Monday, April 23, 2007

The Year of Secret Assignments, by Jaclyn Moriarty

At the beginning of the school year at prestigious private school Ashbury, Lydia, Emily, and Cassie are assigned pen pals at the nearby public high school. At first, the correspondance goes very badly as everyone gets off on the wrong foot. But gradually, as the weeks and the letters go by, the three girls get to know three buys (Seb, Charlie, and Matthew) who may be from the other side of the tracks, but are hardly anything like these privileged girls ever imagined.

I have developed a strong bias against Australian YA (because so much of it basically sucks!), so I steered clear of this novel for over a year. But it kept coming up in other people's "best of" lists, so I overcame my bias and dove in and was pleasantly surprised. I did find a few parts dull and the ending a bit too convenient (and silly), but there was some wonderful clever moments and some great observations on what being a teen is really all about. It had a good combination of emotion, adventure, and character development. It won't make my own "best of" list, but it was a decent read.

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