Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty. Website|Blog
Published: 1 May 2000 (Pan MacMillan)
Book Depository: Paperback
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
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....
Okay so this is one of my all time favourite books (and series) so I've been dying to re-read it. For me it's one of the original YA books and one of the ones I actually read as a teenager. Feeling Sorry for Celia tells the story of Elizabeth Clarry, whose best friend Celia has run off - again.
The absolutely brilliant thing about this book is how it's written through a series of notes and letters. Elizabeth's English teacher has started a letter writing project with the local state school so a lot of the book is taken up by letters between her and her Brookfield penpal Christina. As well as that you get notes between Elizabeth and her mother, postcards from her friend Celia and strange anonymous notes from fictional societies such as the Association of Teenagers or the Cold Hard truth Society. I absolutely adore books written in different and quirky ways and it's just genius how the story is told through the letters and notes. It keeps the story pacey and means you really get to hear the characters voices! I love it.
I really like Elizabeth as a character. She's sort of the eye of the storm in that there's all this crazy stuff going on around her but she's calm and collected and just trying to muddle on and deal with everything. There's so many relationships explored throughout the story, from her friendship with Celia which was really interesting, her budding friendship with Christina which just made me laugh - a lot - and her relationship with her quirky mother and absent father. I loved the different dynamics between everyone and how even the smaller characters have their own back story and significance.
One of my favourite things about this book is how real everything is. The characters feel so real, the situations feel real and it just seems like a perfect portrait of teenage life and all the worries that comes with. I think it helps that its an Australian novel set in an Australian school so it has a completely different feel to American high school stories. It deals with a lot of issues but not once did it feel to me like a serious book. Even with all the ups and downs it managed to keep that light-hearted tone and wicked sense of humour that made the whole story completely enjoyable and engrossing. I think so many people will be able to relate to the characters and the story. Having read it as a teen I know I did, and even now it makes me feel all nostalgic reading it back!
The whole book is so wonderfully clever, from the way its written through to the interconnecting lives of all the characters. There's plenty of twists and turns along the way that keep you racing through the chapters. I felt so invested in the lives of all the characters and my heart always went out to Elizabeth. It has a bit of everything from friendship to romance to family drama, all wrapped up in a humourous package.
I really can't stress how much I love this book and how I want everyone to read it. It's the first in a series (although the series can quite easily be read out of order as each has a standalone story but the characters overlap) and I'd highly recommend the rest of the books as well. I'll definitely be needing a re-read of Finding Cassie Crazy after this! Seriously, just go and read it and see for yourself.
What to read next: Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty, book 2 in the Ashbury/Brookfield series
Books like this: Becoming Bindy MacKenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty