I was planning on catching up on some reading when I came across THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS by Jaclyn Moriarty. Several years ago, I remember it made several 'best' lists and whatnot. And of course, I noticed that a companion novel/sequel had just been released this year entitled: THE MURDER OF BINDY MACKENZIE. So I decided to read both books and see what all the fuss was about.
Moriarty, Jaclyn. 2004. THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS.
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty was full of delight. I loved practically every minute of it. It had romance. It has suspense. It had humor. It had a little bit of everything: "diary entries, rude graffiti, hate mail, love letters, revenge plots, date plans, notes between friends, and famous last words." How do I know that? That is the subtitle of this often sarcastic, very funny, yet romantic novel. Our three main characters are a trio of friends: Emily Thompson, Lydia Jaackson-Oberman, and Cassie Aganovic. The three attend a private school Ashbury High, and one of their assignments in English class is to begin corresponding with students from Brookfield, a rival school with a slightly 'dangerous' crowd in attendance. To say that the schools have been feuding with one another for years would not be an overstatement. Thus begins the heart and soul of the novel. How these three students connect with their pen pals determines everything. :) Will they make friends? enemies? or lovers?
The Year of Secret Assignments was first published in Australia in 2002. That is where the story is set, so for American readers it might take a few chapters to get familiar with the Australian school system.