15 year-old Elizabeth Clarry has been having a tough time of it lately. Her dad's returned from Australia and wants to reacquaint himself with his daughter. Her best friend's run away to join the circus. Her mother's mostly out of the picture (their main correspondence is through sticky notes on the fridge). And, her English teacher is insisting on rekindling the "Joy of the Envelope"-Elizabeth's found herself writing to someone from a rival school (Brookfield).
The entire novel is told in the form of letters written to Elizabeth or by Elizabeth. (One part I especially loved are Elizabeth's letters to herself from associations like The Society of People Who are Definitely Going to Fail High School And Probably Life as Well which is an amusing way of getting across the self-doubt Elizabeth is feeling).
In fact, the entire novel is incredibly funny. The characters are well-developed and I loved reading about Elizabeth's growth as a character. Just as a side note, in a particularly well-done interview at teenreads.com, Jaclyn Moriarty discussed her intent of including characters of differing maturity levels. That was something I really liked in the novel because I thought it was very realistic of high school (I can definitely relate that explanation to my friends and I, at any rate). Anyway, she is far more articulate than me, so I highly recommend checking out that interview.
The Year of Secret Assignments is the second novel (and incidentally, also my favourite) , featuring yet another year of rekindling "the Joy of the Envelope." This time the book features three best friends, Lydia, Emily, and Cassie, all of which are distinct voices. Their correspondence with the dreaded Brooker Kids is hilarious although soon what began as simple letter-writing transforms into a series of pranks, finally escalating into a full-out war.
Okay, I dare you to read the first 10 pages of this novel and not laugh or want to read the book. (It's impossible). The novel's one of funniest I've read and definitely one of my favourite books. It's just pure fun and pretty much every other page had me laughing. Annnd...the characters are all really well-developed.
PS. We're giving away a copy of this book here.
The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie. To be honest, I prefer the title Becoming Bindy Mackenzie (which is the UK title). The murder plot doesn't come up until the last 100ish pages and while it's quite awesome, the novel is mostly about Bindy's change in perspective and growing up.
Anyway, The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie is about the most unpopular girl in school. And for the first half of the book, you discover why. First, you might find Bindy annoying and then halfway through, you'll find yourself understanding and sympathizing with Bindy. Like her other books, The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie is funny-even if the first bit is a bit hard to get through. It's definitely worth reading.
By the way...The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie is part of our main giveaway (which is open for another couple days) so if you haven't already enter I highly suggest you do!
(Comment for +1 in the Year of Secret Assignments giveaway)