In The Year of Secret Assignments, a tenth grade English teacher attempts to unite feuding schools by launching a pen-pal project. Best friends Cassie, Emily and Lydia initiate the correspondence, and are answered by Matthew, Charlie and Seb. Emily and Lydia are more than pleased with their matches, but quiet Cassie has a frightening experience with Matthew. When Lydia and Emily discover that Matthew has threatened their fragile friend, the Ashbury girls close ranks, declaring an all-out war on the Brookfield boys. Soon, the couples are caught up in everything from car-jacking and lock-picking, to undercover spying and identity theft.
What would be the best way to calm an ongoing rivalry between the Ashbury and Brookfield schools? The English teachers from these schools think pen-palling will fix everything. But not without a bit of excitement and mystery thrown in along the way.
The Year Of Secret Assignments is such an enjoyable read. The story of the six pen pals is told through emails, letters, diaries and school notices, alternating from all the perspectives. This creates a very unique and interesting plot, that keeps the reader engaged throughout. I literally read this book in one sitting, because of the letter format every chapter leaves you with a cliff-hanger feeling. However I found that reading this book quickly was entertaining as the story itself moves along at a speedy pace.
You would think that a book written in this style with 6 main narratives would be confusing at times, however Moriarty has given each character such a unique personality that you start to be able to tell them apart by their writing style alone. Each character, with the exception of one Brookfield boy, is highly likable and the reader is easily pulled into their individual stories.
The Year Of Secret Assignments contains many hilarious incidents and ongoing dialogues between the pen pals, but it also examines some serious issues that teenagers may have to deal with. One such issue involves a girl who is having problems since her father’s death, and her two best friends who need to support her but don’t know how. This novel is a terrifically fun read with the added bonus of having realistic teens who seem to mature throughout the course of the novel.
About The Author
Jaclyn Moriarty lives in Australia.
Jaclyn's young-adult novels, Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Year of Secret Assignments, are both international bestsellers.
Published by Scholastic Paperbacks
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