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Ashbury/Brookfield Books In Order

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Publication Order of Ashbury/Brookfield Books

Feeling Sorry for Celia (2000)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Finding Cassie Crazy (2003)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie (2006)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dreaming of Amelia (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Ashbury/Brookfield Series
Largely writing children’s and Young Adult fiction, the Australian novelist Jaclyn Moriarty has become a key figure in the literary industry. Selling all over the world internationally far and wide, she’s a highly prolific author with a number of different books to her name. This is due to her massively entertaining and engaging style of writing, creating her own unique niche and approach within the field. Creating many books, she’s well regarded for her idiosyncratic voice, looking at issues such as coming-of-age, relating to her many readers in a down-to-earth manner. This is also the case for the series Moriarty’s produced, releasing collections that carry on engaging themes and ideas for her audience. One such series is that of her ‘Ashbury/Brookfield’ series of novels, which both the critics and the general public alike have come to appreciate.

Set around students from an exclusive private school called Ashbury High, along with a Brookfield High the local comprehensive, the stories are separate but linked thematically. Not working as sequels as such, they each focus on a different student, looking at their own individual story, with some elements and characters recurring. Starting out in 2000 with ‘Feeling Sorry For Celia,’ it would follow up in 2003 with ‘The Year of Secret Assignments,’ which was also called ‘Finding Cassie Crazy’ back in Australia. They would all feature different styles and approaches, such as one being Gothic style fiction, while others are more straightforward.

Feeling Sorry For Celia
Initially published in 2000 on the 1st of May, this would be the first book to come out in the ‘Ashbury/Brookfield’ series of books. Setting up the series, it would feature a self-contained story only thematically linked to the other books to follow in the future. Released through the ‘St. Martin’s Griffin’ publishing outlet, it would pave the way for more, while also establishing the style and the tone of the series overall.

The characters here really resonate, feeling fully fleshed out every step of the way, as the reader really gets to know them. Depicting an authentic reflection of the high-school experience, the characters are genuine in how they come across. The story is well told too, moving along at an engaging pace, keeping the reader entertained with its compelling narrative. Working as a benchmark for the genre of Young Adult fiction, Jaclyn Moriarty understands the format well.

Regardless of where the audience are from or what their background is, this has a universality quite unlike any other out there. There’s a lot of humor and heart here, as it’s told in a funny and witty manner, as well as being sensitive when it needs to be. With moments of tragedy too, it balances all of the elements with expert precision, understanding the audience every step of the way.

Life feels complicated for Elizabeth Clarry, especially with her best friend Celia who keeps vanishing, and her father who’s suddenly returned. Now everything feels as if it’s turning around, with a new guy in her life who she’s interested in, and the prospect of a marathon to run. On top of all that, she’s writing letters, as she finds herself facing an exciting new chapter in her hectic life, and one for the better. Will she be able to find everything she’s looking for? Can she turn her life around? What will happen after feeling sorry for Celia?

The Year of Secret Assignments
Published through ‘Scholastic Paperbacks’ this time, this would initially come out in 2003 on the 30th of November to much acclaim. Set in the same world as the previous novel, it would carry on in much the same vein, while also being much its own story. A self-contained stand-alone book, this would manage to capture what made the first one work, while taking the series somewhere new too.

Many of the characters from the other books intersect with the story, although they don’t need to be read in order as such. They’re only thematically linked, and it’s largely stand-alone books with the same title, so can be enjoyed however the reader chooses. This title exemplifies some of the best of that too, as it’s an addictive read that’s difficult to put down, being easy to read straight through from start to finish.

Focusing on the characters of Lydia, Emily, and Cassie this time, it sees the three Ashbury School girls communicating with younger pen-pals at Brookfield High through the organized pen-pal program. That’s when Cassie’s pen-pal, Matthew, aren’t all they seem to be, and, after a meet-up things go wrong, and Brookfield High is vandalized. Told entirely through letters, this charts the entire events surrounding this, along with the relationships and friendships that are formed. Will they all find out what’s really going on? Can they discover the truth behind Matthew? What will happen during the year of secret assignments?

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie
First published back in 2006, this would come out on 1st of May to an already eager audience, with this being the third book in the ‘Ashbury/Brookfield’ series of novels. Providing another stand-alone narrative, it’s further stories from Ashbury High, this time centered around the character Bindy Mackenzie. Originally in Australia this was titled ‘The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie,’ and it would feature more of a mystery theme this time, using suspense to drive it forwards. Later this would be followed up with ‘The Ghosts of Ashbury High’ in 2009, which was titled ‘Dreaming of Amelia’ in Australia. That would be more of a Gothic story told through a series of letters, while having some ghosts provide a backdrop to the themes of the story.

The Ashbury/Brookfield Series
As a series of popular Young Adult it’s easy to see why they have such a huge international audience, with eager readers from across the world. Told in a relatable style that resonates with the readers, the books really manage to capture a true feeling of growing up. Winning awards too, with each book being shortlisted and nominated on numerous occasion, it’s a series that will continue being appreciated for years to follow.

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