Monday, January 3, 2011

BR: The Year of Secret Assignments*

by Jaclyn Moriarty
Ashbury/Brookfield series; book II (can also be read as stand-alone)
Australian title: Finding Cassie Crazy

This book (more particularly, the author) was getting tons of mentions on some blogs I love, plus she has been recommended to me a while ago so when I finally saw Alexa's post (love her countdown!) I reserved it right away at the library.

Summary (goodreads)
Three female students from Ashbury High write to three male students from rival Brookfield High as part of a pen pal program, leading to romance, humiliation, revenge plots, and war between the schools.

My Expectations: I honestly didn't think it would blow me away, I thought it would be very awesome though.

Delivery: I loved the writing and the premise! But there were also a few parts that didn't agree with me.

Put-down-ability: 6/10

My Thoughts

This book is legit one of the funniest books I’ve read in 2010. I’ll break this down because I can’t really form fancy-schmancy sentences in my brain right now.

I was surprised by:

1. The format. Honestly, until I started reading it I had no idea it was all in the format of letters/emails/diary entries between the characters. And I totally loooooved it.

2. How much I LOVED the friendship between Cass, Emily and Lydia. Honestly a beautiful portrayal of teenage friendship (I wish I had such awesome friends tbh). These three girls are almost always on the same page, their friendship bonds them together and lets them work through hardships… excellent.

3. How friggin FUNNY it was. It’s hilarious, and in a smart, clever, witty and random-ish type of funny that is amazing. I just adored the girls’ letters and personalities.

What I expected that ended up being true:

1. Great writing. Moriarty is showing me to stop underestimating Aussie authors, they mean serious business! The writing (which is basically the letters) is full of humour, wit and authenticity. It could be quirky at times, whimsical or even heart-breakingly honest... Each character shined in their own way.

2. Good characters. Even through letters, the author managed to splendidly emit each character’s personality, which I loved. I do want to say my favourite is Cass, because I felt she had more overall depth and not just the loving, friendly, and quirk-ness of her other two bffs.

What I was disappointed by:

1. A few of the characters’ actions… *Mild spoilers* there are a few ‘breakups’ that I found just ridiculous. Just beyond silly that I’m wondering if these teens are just overemotional over-reactors that blow minor things way out of proportion. And this made it extremely annoying knowing crap happened through stupid reasoning, and this poor reasoning made me question my liking for aforementioned characters. And it irked me.

2. Somewhat less ‘action’ than I envisioned, I thought there would be more emphasis on pranks, inter-school rivalry, fun shenanigans…

3. Lack of swoon-worthy romance. I wish I was more of a fan of Seb and Charlie, I just never really clicked with them…

4. The hypocrisy at the end. Ugh, I’m not a fan of hypocrites and honestly the end (I’m talking about when they were discussing people’s privacy) made me want to pull my hair out.

Rating in HP Terms- Acceptable
Recommended for: YA Contemp fans, people looking for a FUNNY books (yes, we can ALL use more funny books)
Acknowledgements: none in my copy :(

8/10 – because I thought it was a wonderful story that portrayed a fantastic friendship. It was built on a premise that totally rocked, and I think through stellar writing Moriarty delivered a very enjoyable book. The letters and the plot were toed both sides of ridiculous and heart-felt, which showed the incredible range of this book. I really, really wish I could say I loved it.... but some parts didn’t work well with me (thus the rating). However, I can still say that this laugh-out-loud novel is definitely not the last one I will be reading by this author.

And just because I kept going on about how I found this book funny, there is much more to this book than that, there's family, friendship, crushes, grief.... Yeah. Funny is just a bonus.

source: library
author website


  1. I have this is my Aussie reading stack and hopefully I will get to it soon. I have heard it is funny and I absolutely adored Feeling Sorry for Celia :)

  2. Great review - glad you liked it. Ghosts of Ashbury High/Dreaming of Amelia is even better though!

    (And how can you NOT swoon over Seb?! Charlie I kind of agree with you on... but SEB!!)

  3. I like how you broke down your review. I'm not sure about this book. I liked Feeling Sorry for Celia, but I didn't love it. Hypocrisy doesn't sound too great either.

  4. I love reading letters! But a whole book in that format? Hmmm... I must admit, I'm curious. Plus I love books that are creative and can make me laugh.

    This sounds like a really fun read, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Yay for Aussie writers!

  5. Okay when I first saw this I quickly thought nuh uh not for me, but by the sounds of your review it is obviously awesome, and since I trust your reviews *inserts grin* I shall be looking out for it, I could use a hilarious read! :D

  6. Awesome! I have seen this around, but never knew if I should really consider it or not--now I think maybe I should look for it. Solid review :)

  7. I'm so glad you liked it but sorry you didn't love it :) I recommend The Ghost of Ashbury High or Feeling Sorry for Celia next :)

  8. this book was awesome!! i loved it, plus one of the charachters names was Lydia. it made everything better. Have you read any other Ashbury High books? I've read that one and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie. That one is AMAZING. I'd highly reccomend it!

  9. Nic- these Aussie books are really impressing me ;) I will definitley read Feeling Sorry for Celia!

    YYY (hehe, your nickname now :P)- ooh that's promising! I can't wait to see what that book has in store, lots of ya'll are recommending it!

    Small Review- thank you :) Mhmm, sometimes if the first book is just so-so, i figure I might as well read something else than waste money and time with something I probably not like... I'm going to read FEeling sorry for Celia though maybe just to compare!

    Missie- woot, I'm becoming a fan of them :) And yeah, I waas surprised by how funny letters could be!

    Aly- hehe, I'd love to know what you think if you read it :) thanks for the comment hun

    Zoe- thanks! If you read it, i'd defintiley be interested in what you thought!

    Alexa- don't worry, just cause i didn't love it doens't mean im giving up! After all your positivity, I'll be looking out for that one next! :)

    Lydia- So glad you liked! And I KNOW EH? Isn't it AWESOME when your name is IN PRINT?? lol xD I heard good stuf about that one too!! thanks for the rec, I'll probably read it sometime :D it seems like tons of ya'll like this series! :D

  10. I looooooove Jaclyn Moriarty's books like you wouldn't believe. And oddly enough, I really liked Seb and Charlie, too. They're definitely not as perfect as the typical YA male love interest, and I liked seeing reluctant friendship turning into love instead of zomgsoulmate at first sight, heh.

    This is my least favorite of her books, however, after Ghosts of Ashbury High (bleh). Feeling Sorry For Celia is my favorite though. :D

  11. Linna- it was YOU who twitter-recommended them to me AGES ago! :D And I guess Seb was so pushy to meet up and for some reason that annoyed me xD Yeah, I know, so rational :p It actually makes me glad to know that Moriarty's other books will be even better! I just reserved FSFC :)


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