I’ve asked you all to tell me about the lessons you’ve learned from one of the characters while reading The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty, so I’ve decided to answer my own question by writing about Lydia Jaackson-Oberman.

I particularly admire Lydia’s imagination. She has the ability to make fiction seem so real that you believe every word is true, and she can do this while hardly thinking about what she is creating. She can turn the smallest question (i.e, What is your greatest fear?) into something akin to a military investigation. Her imagination has often made her seem detached from the world, and it often prevents her from understanding her own feelings. However, Lydia uses her wild imagination and secret assignments to repair friendships and help a hurting friend. Whether she knows it or not, Lydia’s imagination is her greatest strength and her greatest weakness.

In the same way, we all have traits that can be used to build up and to tear down. I am a perfectionist in every way. Sometimes I am glad to pay close attention to details so I can do a job correctly the first time. Most of the time, though, I am overwhelmed by the details. I see everything that is wrong, and I cannot find a way to fix everything. At this point, I usually give up because I do not want to try to complete a task I cannot do properly the first time. For an example, perfectionism always affects my writing. Occasionally, I can be happy because I feel that I have written perfectly effective. However, I tend to feel that I have missed something or not presented my ideas coherently, but then I have no idea how to fix it. It is why I hate proofreading. No matter the perils of perfectionism, though, I love the feeling when I finally do make something “perfect,” and I am sure that Lydia is glad to know that her imagination can help her friends.

Have you learned anything else from Lydia and The Year of Secret Assignments?


Hooray for high school literature! I am sure that I will find this to be rocky ground as I am much more familiar with the elementary area and a bit fearful of adolescent matters, but I do love young adult books, so today we will start with one of my favorites.

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty is a book about two rival schools and six students from these two schools. The entire story is told in “diary entries, rude graffiti, hate mail, love letters, revenge plots, date plans, notes between friends, and famous last words” (quote taken from the cover page of the paperback edition). Cassie, Lydia, and Emily are best friends at Ashbury High School. Matthew, Charlie, and Sebastian are not best friends at Brookfield High School. These students are united in their misadventures through the Ashbury-Brookfield pen pal program that is supposed to teach the students to get along with each other. We’ll see how that goes.

Jaclyn Moriarty is an Australian author, and The Year of Secret Assignments is set in Australia. Therefore, if you are not from Australia, be prepared for some mildly confusing terms and phrases. Also, do not be afraid to read this book aloud with a fake Australian accent. Unless, of course, you have a real Australian accent.

Have fun reading this hilarious book, and check out Jaclyn Moriarty’s website, too! The review will be posted on Thursday, 14 June 2012, so prepare those insightful comments. I’ll give you a break – no guidelines for now, just have fun reading!