Now here is a cheeky little something you probably didn’t know about Jaclyn Moriarty’s incredible Feeling Sorry For Celia; It is a book told entirely in letters. We love books like this. They can be so interesting to look at and it is a brand new way of telling a story.
When Elizabeth Clarry's best friend Celia runs away to join the circus, Elizabeth has to hurry to the rescue, which isn't easy when she's generally incompetent at being a teenager. Then gorgeous Saxon Walker decides to lend a hand and things get even more complicated. It's a good thing Elizabeth has a new pen pal to talk to - because feeling sorry for Celia is turning out to be a full-time job.
So, to celebrate the reissue of the fabulous Feeling Sorry For Celia, here are five of our favourite epistolary novels that will, hopefully, soon be yours.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This list would not be complete if we didn’t talk about this absolute marvel of a book: a cult classic for certain with a pretty good film adaptation to boot. This book is told through a series of letters that Charlie addresses to “Dear Friend”, a person Charlie chose to write to because he heard that they were nice. It chronicles Charlie’s first year in high school as he grapples with traumatic experiences from his past, his dysfunctional family and learning to participate in life. It is an absolute wonder. (And I’m pretty sure we can’t be friends if you don’t like this book so…)
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
How could we have a list of epistolary novels and not include Bridget Jones’s Diary? The answer is, quite clearly, that we could not. Twenty years old and as relevant as ever, Bridget Jones’s Diary is an enduring classic about a year in the life of 30-something Bridget as she writes daily about her love life, daily struggles with her weight, over-indulgence in alcohol and cigarettes, and her career. It brought us Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy and we are all eternally grateful.
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
This book begins with a THUNK(!), the sound of a box being dumped on Ed Slaterton’s doorstep. What follows is a long, heartfelt letter from our protagonist Min Green as she goes through every item in the box, one-by-one, telling the tragic story of their relationship and exactly why they broke up. Beautiful, tragic, and one that sticks with you for a really long time. This book is just perfect.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole , Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
If you have not heard of this book, open your ears and listen good. The Adrian Mole books, written by the late, great Sue Townsend, are absolute classics of YA fiction before YA fiction was even a thing. The Secret Diary is beyond hilarious as Adrian navigates the pain of first love with the original quirky manic pixie dream girl, Pandora, spots, parents threatening divorce, and more through naively observed diary entries. Utter genius.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
A list like this would not be complete without the Queen herself. Meg Cabot that is, not Julie Andrews. Well, yes of course Julie Andrews is the Queen (of, like, everything), but Meg Cabot is the Queen of YA. Undisputed, long may she reign, bow down. Meet Mia Thermopolis, five foot four, freshman, her mom is dating her algebra teacher and, oh yeah, she’s the Princess of Genovia. Did I forget to mention? Hilarious diary entries from Mia that will have you snorting with laughter.