Friday, August 12, 2005

The Year of Secret Assignments

Moriarty, Jaclyn. 2004. THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS. 2004. Scholastic. ISBN 0439498813 [Suggested Grade Levels 7 and up]

Girls in an Australian privileged school for girls enjoy their self-absorbed, comforts of life until their English teacher assigns a mandatory pen pal program with more rough and tough students at the nearby public school. The girls reluctantly begin their ongoing writing assignments quickly revealing to these strangers and socially unacceptable ‘bad boys’ their private thoughts and fears. The enduring pen pal program soon leads to romantic crushes with secret dates and assignments. The story develops into some twisted schemes resulting in consequences for characters that encourage pushing the limits. This lively novel informs the reader of the reality of teen dynamics and the many social temptations that await them. A good book for teaching readers the lessons of good character and the consequences for actions. Moriarty's story will please readers who are craving suspense and teen fun.

Invite groups of young teens to talk about social differences and the dynamics of private school students versus public school students. Encourage the group to share their experiences with being social different than their peers. Encourage writing journal entries for their thoughts and feelings of why one should possess good character and be acceptable to all different social groups.

Other books about young teen love:
Cohn, Rachael. POP PRINCESS. ISBN: 0689852053
McCafferty, Megan. SLOPPY FIRSTS: A NOVEL. ISBN: 0609807900
Moriarty, Jaclyn. FEELING SORRY FOR CELIA. ISBN: 0312287364

By Kim Southwell

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