Trigger warnings death of a parent in the past , mental health, fat shaming, slut shaming, misogyny, violence off the page but recounted afterwards This feels quite dated now, given that it was first published in 2003 But the epistolary format works surprisingly well, the characters are fun and their friendships felt authentic, and I laughed out loud multiple times Although honestly, I think one of my favourite moments in it came not from the teenagers but from Emily s father bemoaning the loss of his VERY expensive wine because the girls were making chicken casserole and thought it needed some wine and grabbed a dusty bottle because clearly he wouldn t miss it That, for some inexplicable reason, amused me to no end. Australian Title Finding Cassie Crazy For their grade 10 English class at posh Ashbury High, their teacher Mr Botherit has best friends Emily, Lydia and Cassy writing penpal letters to the English students at the rival public therefore dodgy school nearby, Brookfield This is, in part, to help forge a bond between the hostile schools Emily and Lydia, after a rocky start, form friendships of sorts with Charlie and Sebastian, while Cassie gets single line threats from the boy, Matthew, to whom she writes pages.Lydia and Seb give each other secret assignments, something Lydia s been doing with her two best friends for years, and Emily tries to help Charlie with his technique at asking girls out Cassie finally breaks Matthew s silence and finds someone she can really talk to, only to be betrayed by him in the worst way possible Lydia and Emily are out for revenge, and Charlie and Seb are happy to help.The Year of Secret Assignments is absolutely hilarious I laughed out loud for 340 pages while reading this this afternoon it s a quick read because it s so bloody enjoyable yet it has depth and poignancy It s about friendship, loss, loyalty and being a teenager, but it never moralises Some of the humour is subtle and ironic and may be lost on a younger audience, but perhaps not It s written entirely in the form of letters, diary entries, school notice board posters, a few emails, the hilarious lists and statutory declarations and subpeonas Emily s dad presents her with when any other parent would simply yell out Tea s ready , and the absolutely ridiculous and patronising Notebook TM Lydia s dad gave her for her birthday It reminded me a bit of John Marsden, as he had a couple of books written in the form of letters, but as I remember it they were much serious This is serious too seriously funny It s also extremely well written and paced, with so much revealed and counter revealed from other perspectives, and in subtle ways as well, so that you get the full story or can read between the lines, and through which the personalities of the main characters are revealed.I also liked that, as this is the US edition of an Australian book, they pretty much only changed the spelling of words like favourite , and switched to Fahrenheit which doesn t fit at all, since no one in Australia uses anything but Celcius, and I have no idea how hot 104 degrees F is, but I m sure American readers will, so that one s ok They left alone a lot of other words, like mobile phone, and even the spelling of arse and that reminds me, I love the maturity of this book The characters seem shallow at first, but they re not Oh, and I love Emily s vocab problems She s hilarious without even meaning to be Wow, though, I could never have been friends with someone like her I m too pedantic, I d be forever correcting her until she shot me. The Barnes Noble ReviewThree Aussie Girls Become Pen Pals With Three Guys At Another School In This Delightful, High Spirited Read By Feeling Sorry For Celia Author Jaclyn MoriartyTold Entirely Through Letters, Diary Entries, Emails, And Other Writing, Moriarty S Novel Introduces Us To Emily, Lydia, And Cassie All Students At Ashbury High Who Begin Writing To Their Brookfield High Counterparts Through The Schools Organized Pen Pal Project Readers Learn Quickly That Each Girl Has Her Own Writing Style And That At Two Of The Brookfield Boys Seb And Charlie Seem To Be Smitten With Lydia And Emily The Only Trouble Is Cassie S Pen Pal, Matthew, A Shady Character Who First Sends Her Short, Threatening Letters And Then Becomes Strangely Sweet Toward Her Nobody Can Figure Out Why Cassie Keeps Writing To Him, But After She Has A Crushing Meet Up With Matthew, Cassie Discovers With The Help Of Her Friends And The Brookfield Guys That He Hasn T Been Honest About His Identity All Could Be Ended There, But When Charlie Helps Take Revenge And Brookfield High Gets Mysteriously Vandalized, The Group Comes Together To Deliver Justice And Save The Endangered Pen Pal ProjectFresh And Impressive, Moriarty S Novel Is Lighthearted Fare That Will Keep Readers Glued To The End In Particular, Her Knack For Capturing Different Writing Styles Shines The Spotlight On Her Own Talent, Giving Audiences Clear Inspiration To Try Their Own Diary Or Journal Writing Clearly Centered On The Girls While Incorporating Romance And Fun Guy Personalities Rachel Cohn And Meg Cabot Fans Will Eat This Up Shana Taylor GUYS I M NOT EVEN KIDDING THIS IS STILL ONE OF MY MOST FAVOURITE BOOKS EVER.Such a great read I loved the dynamic between the characters, and Lydia was hilarious Such a sass queen Her and Seb are goals because they match each other s crazy SO WELL.Poor Cassie, though What a dud of a penpal.Having the story written through exchanged letters was really clever, and kept things unpredictable which was fun I related to the way some of these things were written Other parts made me laugh out loud Some made me LOL