The World Cup has put me in mind of one of my favorite passages from any book our imprint has published -- the following letter from Seb, an exuberant, soccer-obsessed teenage boy in Australia, writing to Lydia, a student at rival Ashbury High, after he asked her to get him out of an exam:
Dear Lydia,This is from Jaclyn Moriarty's utterly delightful The Year of Secret Assignments, and because of this passage, we occasionally use "You are Argentina" in the office as our highest form of praise. We just rejacketed it, at the same time we put out our third Ashbury book with Jaci, and this new cover for the book is Argentina:
You STOLE THE EXAM PAPERS FROM HIS CAR????
How did you even know what kind of car he drives? You rock. You’re a classic. You’re as beautiful as a Beckham free kick and as wicked as a Maradona header. I’m thinking about taking off my shirt and sending it to you. I’m that in love with you.
You realize that’s THREE challenges you have succeeded in without a single thing going wrong?
You know what you are?
You are Argentina.
In particular, I’m thinking of the fact that Argentina beat Japan, Jamaica, and Croatia without conceding a single goal in the first three games of the World Cup in 1998.
This time you have to let me take you out to say thank you. I’m not accepting a no.
Your No. 1 Fan
As is the cover for said third book, The Ghosts of Ashbury High, which completes Lydia and Seb's story:
The other Ashbury books are Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, and they are all four hilarious, romantic, original in form, thoughtful in execution, with real depth and pain to their characters, and real pleasure in their storytelling. You won't find a better thing to read on the beach this year.
End of bubbly (but sincere) testimonial.