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Feeling Sorry for Celia

Feeling Sorry for Celia is a YA contemporary novel by Jaclyn Moriarty.

Elizabeth’s best friend Celia has gone missing… again. She has a habit of taking off due to her “free spirit.” Which is really quite inconvenient.

Elizabeth’s father has announced that he will be staying in Australia for the next year, rather than Canada – meaning lots of father/daughter time. Again, quite inconvenient.

In the meantime, Elizabeth’s mother is so busy that they tend to correspond with each other entirely through notes on the fridge.

So though Elizabeth initially finds her English teacher’s homework to start writing actual, real letters (to rekindle the “Joy of the Envelope”) to a stranger at another school quite ridiculous, soon she finds herself telling this stranger more about herself than most know.

Entirely written in the form of letters – either to/from her pen pal at the other school or from silly invented societies like “The Association of Teenagers,” Feeling Sorry for Celia is a unique, excellent read.

As always, Jaclyn Moriarty astounds me in her ability to make a book that is one moment hilarious and preposterous and then suddenly, unexpectedly, make it grounded, relevant and heartbreaking. This is why she is one of my favorite authors.

I’m only now getting a chance to go back and read her earlier works, such as this one. And already her skill is on full display. It was truly a pleasant, entertaining, poignant novel about friendship, family and crushes in the life of this clever and relatable Australian teenager.

Especially in its handling of the unstable Celia, Feeling Sorry for Celia manages to reflect a picture of what too much abandon given to a young person can bring, while not pulling the book into a depressing, unhappy mess. Somehow it remains hopeful and lovely – just the way I like it!

You can bet your bottom dollar I will be reading more from Jaclyn Moriarty!


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