Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Last month I stumbled upon the fabulous, the funny, the clever Jaclyn Moriarty in her latest novel The Ghosts of Ashbury High and have been on the hunt for her other books ever since. Simply put: I love this woman's books to bits. Getting my hands on Feeling Sorry for Celia couldn't have made my day brighter.

*A side note, although all four books take place at Ashbury High, it is not necessary to read them in order. They are loosely connected and I would recommend you at least read The Year of Secret Assignments before The Ghosts of Ashbury High, but it's not strictly necessary. As for me, I read them all out of sequence (highly unusual for someone so bookishly OCD as myself) and still loved each one.

As the title suggests, Elizabeth Clarry is truly worried about her best friend Celia. The pair have been inseparable ever since they were tiny but lately Celia has been acting strange - even for the unpredictable Celia. She's run away (again) and Elizabeth doesn't know who to confess her fears to: not her mom, who stays busy with work and only communicates with Elizabeth through post-its on the fridge (albeit hilarious post-its); not her father who has suddenly reappeared in her life and who would like nothing more than to take her to fancy restaurants and talk about fancy wine (ugh); and not Celia's mom, who can only think of Celia's habit of escaping as a beautiful form of youthful expression.

It's not until Mr. Botherit, Elizabeth's brilliant English teacher, sponsors a letter writing project called "The Joy of the Envelope" between his students and the local public school that Elizabeth finds herself detailing her worries to a complete and utter stranger, Christina. Beginning somewhat hesitantly, Elizabeth and Christina slowly forge an unusual friendship solely based on the written word yet one that expands to help each other through a multitude of joys and heartaches.

Frequently, their letters are interrupted by missives to Elizabeth from The Association of Teenagers, The Best Friends Club, THE COLD HARD TRUTH ASSOCIATION, and The Society of High School Runners Who Aren't Very Good at Long-Distance Running but Would Be if They Just Trained. With the subtly of a sledgehammer, these witty letters add humor and levity to the constant niggle of teenage self-doubt ever present in the girls' letters.

I'll say it again: Jaclyn Moriarty's books are made of win. I love that they written completely as letters. I love that even while they manage to be laugh-out-loud funny, they still capture all the heartbreak and all the turmoil inherent in the ever-changing landscape of teenage friendships. Elizabeth's voice comes across so fluidly in Feeling Sorry for Celia. I felt myself responding to every poignant or exultant letter in kind. Love, love these books.

Other Ashbury High novels (not necessary to read in order)
~ Feeling Sorry for Celia
~ The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie (Becoming Bindy MacKenzie or The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie)
~ The Year of Secret Assignments (Finding Cassie Crazy)
~ The Ghosts of Ashbury High (Dreaming of Amelia) - my review

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
21 Pages review
The Bookette review
Bookshelves of Doom review

book source: my local library


Nomes said...

Jaclyn is my fave author of all time :)

her books are just so charming and heartfelt and whimsical and completely therapeutic and startlingly good to read.

i read them in order, so by the time i got to ghosts i was in the mood from page one.

so glad you love her. i think shes definitely getting a higher profile internationally lately :)


Chachic said...

I'm really curious about this author's work! Ghosts of Ashbury High is my Want Books post for this week. I already asked the bookstore and it's not available over here. Maybe I can order it after I get The President's Daughter series?

Michelle said...

Nomes - Yeah, she's quickly shooting up there on my list too! I'm hoping she starts to feel the reader love, cause man she's amazing!

Chachic - Sounds like a plan to me ;)

KIKA said...

Michelle: so glad you liked this book! and series and author :) I have Feeling sorry for Celia on my night stand and have heard rave reviews for The Ghosts of Ashbury High And now that your singing praises for Jaclyn Moriarty only adds to my need to hurry up and get in on this goodness! Lovely review :) Can't wait to start reading

Michelle said...

Kika - Oh you should start right in. I'm loving every single one of her books I've read so far! Can't wait to hear your thoughts!