Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
The Skinny: Jessica Darling’s life has been destroyed. Her best friend Hope has moved from their home in smalltown, New Jersey to Tennessee following the death of Hope’s older brother. Her family can’t seem to understand her depression, she hates her friends who are left and suddenly the school’s ‘bad boy’ is starting to pay attention to her. What is a girl to do?
Write it all down, of course! Told in a journal-style format, we get to glimpse into Jessica’s secret life, full of snark, teenage angst and rebellion as she wades through her own personal hell, i.e. high school.
BFF?: Hell’s Bells yes! Jessica, although totally whiney, is what I feel best friends are made of. She’s smart, snarky, witty – all things I love! She also needs a good friend to help her through her rough times. It’s hard when the one person you feel a connection to leaves and you’re left all alone. Although she looks for a replacement for Hope, there’s really no one to fill that void. Clearly she doesn’t see me jumping up and down, pointing at myself crying “I can! I can!”
Readability: Books written in journal style are sometimes tricky. At first it’s just like first person, you think “Oh, I can get into this.” But then you realize “Hey! It was just October 1. How is it Thanksgiving already?” Because she didn’t write for 6 friggin weeks! Luckily for us, Jessica was pretty consistent in how often she wrote. Journal style writing allows readers to get even further into a character’s head. While first person allows us to get into their mind, see how they see things, journal style lets us see how they feel about their own thoughts and emotions, how they react to things they do and their thoughts about it. McCafferty also captures Jessica’s voice perfectly. I think back to the journals I tried to keep as a teenager and totally saw my own writing in Jessica’s, the way I poured myself out but then held back because even some things were too good to put on paper.
Crush Level: 6
After hearing about Marcus Flutie for months and him being referenced so often I was really expecting major wows. However, I wasn’t really impressed with him most of the book. That is, until he and Jessica began getting closer. I got giggly when they talked every night on the phone, about everything and nothing at all. So I became slightly hooked on him. I’m thinking the more I read the rest of the series the more and more I’ll like him.
High School Crush
Jessica has it bad for Paul Parlipiano, the hottest guy in school. I remember my high school crushes, boys I didn’t know anything about other than I liked to look at them and fantasize what it would be like to kiss them.
This just wouldn’t be a YA book without the clique-y mean girls. The entire time I was reading it I pictured The Plastics from the movie. Jessica goes as far as giving them the nickname the “Clueless Crew,” complete with sluttyness, backstabbing and plenty of “omigods.”
Superlatives – Most Likely to Succeed Without Really Trying