Age Appropriate

Parental Reviews Of Non-Parental Books

The Year of Secret Assignments

Title:  The Year of Secret Assignments
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Publisher: Scholastic
Number of Pages:  338 (paperback)
Advertised Age Level: Ages 12 and up

Age and Grade of Main Character(s):  15 years/Sophomore

Language:  mild, Australian slang
Sex: kissing
Drug/Alcohol Use:  none
Violence: none
Social Issues:  high school pranks, vandalism, leukemia, parental death
Suggested Movie Grade:  PG

Premise:
In order to improve relations between rival schools Ashbury High and Brookfield High, students in the 10th grade are assigned a pen pal with whom they are to correspond throughout the year. Best friends Cassie, Emily and Lydia begin writing to Matthew, Charlie and Sebastian respectively, and before long the six develop relationships that vary between oddly hostile through budding romance. When the kids begin to challenge each other to pull off “secret assignments”, things begin to happen that none of them expected. Misunderstandings arise that threaten to destroy the friendships that have grown out of their letters. But when Cassie is tricked and humiliated, they all join forces to extract revenge.

Potential Points of Concern:

* This book is written entirely as correspondence and diary entries, thus all descriptions are indirect.

Originally, the letters that Cassie receives from “Matthew” are full of threats of violence which she keeps to herself. When Cassie finally meets her pen pal, he is very cruel to her.

Cassie’s father recently died of leukemia, and she struggles to deal with her grief.

Sebastian beats up another student in defense of Cassie. Not described in detail at all.

Both schools are severely vandalized.

The girls are accused of crimes they didn’t commit and must defend themselves in court.

Age Appropriateness:  12 +

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