Arminzerella's Reviews > The Year of Secret Assignments

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
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** spoiler alert ** Lydia, Cassie, and Emily are best friends in a private school in Australia. They’re all in the same English class, and this year one of their assignments is to exchange letters with students from Brookfield school. The girls are not all that excited about the assignment because everyone knows that the students who go to the other school are all juvenile delinquents. Things turn out differently than they expect, however, and all three of them become quite attached to their “penfriends.” Through their letters we learn more about each of them and their relationships with one another.

The story is written completely in letters and journal entries, which is effective as the characters all have such unique voices and their thoughts and writing seems very real. At times it’s laugh-out-loud funny, and at times your heart just breaks – for Cassie, in particular. All of the parents in the story are lawyers and there’s a fair bit of lawyerly humor included – Emily’s dad, for instance, likes to communicate with her in legal documents. She gets subpoenaed for dinner (her brother serves her the summons), and when she and her friends use a bottle of her dad’s $1000 vintage in their experimental cooking, he writes her a brief describing his process of investigation, the events leading up to the incident, and finally a sentence describing his feelings, “I believe that the use of the Wine in a chicken casserole has broken my Heart.”

You’ll probably walk away from this with a smile on your face and a favorite character – mine is Lydia. Definitely a great read and highly recommended.
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