Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Becoming Argentina

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,


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
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:

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.


  1. WHAT. I had no idea The Year of Secret Assignments was part of a series! Now I've got to read the others, and TYOSA as well, because I LOVED IT and why not.

  2. I should clarify that in order, they are: FEELING SORRY FOR CELIA (not published by us), YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS, MURDER OF BINDY MACKENZIE, and GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH. Jaci's THE SPELLBOOK OF LISTEN TAYLOR is wonderful too.

  3. I love all these books SO MUCH. I just started GHOSTS yesterday and am having hard time staying away. She really is a genius (and no doubt, brilliantly edited).

  4. Oh, man, now I have to hit the library for that, too. I totally forgot about the Year of Secret Assignments. That was my first favorite YA book you gave me!

  5. How could Lydia resist Seb after he wrote that letter? Heck, I'm in love with him now! :)

  6. I'll definitely put these on my list! Also, I just read _The Book of Everything_--which you recommended when you visited CLN in Minnesota a month or so ago, and it is 1) weird, and 2) fantastic. My favorite book so far this year. Thanks!