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THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS* by Jaclyn Moriarty

THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS*

By Jaclyn Moriarty

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-439-49881-3
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Like the namesake in Moriarty’s bestselling Feeling Sorry for Celia (many clever references creep in), three more Aussie teens must establish pen pals at a rival public high school. This time risk-taker Lydia, self-assured Emily, and grieving, inhibited Cassie are all matched with boys who take an interest in them, resulting in dating lessons and plenty of covert operations. While Emily and Lydia’s correspondence leads to romantic involvements, Cassie’s mysterious, narcissistic pen pal turns cruel. It takes drastic measures, like secret assignments, to rescue Cassie from plummeting self-esteem and teach her pen pal a lesson in respect. This year of letter writing not only strengthens the girls’ friendship, but also guides them to find their own resolve. This story does not feel as fresh as the author’s debut, as it borrows too much from Celia, such as a variety of writing formats (letters, diaries, e-mails, guided writings in the Notebook™, etc.), a parody of lawyers instead of ad executives, and madcap adventures with equally zany resolutions. But who can resist Moriarty’s biting humor? (Fiction. YA)