Minli's Reviews > The Year of Secret Assignments

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
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's review
Mar 11, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, young-adult

(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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message 1: by Jack (new)

Jack Bennett I agree with how unique the characters are how likable every character is except obviously Matthew. No character has a line that is just dumb or doesn't fit their personality the story and wit is so sharp and quick and all the characters flow through it in many unpredictable ways. I don't agree, however, that it would be outlandish at all for a school to try and set up a pen-pal service to tame the school rivalry. It was established in the beginning and end how bad the rivalry was and it would make sense for the school to do what it did. And I do like how some of the characters motives aren't quite tied up (Like Cassie continuing to write Matthew). It makes them seem like real people rather than just book people. I thought it was a very fun book

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