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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Year of Secret Assignments - by Jaclyn Moriarty

Before getting into the review I want to take a moment to direct your attention to the end of this post, where I'll talk about a fun little "special assignment" related to the book. So even if you get bored halfway through (you won't will you?), remember to go to the end to have your curiosity quenched.


Back cover blurb:
Three Girls. Three boys. Two rival Schools. This could get messy.
The Ashbury-Brookfield pen pal program is designed to bring together the two rival schools in a spirit of harmony and "the Joy of the Envelope." But when Cassie, Lydia, and Emily send their first letters to Matthew, Charlie and Sebastian, things don't go quite as planned. What starts out as a simple letter exchange soon leads to secret missions, false alarms, lock picking, mistaken identities, and an all-out war between the schools -- not to mention some really excellent kissing.

Reader's crit: My first Jaclyn Moriarty book, and let's just say, I'm hooked. It was truly awesome. Cassie, Lydia and Emily are the type of friends you wish you had in high school. They'll do anything for each other - these are the types of friendships were the kind that makes you go ahhhh... The guys, well two of them anyway, were tough but sweet. I wanted to fly over to Australia and take them home with me. The characters were so colorful (even the parents!!), and most of the book is just hilariously funny. The best chuckle I had was Emily's Dad's inquiry into his missing wine. I won't say anything more so I don't spoil it, but I loved, LOVED, the way it was presented. Poor Dad. :) But the book is not all fun and games either though. I shed a few tears at one point in the novel. Yes, I'm a bit of a cb as this was not the type of book where you would expect to get all weepy, and the fact that it did make me feel that way is one reason for it's high score.
It made me laugh and smile and cry, and I wanted to finish it all in one night but I was just too tired to do so. Score = 5.

Writer's crit: As mentioned this was my first Moriarty experience, so I was a little unprepared for the format of the book. It's done mostly in a series of letters and diary entries and jumps among the three female characters and later also with the male characters. It took me a while to get into the style, and I had to go back and remind myself who was who, but once I got into it that confusion went away and I really enjoyed the writing. The characterization, as mentioned, was stellar. The plot was a little on the vague side at first. It takes a while to understand what the book is about, but the voice of each of the characters is so fresh that I didn't mind drifting for a bit. I wanted to learn more about these three friends and what they meant to each other and eventually I did, so it was all well and good. Taking everything into consideration, I understand why the author chose the format she did and why it was told in the manner that it was. So even though I had those little moments of confusion and where is this going?, I can't think of how it could have been improved upon because it all came together in the end. Score = 5.

Now for something a little different. This book was given to me by my good friend Nomes, who is a very big J. Moriarty fan, and I know that she would love it if I were to spread the word about all things Moriarty. Soooo I have decided to do a book chain! This means that I have given the book to another good friend who has taken up the "secret assignment"* to read it, take a picture of it outside her favorite Manhattan restaurant, do a mini-review, and then pass it on to someone else. Hopefully the trend will continue. I have even set up a special blog for the book chain so that we can track where it goes and read all the reviews. If this sounds interesting to you, you can sign up to be a part of the book chain. Just click on the link here and it'll take you to the blog for further instructions.

P.S. I'll be having a blog contest soon and I think I'll be going on one of those "extra points" systems, so old followers will get 2 points, new followers 1 etc. So if you find my blog interesting, follow now for that extra entry point. :)

5 comments:

Bee said...

I love this book and I love this book and I love this book and I'd marry Jaclyn Moriarty if I could.

Love how you did Reader/Writer reviews.

And yay for spreading the JM-love!

Tracey J said...

This book is so great that everybody loves it :)

Great review, it’s always nice to have two perspectives on books.

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I am so glad you loved it :)

Love that you can choose your favourite chuckle. I dont know what mine would be. I love so many bits so hard.

For a non-swearing girl, I loved the bit where Seb writes to Lyd: F me with a frying pan! I cracked up at that. Loved all the little assignments and Em's tips to Charlie. Oh, and Cass ringing up the sugar packet people.

The wine is a classic too :)

xx

off to check your new blog, I'll link to it from mine later one :)

The book rocks so hard, but i sometimes wonder how people will find the format :)

Hows Ghosts going? It's really different. I already loved Toby from #3, and I just love the end of his first entry, where he realises he is meant to be writing a memoir :)

E.J. Wesley said...

Lovely review, Angie. I've seen this in the store and considered picking it up. Now I'll have to!

mellymel said...

No E.J. don't...I will send it to you next :-) Just leave your info as Angie instructed and I will send it to you when I'm done. This secret assignment/agent thing that Angie has put together is so cute!

Mel

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