Feeling Sorry for Celia is the first installment in Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury books but the series can be read out of order. I read and liked The Year of Secret Assignments a couple of days ago. This one is also available in Fully Booked for P539.
Here’s the summary from Jaclyn Moriarty’s website:
Life is pretty complicated for Elizabeth Clarry. Her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her absent father suddenly reappears, and her communication with her mother consists entirely of wacky notes left on the fridge. On top of everything else, because her English teacher wants to rekindle the “Joy of the Envelope,” a Complete and Utter Stranger knows more about Elizabeth than anyone else.
But Elizabeth is on the verge of some major changes. She may lose her best friend, find a wonderful new friend, kiss the sexiest guy alive, and run in a marathon. So much can happen in the time it takes to write a letter…
After reading The Year of Secret Assignments, I knew that all of Jaclyn Moriarty’s other novels would be just as funny and I wasn’t disappointed with Feeling Sorry for Celia. This book is written entirely through letters. Epistolary novels are such fun! More so if the characters lead such unusual lives. Actually, both Elizabeth and Christina are trying to live normal lives as Aussie teenagers. Their best friends, Celia and Maddie, are the outrageously wild ones. Both of them keep running away from home without leaving word of where they’ll go. Also, Elizabeth’s parents are pretty zany too. Her mother talks to her mostly in notes left on the fridge. Her dad, who left them when she was a baby, suddenly appears and wants to make it up to her by taking her out to dinner in fancy restaurants and making her smell and drink wine (which she doesn’t like).
I was happy for both Elizabeth and Christina when they were assigned to exchange letters because they understand each other so well. Like The Year of Secret Assignments, this book focuses on friendship and the romance aspect of the novel takes a backseat. The book deals with Elizabeth and Christina’s teenage trials and tribulations and how they can both relate to each other even though they only communicate through letters. It was amazing to watch a friendship bloom based on letter-writing because in this day and age, it isn’t that common anymore. And to think that they were only writing letters because it’s a requirement for English class.
I wish I had a high school teacher who wanted to resurrect the “Joy of the Envelope” because I think I would’ve loved to have a pen friend. Although when I was in high school, email was still a pretty new thing so people still wrote a lot of letters. Recommended for fans of epistolary novels and anyone up for a funny YA contemporary read. It’s no surprise that several book bloggers have been talking about Jaclyn Moriarty lately.