The Year of Secret Assignments

Have you ever wondered how the ladies of Lipstick Jungle must have been like as kids or teenagers? Probably just like Em, Lyd and Cass from Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Year of Secret Assignments. Or not.

This book was again one of those books I picked up at my favorite second-hand store. That’s what I love about those places, they just get me to be so open about books that I would normally have snubbed at full price. Haha 🙂 In the past, I would only buy books by authors I’ve read before and liked. Or I’ll stay safe and go for those referred by a friend. When I started frequenting second-hand bookshops, I was more daring so to speak. The good thing is that I have only ever regretted buying one book. I picked it up (a novel that  a tear-jerker of a movie was based on), tried to read it, couldn’t continue. It was soooo slow. Anyway, it wasn’t this book.

I enjoyed reading this book. A lot. It’s for kids/young adults as the characters are in high school. There’s no magic here, or mythical creatures. Rather, you’d read about kids who cut classes, pick locks, and play pranks. Very nice, haha. 🙂

The girls in the book go to Ashbury, a private school for girls. Their parents were all friends, and lawyers. I could imagine them with their book bags, binders, maybe even with their blazers/jackets, hair bows, or beaded lanyards, walking the corridors of their school just talking about the boys they’re exchanging letters with. I also imagined them on their sleep overs, talking about their hopes and dreams 🙂

They had a penpal project for their English class and their pen friends were to be from another English class from the rival school (seems to be a public co-ed highschool). The story is told through the letters exchanged by the girls and their pen friends Matthew, Seb and Charlie. Lyd’s special notebook and Cass’ diary also come into play. It was interesting to see how their relationship developed through the letters, until they all met in person. It was also interesting to see how their characters developed as they continued corresponding with each other.

Friendship and loyalty was, not surprisingly, the central theme in the novel. It also showed how friends help one cope with the death of a parent.

I’ve laughed a couple of times while reading this book. These kids are cool! Haha. And I might just pass this one on to my niece for a bit of reading. 🙂