It was almost ten years ago that I first read Finding Cassie Crazy, but it’s only been a couple of years since I last read it. Jaclyn Moriarty’s young adult novel was the first book I read which didn’t conform to the style of standard prose, or diary entries, or letters. This book is composed from a conglomeration of text types written to, and by, three good friends, who are all Year 10 students: Cassie, Lydia and Emily. The majority of the book is comprised of letters written between the girls and their pen friends from another school, but Moriarty also uses diary entries, notebooks, notes left on the kitchen table and even a typed transcript to form this narrative.
There were a few reasons why I loved this book so much, apart from the form. I was newly in high school, and Year 10 seemed mysteriously grown up at the time- especially the Year 10 girls in this particular book. When I finally reached Year 10 I realised that they were still mysteriously grown-up for Year 10 students, but that didn’t stop me from loving the novel. The book is full of mystery, characters who have twice the personality of many people I know and it’s funny. It’s gloriously funny, and a book which got funnier the more I read it and the older I got.
The book is the second of three books which are all companions of each other, but are stand-alones, too. I’ve read the other two, but, in my opinion, neither come close to Finding Cassie Crazy. Moriarty is a writer who is not afraid to experiment and border on the almost unbelievable, and somehow she manages this feat without alienating her readers.
Finding Cassie Crazy is one of those books which you immediately want to turn over and begin all over again once you’ve read the final word. And not only because you’re annoyed that you didn’t solve the mystery before the ending gave it away. In fact, I think it’s about time I picked up the book again. It’s been way too long since I’ve read it.
Pan Macmillan Australia, 2003