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Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
Bryan Peterson
Finding Cassie Crazy  - Jaclyn Moriarty If you have not yet read the brilliant Finding Cassie Crazy by Jacyln Moriarty, please do yourself a favour, stop reading this pitiful attempt at a review, and go track down a copy. Okay? Seriously, do it. If you’ve decided not to immediately take my advice and you’re still hanging around this page, alright, I’ll try to make it worth your while. So, here goes. Five Reasons to Read Finding Cassie Crazy (you really don’t need all five, any one of these will do, but whatever, I’m feeling verbose and generous right now..):1. It’s Jacyln Moriarty! - One of my all time favourite writers, I can’t even begin to do justice to Moriarty’s way with words. Sure, I believe that writing is a skill that can be honed and taught, but I’m also positive that there are people out there who simply have a talent for bringing stories to life and a gift for expression. Jaclyn Moriarty is just such a writer. She writes laugh out loud dialogue, tight, surprising plots, characters that live and breathe on the pages. Her novels blend the realistic with the whimsical (I’d say quirky, but I really dislike the word quirky) and come out completely compelling, funny and moving. This is the sort of writing that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go, and I can honestly say I have never met a Jacyln Moriarty book I didn’t love. 2. Epistolary Awesomeness - This is a multi-viewpoint novel, largely narrated through correspondence as part of an inter high school letter writing project – round two of the tie-forging experiment implemented by Mr Botherit in Feeling Sorry For Celia. The (hilarious) letters of the main characters are interspersed with notice board announcements, journal entries, emails, transcripts, statutory declarations and summonses (Moriarty’s background as a lawyer is used to hysterical effect). I’m not always a fan of epistolary style books, but Finding Cassie Crazy nails it, to the point where I could not imagine this story being told any other way. It also makes this book somewhat difficult to put down. Every time I read it, I find myself saying, “just one more letter, then I’ll stop” and then I keep doing this until I find myself reading the entire book in one compulsive gulp. 3. High School High Jinks - Two Sydney high schools. One letter writing project. Six students. Pranks. Revenge schemes. Secret assignments. Shenanigans. Fist-pump moments. Swoons. I don’t recall my Year Ten experience (which was definitely more Brookfield than Ashbury) being this awesome, so I re-live it vicariously through this novel. 4. The Characters - I love them all. Okay, not Matthew Dunlop. Obviously. . Moriarty writes pitch-perfect, realistic and unique characters that each have a distinct voice. With varied backgrounds, layers and motivations, each member of the cast travels their own subtle arc throughout the plot, bringing something different to the culmination of the book where their individual journeys weave together. I’m a big fan of the way Moriarty writes the friendship between the girls. It’s real and heartfelt and lacks the angst and competitiveness that comes across in some YA novel friendships. You can tell that these girls just genuinely like each other, and I love that they fiercely defend each other in face of tragedy, change, jerk-ish boys..5. Seb Mantegna!Enough said. Are you still reading this? Go get this book. You can thank me / other Goodreads recommenders / your librarian / bookseller later. /fangirling.