The Year of Secret Assignments

The Year of Secret Assignments

3.91 (18,523 ratings by Goodreads)
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Three girls. Three boys. Two rival schools.
This could get messy.
The Ashbury-Brookfield pen pal program is designed to bring together the two rival schools in a spirit of harmony and "the Joy of the Envelope." But when Cassie, Lydia, and Emily send their first letters to Matthew, Charlie, and Sebastian, things don't go quite as planned. What starts out as a simple letter exchange soon leads to secret missions, false alarms, lock picking, mistaken identities, and an all-out war between the schools--not to mention some really excellent kissing.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 132 x 203 x 20mm | 295g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0439498821
  • 9780439498821
  • 444,858

Review quote

Horn Book Magazine
STARRED (March 1, 2004; 0-439-49881-3)
(High School) From the author of Feeling Sorry for Celia comes a second comic novel about gal-pals--and pen pals--set in the same Australian high school and focusing once again on the Famous Ashbury-Brookfield Pen Pal Project. The novel follows private school students Lydia, Emily, and Cassie as they are assigned to write letters to students at Brookfield High, despite Emily's complaint to their English teacher that "it's probably against our constitutional rights to make us associate with drug dealers and murderers." The three girls have been friends 4-ever, but things haven't been the same between them since Cassie's father died a year ago, and Cassie gets even weirder once they begin writing to their pen pals, all boys. The novel--written entirely in letters, diary entries, e-mails, etc.--is fast and funny but not frothy. Moriarty's story is complex, original, and unpredictable enough that it's much more than a guilty-pleasure read. The format, along with the humor and romance, will draw Louise Rennison fans--and give them just as much flash, with a whole lot more substance. Copyright 2004 of The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved
School Library Journal
(March 1, 2004; 0-439-49881-3)
Gr 7-10-Lydia, Emily, and Cassie are longtime friends who share almost everything, especially the secret assignments that they have cooked up for one another in times of need since elementary school. When their English teacher assigns them pen pals (all boys) from rival Brookfield High, they strike out on their own to connect individually with their pen friends. Sebastian, Lydia's pal, is an artist who loves soccer and is intrigued by the covert assignments that she gives him. Emily's Charlie is a lot of fun and a true sweetheart, despite a few escapades such as stealing cars. Cassie's pen pal hates her and is rude and threatening. The story-told through journal entries, letters, e-mails, and notes-
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About Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty grew up in Sydney, Australia, with 4 sisters, 1 brother, 2 dogs, and 12 chickens. She studied law at the University of Sydney, Yale, and Cambridge, and worked as an entertainment lawyer before she wrote the Ashbury High novels, including THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS, THE MURDER OF BINDY MACKENZIE, and THE GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH. She still lives in Sydney, with her little boy, Charlie.
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Rating details

18,523 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 34% (6,300)
4 33% (6,188)
3 24% (4,431)
2 7% (1,285)
1 2% (319)

Our customer reviews

THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS by Jaclyn Moriarty has an interesting format. It is written entirely without dialogue. \"What?\" you say. It\'s true. The entire novel uses letters, diaries, journals, emails, and transcripts to tell the story. It\'s quite intriguing. Three best friends, Cass, Emily, and Lydia, embark on an adventure that begins as a pen pal assignment in their English class. They each end up with male pen pals from their rival, Brookfield High. It quickly becomes evident which of the girls is writing, as the voices of the girls are quite distinct. I had a little more difficulty identifying two of the boys and remembering which girl they were writing to. The third boy\'s voice was quite distinctive. Through a series of secret assignments the year 10 pen pals get to know one another, challenging each other to attempt various tasks. Just as they become comfortable with one another, feelings get hurt and the letters come to a halt. One pair of letters becomes downright frightening. When a true identity is uncovered, letters resume with a flurry of intensity, until vandalism begins at both schools and all students are ordered to stop writing. When the three girls are summoned to the office, they must rely on their pen pals to uncover the truth. I would recommend this book to my students. The voices are fun and authentic. Although the pacing of the book is somewhat slow at the beginning, probably due to trying to keep the characters straight, it picks up significantly as they forge relationships with their pen pals. The ending is both surprising and more
by TeensReadToo
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