September 4, 2010

REVIEW! The Year of Secret Assignments.

The Year of Secret Assignments
Jaclyn Moriarty


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.

My rating: 4 stars.


Letters, diary entries, intermingling narration - they make for a unique, albeit strange, novel structure. But the book, like its characters, is quirky. The plot is nothing special, but I wouldn’t say it’s entirely predictable. Moriarty does throw in a few twists to keep readers in check.

The characters are real and unreal, likable and not likable; it’s a bit of a toss-up. They all have distinct personalities that are conveyed well through whichever device (letter, diary, etc.) is used, but sometimes the situations they find themselves in seem a bit far-fetched. But for having to read six different viewpoints, Moriarty manages to keep the reader tuned into how each acts.

The book is less about descriptions, and more about dialogue and how that dialogue is expressed. It works. Instead of an information overload, you get to briefly be in someone’s mind for a chapter, then switch.

The writing itself is simple and appropriate for the age level of the characters. However, at times, it seems a bit typical and expected – boring. Still, The Year of Secret Assignments is catchy in a weird/humorous/fun way.


  1. This looks like a great read! I haven't heard of it before but I love that it is written in different mediums. Thanks for the review!

  2. I've heard good things about this for a long time. I'd like to get to it. Thanks for the review!
    Alison Can Read

  3. Is it more of a middle grade novel? It doesn't sound high-schoolish in your description. I guess it depends what the assignments are!

  4. I'd say it borders the line between middle grade and high school.

  5. I liked this book. It was fresh and a bit irreverent. I think the skipping around of viewpoints is something she uses a lot because the other book that I read from her made use of this device as well.

  6. I agree completely with your review. I read this book and reviewed it myself, and I felt that the plot and storyline were a bit too out there. There were parts that seemed just too unbelievable, and the ending escalated into quite a big event in the story. However I enjoyed the letters, journal entries, and emails very much. It was a fun way to tell the story.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...