Feeling Sorry for Celia -- Jaclyn Moriarty
It's an epistolary novel set in the same area as YoSA. It consists of letters between Elizabeth (at the swank private school--the name escapes me) and Christina (at Brookfield, the public school a few blocks away). At first, of course, the letters are written under duress:
I'm only writing it because of Mr. Botherit. He's our new English teacher and he seems really upset that the Art of Letter Writing is lost to the Internet generation, so he's going to rekindle the joy of the ENVELOPE. Next he's going to bring in a club and a saber-toothed tiger and rekindle the joy of the STONE AGE.
The book is much more about Elizabeth than Christina. Elizabeth is training for a marathon, avoiding writing any essays for English class by writing letters to her teacher about why she shouldn't have to write essays, getting to know a boy named Saxon Walker, dealing with the fact that her best friend Celia has run away (again), and dealing with her father who abandoned her as a baby and who has come back to Australia for a year and expects her to spend lots of time together--as if everything has always been normal:
What are you supposed to say when your father says "let's go crazy"?
"All right then, Dad. Good idea. Let's."
I'm never sure whether he says this stuff because he's got some kind of disease from living in Canada which means you can't help saying lines from American movies, or because he thinks that's the way to communicate with teenagers. I have noticed him watching me very closely after he does it, as if he's expecting me to respond in some teenager-style way. Like give him a high five or something.
She and her mother hardly ever see each other--they mostly communicate by leaving notes on the fridge:
I'm going to run over to Saxon Walker's place and we're going to train together. He's a guy from my school who catches my bus. He lives on Foxall Road. His mother's the local councilor so you probably met her when you did your rollerblading protest.
WHO IS THIS SAXON WALKER? IS HE CAROLYN WALKER'S SON?
IF HE IS, HIS MOTHER IS A DEMON FROM HELL! WHATEVER YOU DO, STAY OUT OF THEIR HOUSE. IF YOU SEE HER IN THE DISTANCE, DON'T SMILE AT HER. JUST SCOWL.
She also receives frequent missives from groups like The Association of Teenagers, The Best Friends Club, THE COLD HARD TRUTH ASSOCIATION, The Society of Beautiful People, and The Society of Amateur Detectives.
If that all wasn't enough reason to love the book, she makes fun of Enid Blyton:
I think I read those books too, the ones about the circus and the girl standing on the horse? I think it was Enid Blyton, which my mum never wanted me to read, because the girl characters only get to have adventures if they cut their hair short and wish they could be boys. If a girl character keeps her hair long she has to stay home and clean the tree house while the boys find treasure on pirate ships.
It isn't laugh out loud funny like YoSA; it's smile-all-the-way-through funny. I can totally see why this book was a bestseller. Love her.