Thursday, February 24, 2011

BR: Feeling Sorry for Celia

by Jaclyn Moriarty
Ashbury/Brooksfield series; book I

I initially read The Year of Secret Assignments (book 2 of the series) and it didn't really make a difference (apart from sparking my interest in the author) because I never felt out of the loop for this one. It has a completley different set of characters, yet the style of letters and notes still remained, to my delight =]

Summary (goodreads):

"The Association of Teenagers" is coming down pretty hard on Elizabeth Clarry. What is she to do when her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her absent father suddenly reappears, and her communication with her mother consists entirely of wacky notes left on the refrigerator? And now, because her English teacher wants to rekindle the "Joy of the Envelope" in the "Age of the Internet," a complete and utter stranger knows more about Elizabeth than anyone else.

But Elizabeth is on the verge of some big changes. She is about to outgrow a friend, discover a great new friend, kiss the sexiest guy alive, and run in a marathon. Who needs "The Association of Teenagers" anyway?!

Jaclyn Moriarty's hilariously candid novel shows that the roller coaster ride of being a teenager is every bit as fun as it is harrowing.

My Thoughts

Upon finishing Feeling Sorry for Celia there really isn’t any doubt in my mind that by the end of 2011, I will have read every one of Jaclyn Moriarty’s novels. I immensely enjoyed The Year of Secret Assignments and this time around I had more of an inkling of what to expect. And to stay with the Moriarty review theme, here is a list-format review :)

What I felt was just okay:

1. The plot. I found it was hard to carry on a plot that will keep me flipping pages just because of the format, although I will say I definitely kept flipping pages because the whole package was just so entertaining.

Who I didn’t like:

1. C + S (you can probably figure out who they are)

2. The Manager of “The Society of People Who Are Definitely Going to Fail High School (and Most Probably Life as Well!)”… I swear that this guy is hiding in my brain right now.

What I loved:

1. The dynamics of friendship Moriarty managed to include in her novel, the fact that she emphasizes the growth and change of relationships.. the bonds that mend and break and form... just gorgeous.

2. The humour!! Again, this book was FUNNY. HILARIOUS, even. I think what I enjoyed the most weren’t the anonymous notes or the letters from Celia.. no, it was the ‘letters’ from the various ‘societies’ aka Elizabeth’s subconscious, including…
  • The Association of Teenagers.
  • Take a Deep Breath and Calm Down Society.
  • The Society of Beautiful People (SOB. P).
  • Young Romance Association.
  • The Instant Replay Society.
  • Best Friends Club
  • … and many more.

3. The mother-father-daughter-stepbrother-stepmother-etc thing going on. The Family thing. It’s not simply restricted to funny, there is definitely a layer of depth that is emotionally honest.

4. Christina. And the fact that it's not all about Elizabeth.

5. The unpredictability at the end regarding the boy ;)

6. The ending itself, I found it was a realistic and even idealistic result of everything that went on through the course of the book. It felt like the natural flow of things as people, teens especially, undergo change. I loved that it never felt forced.

7. The honesty behind the novel, which I found held together the strong foundation. Moriarty writes adolescent feelings in such a believable manner, it never comes out contrived or clich├ęd, just truth. Elizabeth was such a relatable character with both major and minor problems that are gradually developed, and honestly I would love to spend a day with her, she’s that awesome.

  • And I'll include a quote that made me laugh out loud, it's when Elizabeth is writing to Christina:
Thanks for skipping commerce to write to me too. I’m skipping liturgical dance right now to write to you, but it’s not really a fair exchange. I mean, I can’t think of a single point in my life where I’m going to be in crisis because of not knowing how to dance liturgically.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Contemporary YA fans, anyone interested in a funny, smart and insightful book written in a unique (and awesome!) format.

8.9/10 – because I totally loved so many parts of it, I mean, have you seen the review?? Moriarty is such a clever, thoughtful and smart writer who has yet to disappoint, I love her writing style and even more, the format of the book. Feeling Sorry for Celia is a uniquely humourous, entertaining and honest book that holds much more insight to teenage life than many YA books can hope for.

source: library
author website
my review of book II, The Year of Secret Assignments


  1. Have you read "The ghosts of ashbury high" yet?

  2. Aw I love this book too! It's one of my top feel-good contemp YA books...the humor is fresh and the characterization is spot-on. Like you say, Elizabeth is so relatable and that's one of the things I love most about it. That quote is great too :D

  3. WAHOO Jaclyn Moriarty!

    Loved your list in this review (I love reviews that are lists :)

    I so ADORE this book.

    and... DO NOT BE SCARED OF “The Society of People Who Are Definitely Going to Fail High School (and Most Probably Life as Well!)” that is SO not going to be you, haha.

    also, you must be, like, an honourary Aussie by now ~ you are always giving out Aussie YA love <#

    xo nomes

  4. Brilliant review! I am big fan of this book and Moriarty's writing.

    Her books seem to have a great balance of humour and heart :)

  5. Love the style of this review. I just adored this book, so funny and true.


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*