Minli's Reviews > The Year of Secret Assignments

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
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's review
Mar 11, 12

bookshelves: contemporary, young-adult
Read in March, 2012

(3.5 stars) Despite the fact that I can't understand the reason for this novel (why would three girls be writing to three boys at a different school and why would Ashbury and Brookfield set up this penpal program? I don't buy the 'eliminating school rivalry' excuse...What's the educational benefit?), I loved the friendship among Lydia, Cassie and Emily. Despite being all being the daughters of lawyers, they're all so wonderfully distinct, and I enjoyed reading how their three different correspondences tied together into a bigger narrative.

Emily and Lydia have had luck with their penpals. Charlie and Seb respectively are funny and warm, definitely boyish, and occasionally full of fail. Pranks, dares, espionage, 'practicing how to date a girl' and glitter in envelopes ensue. Delicate Cassie, on the other hand, whose father recently passed away, gets a creeper named Matthew whose responses are nasty and threatening. Cassie keeps writing back though, and her friends can't figure out why. Maybe she just needs to write, and maybe an unsympathetic stranger is all she needs.

It's funny and heartfelt, and one of those epic ensemble stories where every character has a role to play.
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