The Ashbury/Brookfield Series #1
Reviewed by Maggie: March 28, 2013
Originally reviewed on February 10, 2012
Published January 10, 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin
Originally published May 1, 2000 by Pan Macmillan Australia
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The screech you heard on Monday was me finding out JACLYN MORIARTY is coming to LA. She's one of the most unique, creative, and hilarious voices in YA. I read her debut, Feeling Sorry for Celia, last year and immediately had to get my hands on the rest of her books. I loved her latest, A Corner of White, but Celia will always hold a special place in my heart. If you're in the mood to read about friendships instead of love triangles, give this a try. And then if you decide you want some boys thrown in with those friendships, give The Year of Secret Assignments a try. Get ready to discover the Joy of the Envelope -- and Moriarty!
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Dear US readers,
Do not be alarmed by how accessible this book is to people living in the States. This does not diminish the awesomeness that we've come to expect from Australian authors. Nor do you have to jump through hoops or swim through the rings of Fishpond hell to get it!
This book is a series of letters to and from Elizabeth Clarry. Her new English teacher decides to revive the Lost Art of Letter Writing and has his students write letters to the rival high school. Elizabeth's penpal ends up being Christina Kratovac. Through the letters between Elizabeth and Christina, Elizabeth and her mum (THE HILARIOUS ALL CAPS OVER-EXCLAMATION POINTER!!!!), and various unsolicited letters, we get a look into the lives of our characters. The Celia in the title refers to Elizabeth's lifelong best friend and potential missing person -- potential because she often chooses to go missing.
This book was first published in 2000 so there are some dated references, like Walkmans. Remember those? But in this age of Twitter, Goodreads, and blogs, where we (or at least I) spend a good portion of my day chatting, tweeting, and emailing people I've never met but formed solid relationships with, this book is actually rather timely. I totally related to how Elizabeth and Christina's friendship began and grew, how you can feel like you know someone without being able to recognize them on the street. Sometimes I find it's easier to share things with someone you don't have to see everyday. You can also find people who share your very specific interests (Melina Marchetta + San Antonio Spurs + Friday Night Lights + Graffiti Moon + GIFs of waving bears + Tom Hardy's ass), which is an instant basis for friendship.
Basically, I really enjoyed this book. And you can too! Really available, not Fishpond available, at IndieBound, B&N, and Amazon.
A dues-paying member of the We ♥ Aussie YA Association