Friday, August 13, 2010

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Australian teenager Elizabeth Clary is having a hard time. Her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her mother is never home, and her long-absent father has just returned. To add to her troubles, her English teacher has decided to force her class to become pen-pals with students at a neighboring school, and she is getting notes from a secret admirer as well.

This charming novel is written entirely in letters -- not just those between Elizabeth and her new pen-pal, but the quick notes that Elizabeth’s mother leaves on the fridge, and notes from imaginary organizations, such as the “Cold Hard Truth Association” and the “The Association of Teenagers” (generally telling Elizabeth that she is a failure as a teenager).

Despite its lighthearted nature, Feeling Sorry for Celia presents a realistic portrayal of teen relationships, and Moriarty deftly deals with some of the complex issues of adolescence. I would highly recommend this novel for older teens and adults.

Readers who enjoy Feeling Sorry for Celia might also enjoy Moriarty’s other novels -- The Year of Secret Assignments, The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie, and The Ghosts of Ashbury High all take place at the same high school as Celia although they focus on different characters. Readers may also enjoy other Australian authors, including Melina Marchetta (I reviewed her Jellicoe Road on this blog), Randa Abdel-Fattah, Joanne Horniman, and Nick Earls.

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