Author: Megan McCafferty
Published: August 28, 2001
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Series: Jessica Darling #1
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
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“I don't know anything about anything. The only difference between then and now is this: I may know more than I used to but my wisdom pales in comparison to that which I have yet to learn”My Thoughts
― Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts
When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life? (Goodreads)
So Amanda and I decided to do our first read along, and the lucky winner was Sloppy Firsts. We've been trying to do a read along for the longest time, but we found it near to impossible since we read at different paces and are at busy at different times. But alas, it has finally happened. What a momentous moment of blogging history! Alright, I'll cut back on the dramatics. Don't forget to check out Amanda's review of Sloppy Firsts.
We picked Sloppy Firsts because we haven't read much contemporary, both of us being huge fantasy fans, and we needed to remedy that. Sloppy Firsts was a pleasant surprise. I laughed, and then I didn't cry, but I did laugh some more. I loved Jessica Darling most of the time. She had some wonderful lines. Here's one of the more memorable ones:
“Then a lightning bolt shot straight through my skivvies. Sha-ZAM!”She was sarcastic and snarky, witty and cute. There were times when I thought she would have been an awesome friend to have back in my high school days. She was super observant, and I found some of her observations hysterically funny while others were eye-opening. She was admirably strong in the face of so much pressure and drama, and I grew to respect her. She did have her annoying moments though. She could be whiny and full of teen angst, but you have to cut her some slack. Life wasn't the best for her. Her best and only true friend had just moved far away. Her sister was getting married and acting full on Bridezilla. Her mother and father weren't even trying to understand her, and she was stuck with a bunch of fake friends she called the Clueless Crew. Yes, she was quick to judge others, and she tended to be very negative and even a little mean, but she was having a hard time in her life.
-Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts
Amanda and I were discussing this book, and she mentioned something about parodies, and I realized that Sloppy Firsts is often a parody of high school. But at other times, it is very realistic. The stress Jessica goes through and the drama she endures is sadly all too real. Unfortunately, in real life, there are girls who turn on each other and then lie about it. There are parents who expect too much of their child and refuse to listen. There are many struggles throughout life, but high school is an especially difficult time. While there were some exaggerations, McCafferty did a great job of depicting high school life.
I have to mention Marcus Flutie. This book review wouldn't be complete without mentioning him because there is a large focus on him. He was certainly an intriguing character. I loved how Marcus was a bad boy because I couldn't picture Jessica going for a jock like Scotty. Jessica has such a unique perspective on everything, and I couldn't see her falling for anyone so "normal" or bland. Marcus actually understood Jessica when no one else did because he took the time to figure her out.
Even Hope wasn't there for Jessica like Marcus was, but it wasn't from lack of trying. Hope was just too far away to see what was going on with Jess, and Jess wasn't telling her. There's very little characterization of Hope, and I loved that. Hope is absent from Jess's life, and I think it is only fitting that she's absent from our reading experience as well. We never actually read Hope's responses; we only see Jess's side of things. That setup really worked for me.
I will definitely be reading the next installment in the Jessica Darling series, Second Helpings. I cannot wait! Especially after that ending!