Lydia's is an off-the-wall explanation of family history and an offer to do a bit of drug trafficking. In response, Lydia gets a rude letter with some sexual innuendo, and Cassie receives an offensive one-liner from the decidedly unusual Matthew Dunlop.
Readers who accept the premise and format will find much fun and humor in the madcap series of events that ensues, including the spraying of graffiti on walls, the spreading of computer viruses and other pranks and missions.
In addition to this assignment, as part of their long-lived friendship, Lydia periodically assigns Cassie and Emily secret missions (or "secret assignments") ranging from baking to shoplifting.
The Pen Pal Project gets off to a bumpy start, with each girl unsure of how much to reveal about herself to the strangers at Brookfield.
The girls are skeptical but eager to dash off letters, wondering about the possibilities of a workable project between the "Ashbury snobs" and the "lowlife Brooker kids." As it turns out, their new pen pals are boys Sebastian, Charlie and Matthew.
Moriarty uses the difference in tone in the early exchanges between the girls and boys to establish character and set up events to come.
The novel is a story of self-discovery, of girls and boys who come out from behind their words and realize they have been transformed.
This Study Guide consists of approximately 50 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Year of Secret Assignments.
"And this," he says (whispering for dramatic effect), "will kill two birds with one stone!
" by Jaclyn Moriarty, a simple book about three girls (Lydia, Emily, Cassie) writing to three boys (Sebastian, Charlie, and Matthew, respectively.) Oh, except there are the aforementioned secret assignments, along with prank calls and falsely-pulled fire alarms and cars getting broken into.