because of how relatable it was.The characters are so light and fun and quirky and Seb was an early favourite that continued to impress I have a favourite quote but I forgot its entirety so I ll add it later and you will appreciate it after the long and tedious wait, I am certain Feel free to beat me to it and just read this book You will not be sorry.I read this book so many times and it endures no matter how many times I read it The series is great but this is hands down the best novel in it So much fun and sass and creativity and it s so easy to read Highly recommend. Favourite QuoteI like the way you took that whole journey to Balmoral without looking at me once But all the time I felt like you were crinkling the corners of your eyes for me I ADORE this book The Secret Year of Assignments is smart, warm and irresistible funny This is the kind of book that makes you cheeks ache from smiling too much.The Secret Year of Assignments is written in letters, diary entries, emails, notices, transcripts, summons and It is not just one person story but rather three character Emily, Lydia and Cassie Their English teacher starts a pen pal assignment with boys from the rival high school Brookfield And there the fun and rather crazy story begins Jaclyn Moriarty writing is brilliant It s clever story is filled with humour and heart The plot is entertaining and fun but underneath it deals with some deeper issues And despite the fact this book is writing in mixed formats and various points of views, it was never confusing but rather effortless to read.Now the character they are pretty amazing Well crafted and fully alive Em, Lyd, Cassie, Seb and Charlie all of them likeable, quirky and interesting I think there friendship is what really makes them special They would do anything for each and you can t help but wish you were part of their gang.Their is is some romance and it is sweet and real and filled with plenty of awww moments And the guys were definitely crush worthy characters especially SebLyd,You re not making sense.I love your letters and I want you to keep writing them, if you want to But you can t kiss a girl made out of ink and paper Let s hang out together Let s talk on the phone.You have to realise that boys don t write Girls write Boys don t.Seb Overall, The Secret Year of Assignments is wonderful story of friendships and a book that leaves you feeling good I am off now to squeeze into my favourites shelf.Bookers Challenge 2 A big thank you and hugs to Teccc for picking this for me for the bookers challenge Review coming soon. I finished re reading this book for maybe the tenth or hundredth time on the airplane this morning.And I could write down some quirky anecdote about how I came across this book because trust me, going on BarnesNoble.com and ordering whatever looks mildly interesting always makes for a quirky anecdote or I could say how I first walked by Feeling Sorry for Celia about six times before I picked it up and then spent the whole afternoon torn between laughter and empathy, and then started writing a journal of my own to re create the experience except it didn t really work the attempted effort is probably collecting dust under my bed Jaclyn Moriarty was my first Aussie author after Melina Marchetta, and if that didn t cement my permanent love of literature especially the kind that you have to order over an ocean because I m nothing if not high maintenance then I don t know what would.So I could tell you that Jaclyn Moriarty inspired me to write which she did and that she inspired me to be a wonderful person just in life read her blog, because she is one of the most wonderful people that you can get to know through writings about every day life things and that I relate completely to every character that she s ever written even if I haven t been in all of their shoes before And that the stories are just so layered andsurprisingand beautiful and funny You just feel like you ve unearthed a gem when you find something that it just simply, honestly, hilariously, profoundly funny as all of Jaclyn Moriarty s books And it is so rare to come across someone who so completely gets it, to understand that first love isn t perfect and isn t with the first guy that you have a crush on and that people grow and change gradually and that we re all weird in our own ways but that we aren t just characters propped up on a set people have depth.I could say all of this and , because I could babble and gush on about the absolute wonderfulness of everything that Jaclyn Moriarty writes all day long, but I could also say Go read these books.Because I can t explain it to you, if you don t know In The Year of Secret Assignments I got to hang out with the gang again which includes Emily, Lydia, and Cassie who have the starring roles And then there s Charlie whom I adore and Sebastian properly swoon y and Bindy Mackenzie makes a cameo appearance don t let them be hatin on you, Bindy Personally, I really love Em I know that Lydia is cool as a cat, much cooler than Em who has problems with hyperventilation and most definitely has a chocolate addiction and has the tendency to make fun of girls with lady bug hair clips, but Em is FUNNY And I relate to her in some really weird, completely irrational way Plus, after reading The Ghosts of Ashbury High I have new appreciation for the Em Charlie relationship Also, I have a confession to make I thought Charlie was swoon y than Sebastian I KNOW But Charlie was funny and I couldn t stop grinning after the story about the chicken pieYou talk like the lady who works in the shop where I get my curry chicken pie every afternoon on the way home from school She has