Title: Finding Cassie Crazy (Ashbury /Brookfield #2)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Epistolary
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication Date: November 2003
Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
Told entirely through letters, diary entries, emails, and other writing, Moriarty’s novel introduces us to Emily, Lydia, and Cassie — all students at Ashbury High — who begin writing to their Brookfield High counterparts through the schools’ organized pen pal project. Readers learn quickly that each girl has her own writing style and that at two of the Brookfield boys (Seb and Charlie) seem to be smitten with Lydia and Emily. The only trouble is Cassie’s pen pal, Matthew, a shady character who first sends her short, threatening letters and then becomes strangely sweet toward her. Nobody can figure out why Cassie keeps writing to him, but after she has a crushing meet-up with Matthew, Cassie discovers — with the help of her friends and the Brookfield guys — that he hasn’t been honest about his identity. All could be ended there, but when Charlie helps take revenge and Brookfield High gets mysteriously vandalized, the group comes together to deliver justice and save the endangered pen pal project.
This book is also published under the title: The Year of Secret Assignments
Mr Botherit is at it again with his attempt to join Ashbury and Brookfield through a pen pal project. Trying to engage his year ten class with the Joy of the Envelope, Finding Cassie Crazy is an epistolary novel featuring best friends Lydia, Cassie and Emily. Diary entries, letters and the odd noticeboard announcement tell the story of Lydia’s secret agent adventures, Emily’s dating coach advice and how Cassie is keeping it all together after losing her father to cancer a year ago.
What I liked most about Finding Cassie Crazy was how different and distinct the characters were through their writing. Emily is the girl with stars in her eyes and has a unique gift of making up words. As as self-appointed girl guru, she’s not shy in giving pen pal Charlie advice on dating. Lydia is both creative and sarcastic. She plans on becoming a writer and comes up with brilliant secret assignments for the girls – and Brookfield pen pal Seb – to complete. Poor Cassie gets stuck with Matthew as her writing buddy – but she perseveres and doesn’t let threats or creepy love letters dissuade her from writing back. Moriarty interwove the stories fantastically and there was never a doubt as to which one of her characters was writing at any time throughout the novel. The guest appearances of Elizabeth and Christina from Feeling Sorry for Celia was a bonus!
As unique as the girls are from each other – there’s also a definite strength in their friendship. They are their own people and yet, when it matters most, they’re there for each other. Whether it be breaking into a teacher’s car, painting over hideous orange walls or getting revenge and justice for one of their own – despite their difference they share a deep bond.
After reading (and loving) Feeling Sorry for Celia, I was thrilled to have enjoyed Finding Cassie Crazy just as much. Moriarty’s style is so much fun to read and I loved the mixture of fun, romance, mystery and friendship that was combined to make up the plot.
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