thought was best, yet she can’t help but beat herself up over it. She blocks herself off from people, using language and attitude as a way to keep people away. When Ben works his way past her defenses, it scares her. She’s seen the bad side of men and not much of the good side. Ben works hard to make sure she can see that whatever happened in the past does not have to be her future.
I’m sure some people won’t like the ending. It’s not a fairy tale ending. Everything isn’t tied up in a pretty bow. But it is perfect. It is real life. If this book had ended any other way, it just wouldn’t have felt right.
Dear Cassie was a gut-wrenching read. My eyes filled with tears the more I read. But as much as it hurts, it also gives hope and forgiveness. I can’t think of words to describe after finishing this book, but that’s a good thing. I will definitely be reading more from Burstein.
Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for a honest review.