Sunday, 6 July 2008

Finding Cassie Crazy, by Jaclyn Moriarty

Finding Cassie Crazy
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty's works are among my favourites. They are always written in a style that is different. For example; Becoming Bindy Mackenzie told a story through emails, notecards and school reports, and Finding Cassie Crazy is also written differently, which helps to make the book as good as it is.
The story is expressed first through Lydia Jaackson-Obermann's notebook which was a birthday present from her dad, then through emails written to Emily Thompson by her dad, and then through diary entries in Cassie Aganovic's diary. These methods of writing the story mean we get to know a little about the character's personality straight off. The book is full of humour, especially when Lydia gets involved.
This is the main plot of the book;
The three girls mentioned above, Lyd, Cass and Em, go to Ashbury High (this is the same school as in Jaclyn Moriarty's other two books, and some of the main characters from the other books feature in this one, which I think is a great, unique idea, seeing as the books aren't in a series or anything). They enjoy skipping school, smoking, parties and dope.
Their English teacher, Mr Botherit, wants to set up a pen-pal project between private school Ashbury and psychopath-drug-dealer school Brookfield High. Of course, everyone is against that idea because all the 'Brooker Kids' are psychos, criminals, bunny-killers, etc.
Even though everyone frowns upon it, Mr Botherit wants to continue with his 'Joy of the Envelope' scheme.
So best friends Emily, Lydia and Cassie have to write letters to three unknown Brooker Boys. The girls are pleasantly surprised when they get nice replies, and strike up a friendship.
But Cassie is having trouble with her pen-pal; he keeps threatening to harm Cass if she talks to him again, but her therapist (who is helping her get over her father's death) tells her to talk to a perfect stranger, so she continues to tell all to a violent Brooker kid called Matthew Dunlop.
Finally, he starts to reply nicely and thanks Cassie for tips on playing his trumpet, which is 'his whole life'.
Meanwhile, Emily and Lydia are going on 'nearly dates' with their boys. Emily is helping to train her boy Charlie up so he can ask out hot Christina, and Lydia and her pen-pal Seb are daring each other to steal exam papers, etc. from teachers in the other schools!
When Matthew tells Cassie the school banned him from trumpet lessons, and confiscated his trumpet, Cassie wants to help. She arranges to meet Matthew so she can help him to argue his case and get his lessons and trumpet back.
But it doesn't go so well, and Matthew, who isn't really Matthew at all, leaves Cassie crazy, and she thinks she is literally going mad/wrong in the head/crazy.
And so begins an all-out war between the two schools, and the five (Lyd, Seb, Charlie, Cass, Em) do their best to track down the mysterious 'Matthew Dunlop'.
An excellent and funny book from the writer of Feeling Sorry For Celia and Becoming Bindy Mackenzie.

Title: Finding Cassie Crazy
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
First Published: 2003, by Young Picador
For Sale: SLAVE
I have a Year Seven student in my possesion who owes me his life. He will do library research for you, clean out your locker, impersonate you at roll-call, etc., etc. Very stupid but works like a Trojan.
Form Mistress: The student who posted this notice should report to my office immediately. Slavery will not be tolerated in this school.
The Year Ten notice board at Ashbury High is full of crazy messages. One of them is Mr Botherit's 'Joy of the Envelope' Pen-Pal Project. Best friends Cassie, Em and Lydia are forced to write letter to three unknown boys at downtown Brookfield High - where the kids are all psychopaths, drg-dealers, tattooed bunny-killers, etc.
Naturally, this leads to an all-out war between the schools, plus secret meeting and some surprising snogging.
Buy It From: Amazon

Rating 4.5/5

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