Dear Cassie

Dear Cassie - Lisa Burstein I haven't read Pretty Amy yet, the companion book that precedes Dear Cassie, but I did read the novella, The Next Forever, which briefly follows Amy after her story, so I wasn't completely clueless to what had happened to Cassie, but I wasn't sure on all the details...and that ended up being totally fine! I actually kind of enjoyed the mystery of not already knowing everything. :D I'm sure I would've loved Dear Cassie just the same had I read Pretty Amy first, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary to have done so. I figured it out just fine, and ended up thoroughly enjoying Dear Cassie. :D So, I think they work as either standalones or companion novels, it's really up to you! :DOverall, I loved Dear Cassie! :D Cassie wasn't the friendliest of narrators, and tried very hard to keep people away, but her insecurities made her appealing. I was desperate to know her secrets, and I wanted to know what had gotten her into the position she was in. I also really enjoyed her sarcasm, and her need to swear constantly kept me amused. :P Another thing that appealed to me was the way that the other characters navigated towards her. She tried to push them away, but ended up making some great friends who helped her move on from her past. I think it also helped that Cassie wasn't trying as hard to push the reader away--instead we were privy to her thoughts and were able to see just how scarred she was, and we got to see her progress as she began to finally move on and start healing.I do think that this book may be controversial to some because it deals with some very serious topics, such as sex, pregnancy, drug use, stealing, and all the stuff that leads to kids ending up in rehabilitation camps, but I also think that they aren't brushed over lightly. The book isn't preaching and telling the reader not to do things, but it also doesn't encourage it either, rather it shows us some of the consequences, including rehab and extensive emotional turmoil.I loved reading Dear Cassie, and was able to connect with Cassie even though we are extremely different from one another, and I don't think I'm alone in that. Cassie is a vulnerable character who protects herself with an abrasive shell and when she allows people to see what's underneath, it's hard not to like her. I would recommend Dear Cassie to people who like contemporary YA with character-driven plots and a lot of emotional turmoil. :)