Monday, January 24, 2011

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Book Jacket

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?

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica's predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment--from the dark days of Hope's departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious "Dreg" who works his way into her heart.  Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience.  This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don't have to go back and grow up all over again.


I admit, I was not a fan of Jessica Darling at first.  She reminded me too much of Bianca from The DUFF--pessimistic, mopey, and cynical (my review of The Duff can be found here).  But as Jessica's story went on, I realized why she was so depressed.  The combination of parental pressure, physical and psychological abnormalities, as well as the lost of her best and only friend....well, her bad mood made total sense.

However, more than the explanations made up for the complaining was Jessica's sense of humor.  She sees everything, has an opinion on everything, and will absolutely make fun of it, whether it's herself or her "friends" or the teenage experience.

Although I did not have quite the high school drama that Jessica does, I appreciated the unflinching way Megan McCafferty analyzes teen relationships, whether they be familial, friendship, or romantic.  I found Sloppy Firsts to be completely addicting, and by the end I really and truly cared for Jessica Darling.  Can't wait to read the next in the series, Second Helpings.

Four out of five midnight runs.

Release Date:  August 2001
Reading Level:  Grade 10+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL MCC

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