Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

Book Summary
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.

Flo's Review
I was introduced to this book by my #otspsecretsister on Twitter. I discovered that my library had the audiobook and decided to give it a listen. Listening to an audiobook of letters has its pros and cons: 

Pros: The different characters were each voiced by different people. At first I didn't really like Lydia's and Emily's voices, but then the more I read the more I thought the voices fit them. Plus, the voices all had accents (this book is Australian) and I really enjoyed that.

Cons: Letters, etc. take longer to read in audio format. The reader has to say the all the email addresses over and over and that can get a little tedious.

But on to the actual story part. I was absolutely loving it for about 70 percent of the book. I didn't like the parts with "The Notebook (TM)", but I loved the letters between the girls and their pen friends. Loved them. The individuality of the characters, the growing and relationships. I especially loved how we never saw a scene with the three girls. We got to know how they were as friends through the stories they told in their letters and diaries about hanging out together. Yet their friendship was still established so solidly. Brilliant, Jaclyn Moriarty. 

Unfortunately, for some reason the author felt like there needed to be a dramatic end scene or something. So this whole situation between the two schools was added to the story, and I really didn't like it. I don't think the book needed it to tell this story. Chapters 29 and 30 basically. But I did like the ending for Cassie and the final reflection from Lydia. 

Overall, I found this very enjoyable and was really happy whenever I was listening to it -- a sign of a good book and audiobook! 

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