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Moriarty, Jaclyn. The year of secret assignments.

MORIARTY, Jaclyn. The year of secret assignments. Scholastic. 340p. c2004. 0-439-49882-1. $7.99. JS*

To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, January 2004: A wonderfully imaginative, difficult to describe novel from the author of Feeling Sorry for Celia. Basically, it is a school story, set in Australia. Three girlfriends, Em, Lyd, and Cassie, attend an all-girls high school. Their English teacher arranges a letter exchange with an English class in the local public high school, and the three girls start exchanging letters with three boys. That's the basic framework, but it hardly begins to describe what transpires--a series of "secret assignments," many of which are imaginative school pranks, some of which are flirtatious rendezvous, some of which are plots of vengeance. The three girls are highly intelligent, articulate, and imaginative. Two of the boys are as well, and the third boy deserves all the wonderfully fitting punishments the others eventually inflict on him. Cassie is the most fragile, because she and her mother are still trying to recover from the death of Cassie's father. Her friends are extremely concerned about her, and they try to protect her, even if she insists on keeping her own secrets and hiding her own vulnerability.

This YA novel is told in an alternate format, since letters and e-mails tell this story: not just one person's letters, not an exchange of letters between two people, but six people writing letters in various combinations. This is intelligent fun. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) Claire Rosser, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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Author:Rosser, Claire
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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