The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
While everyone else has been taking "blog vacations" and posting about how they might not be posting for a week or two, I have inadvertently done the same thing (only without letting anyone know). So, no, I have not fallen off the face the earth, I've just had a busy couple of weeks.
First, I was house-sitting/dog-sitting for some family friends, and so I didn't really have access to the Internet (except for at work... and work has been especially crazy). Then, almost as soon as I moved back home, my family's dog died (of old age), and our house was taken over by fleas, which resulted in having to call an exterminator and stay in a hotel for a night (and the hotel didn't even have wi-fi!). And then, there's the fact that my boyfriend is heading back up to school on the 18th (sob!), and so I'm trying to spend as much time as I can with him before he leaves (sob!)
But this hasn't stopped me from reading... just from posting about the books I've been reading. So, I'll continue with my gushing over Australian authors. This time: Jaclyn Moriarty. I read The Murder of Bindy Mackensie for the Cybils, and I loved it, but it somehow got lost in a backlog of reviews. So, when The Year of Secret Assignments just happened to come through the book-drop while I was finishing Saving Francesca (by Melina Marchetta, see my previous review), I figured it was the right time*.
The Year of Secret Assignments, is, like Moriarty's other novels, written in a series of letters. Mainly, these letters are between the three main characters, best friends Cassie, Lydia, and Emily, and the three boys from a neighboring school who become their pen-pals (thanks to an assignment from their English teacher). Of course, seeing as the pen-pals are boys, all sorts of romantic interesting-ness follows... though I hate to give away any more detail than that.
Moriarty's writing is breezy and light, and I found myself reading "just one more letter" every time I tried to set the novel down. The plot twists are brilliant; there are so many small, seemingly insignificant events that suddenly fall into place later in the novel. The characters too, are true individuals, and their personalities really come through in their letters (I don't know how Moriarty does this, but it's brilliant!).
Only problem... this book just won't stay on the shelves. I've tried several times recently to recommend it to teens, only to find that it's already checked out**.
Also, a quick warning: The Year of Secret Assignments was originally published in Australia under the title Finding Cassie Crazy. I almost made the mistake of requesting the latter by Inter-library Loan.
*Never mind the ever growing stack of books that I have at home....
** Actually, everything I tried to recommend was already checked out... Kiki Strike? Checked out. The Boyfriend List? Checked out. An Abundance of Katherines? Checked out! What's wrong with these teens? Why do they keep checking out all the good books??? ;)