white hair, and every single day she says Ho ho I know what you want, Mister Man You want a sausage roll And I always say No, actually, I want a curry chicken pie That s EVERY SINGLE DAY.Also Charlie and Em were two people that you would never look at and say, Yeah, I could see them together You just wouldn t.It reminds me of this quote We are all a little weird and life s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love Cue the Awwwww.And then I read The Ghosts of Ashbury High and BIG SPOILER view spoiler You know the part we find out that Charlie s been commenting on Em s blog all along I started crying I just did Maybe I m a bit too emotional but I cried at the beginning when I realized they weren t together any, even though Em was so nonchalant about it hide spoiler I liked this very much, but I didn t expect less after reading Feeling Sorry for Celia It was partly hilarious, partly cute and chicklitish, partly insightful, deep and disturbing and always interesting and cleverly crafted Highly recommended What puzzled me first was the chronology The novel consists of letters between three boy girl pen pal couples, diary entries, e mails, unsuccessful efforts to fill a notebook for aspiring writers, special agent assignments, a court script and Occasionally the narration quickly changes from one letter exchange to the next, but in other parts there are let s say ten letters going to and fro between the same two persons This results in the following letters referring to things which happened long before the last letter you ve just read Your brain or rather mine does a little flip and you re back on track. I ramble about this book and Feeling Sorry for Celia here but this is the basic gist of itJo s Official Rating.If the first half of this book was a person, I would send them a letter with um this analogy isn t going to work but I ve already committed an orange matchmaker taped to the bottom of it Because they are my favourite.If the last few chapters of this book were a person, I would send them a letter with a lime Wine Gum taped to it Because I m not that fussed about them. Also known as The Year of Secret Assignments and the follow up to Feeling Sorry for Celia Don t you hate it when books have different titles for different countries I may hate the book having different titles in different places but that does not alter the fact that I loved the book every bit as much as I did Feeling Sorry for Celia This author has a real talent for writing young adult fiction which is still totally readable by those of us who are no longer young The book is in the format of letters and diary entries and tells of relationships of many kinds We see three girls who have grown up together and have each others backs at every turn Then there are developing relationships with boys, some delightful parents and peers As usual for Jaclyn Moriarty the telling is quirky and fun and totally unputdownable At 1.00 this morning I was saying just one chapterjust one..just.oh I have finished Highly recommended for a fascinating and fun read The Moriartys are a very talented family If you have not yet read the brilliant Finding Cassie Crazy by Jacyln Moriarty, please do yourself a favour, stop reading this pitiful attempt at a review, and go track down a copy Okay Seriously, do it If you ve decided not to immediately take my advice and you re still hanging around this page, alright, I ll try to make it worth your while So, here goes Five Reasons to Read Finding Cassie Crazy you really don t need all five, any one of these will do, but whatever, I m feeling verbose and generous right now 1 It s Jacyln MoriartyOne of my all time favourite writers, I can t even begin to do justice to Moriarty s way with words Sure, I believe that writing is a skill that can be honed and taught, but I m also positive that there are people out there who simply have a talent for bringing stories to life and a gift for expression Jaclyn Moriarty is just such a writer She writes laugh out loud dialogue, tight, surprising plots, characters that live and breathe on the pages Her novels blend the realistic with the whimsical I d say quirky, but I really dislike the word quirky and come out completely compelling, funny and moving This is the sort of writing that grabs hold of you and doesn t let go, and I can honestly say I have never met a Jacyln Moriarty book I didn t love 2 Epistolary Awesomeness This is a multi viewpoint novel, largely narrated through correspondence as part of an inter high school letter writing project round two of the tie forging experiment implemented by Mr Botherit in Feeling Sorry For Celia The hilarious letters of the main characters are interspersed with notice board announcements, journal entries, emails, transcripts, statutory declarations and summonses Moriarty s background as a lawyer is used to hysterical effect I m not always a fan of epistolary style books, but Finding Cassie Crazy nails it, to the point where I could not imagine this story being told any other way It also makes this book somewhat difficult to put down Every time I read it, I find myself saying, just one letter, then I ll stop and then I keep doing this until I find myself reading the entire book in one compulsive gulp 3 High School High Jinks Two Sydney high schools One letter writing project Six students Pranks Revenge schemes Secret assignments Shenanigans Fist pump moments Swoons I don t recall my Year Ten experience which was definitely Brookfield than Ashbury being this awesome, so I re live it vicariously through this novel 4 The Characters I love them all Okay, not view spoiler Matthew Dunlop Obviously hide spoiler