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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Review: Finding Cassie Crazy

Author: Jaclyn Moriarty

Release date: 2003, this ed 2010
Genre: Contemporary Teenage Fiction
Target audience: 11+
UK Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Summary from Amazon:
Cassie, Em and Lydia are best friends in Year 10 at Ashbury High. Ashbury students claim that all the kids at downtown Brookfield High are drug-dealers and psychopaths. Their English teacher, encouraging the Adventure of the Scary and the New and the Joy of the Envelope, starts a Pen-Pal Project. The hilarious letters between the girls and three unknown Brookfield boys lead to an escalation of the war between the schools, to secret romance, and to Cassie learning to face the dark fears that she hides from her friends.


Finding Cassie Crazy is the funniest, most touching and extraordinarily brilliant book ever! I am completely in love with it. I could read it every day for forever. Jaclyn Moriarty deserves to walk on a bed of marshmallows or something. I love her!

This is my third Ashbury High read and I have been reading them all out of order but it really hasn’t detracted from my enjoyment in any way. Finding Cassie Crazy is my favourite so far. It was laugh out loud funny. We are not talking a little chuckle here. We are talking full on guffawing in the garden to the point where my husband was considering locking me out there.

Lydia, Emily and Cassie are in Year 10 and their quirky English teacher Mr Botherit has set them a new assignment. They are going to start a Pen-Pal project with students at a nearby State school – Brookfield. The girls write to their pen friends with varying expectations. They each get a reply from a different boy and so the story unfolds through their exchanges – some witty, some heart-warming, some sinister and all utterly compelling.

Emily is just so brilliant in this book. She has a habit of malapropisms hence my uncontrollable laughter. Lydia is imaginative and wants to be a writer. In her first letter she tells her pen-friend that she is a road sign. Crazy? For sure. But brilliant reading? Hell yes! Cassie is a more timid girl and unlike Emily isn’t one for the spotlight. She is trying to come to terms with the loss of her father. The friendship between the girls is so endearing and their personalities are so alive that they felt like real people. How I love them all!

I have to give a mention to Charlie and Seb. What charming and slightly delinquent heroes they are! How can one not fall in love with a boy who is willing to participate in secret assignments? Or who think up the funniest names that begin with ‘A’?! I could read those letters back and forth between the girls and the guys all day long. Finding Cassie Crazy is in part a story about bereavement but it is so much more. It is about falling in love for the first time, standing up for what you believe in, crossing cultural divides and breaking down stereotypes. It amazes me how much Moriarty can communicate through diary entries, letters, transcripts and emails. If there was ever a writer that I wanted to be, it would be Jaclyn Moriarty. She is the queen of the contemporary teenage fiction world and I am happy to be one of her subjects.

Read for the Aussie YA Challenge 2011


Cliona said...

I'd love to read this, I've heard before how great Moriarty is!

Caroline said...

Aww! A review like this remind me just how wonderful you are, Becky!!
This book sounds so fantastic and you put your love for it in so many glorious words that I can't not consider reading it!!
I'm sure I would love the three girls, they seem to have the best of personalities! Yay!

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Great review, Becky! I hadn't even heard of this series, but they sound like really heartwarming contemporary reads that I'll definitely have to check out. :)

Clover said...

Ahh, your enthusiasm for this book really, really makes me want to dive into any book by Jaclyn Moriarty. Which I will do soon, I can't not after reading reviews like this :)