The Year of Secret Assignments (Ashbury/Brookfield #2)

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3.90 · 20 ratings · Published: Apr 1st, 2005 {{ book.ratingTitle }}
The Barnes & Noble Review
Three Aussie girls become pen pals with three guys at another school in this delightful, high-spirited read by Feeling Sorry for Celia author Jaclyn Moriarty.

Told 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 project.

Fresh 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

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