Basic Summary: Emily (Em), Lydia and Cassie are best friends in Year 10 at Ashbury private school (in Australia!) when their English teacher decides they should have a penpal project with students from the nearby public school, Brookfield, to try and ease some of the tensions between the two schools. Em, Lydia and Cassie each write their penpals (rather skeptically) and hear back from Charlie, Sebastian and Matthew, respectfully (who are equally skeptical). Told via journal entries, emails and (obviously) letters, the story follows each pair of penpals through intrigue, confusion and utter mayhem. Especially when they girls find out Matthew is not real. (cue creepy music)
Kell’s Chatty Review: That review makes the book seem uber upbeat, but there’s actually some disturbing/sad parts that would give too much away to explain, but I did want to mention that before I continue. Regardless, The Year of Secret Assignments is a very quick read and funny. It wasn’t quite what I had been expecting, nor do I think the characters were particularly special (except for Charlie. I loved Charlie.), but I think that’s due to the fact we’re reading mostly from the girls’ point of view in letters and diary entries, etc.
It’s def. an ideal read for a younger teen, as it’s relatively clean and the meatier issues (sex, drugs, etc.) are mentioned, but skimmed over.
My One Line Review: Don’t expect too much and you’ll love this book.
Oye, That sounds like it’s a terrible book, doesn’t it?: It’s not that bad. It’s just not intended to be a great work of literature. It’s fun and fluffy and a little on the younger side. (I would have adored this book in 8th grade. seriously.)
Why I must Declare my Love for Charlie: With the way this book is arranged, there are three possible love interests for female readers to fall for whilst reading. I heart Charlie. He is ridiculously funny (and doesn’t even know it) and the way he just accepts his family = amazing. Love.
What this book taught me about life: Skipping school both does and does not have repercussions. (Cryptic, I know)
What I most wanted to do after reading this book: Go to Australia!
What I would have wanted to do after reading this book in 8th grade: Go to Australia and then start handing out secret assignments to my friends.
Which Leads me to: As a heads up, this book utilizes what I can only assume is Aussie slang and terminology. It took me forever to figure out that “reserve” meant “forest.” But it kinda made it fun!
Re-Readability Rating: 1.2 (The .2 is for Charlie.)
Where this Book Came From: I bought it from the store.