Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Pages: 280
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: August 28, 2001
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "“My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t see how things could get any worse.” 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?"

Jessica Darling's world is turned upside down when her bff, Hope, moves away their sophomore year of high school.  Jessica is beyond upset and not sure what she'll do as Hope is her confidante and the only person who gets her.  Her annoying sister, Bethany, is planning a wedding, which her mom has become obsessed with and her dad only talks to her when he is discussing her upcoming track meets.  Her other "friends" at school, the Clueless Crew, aren't really her friends at all. They care more about boys, fashion, and staying skinny than anything else; she has nothing in common with them.  To top it all off, Marcus Flutie, the school druggie, has taken an interest in her and she has no clue why.  Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts, the first book in the Jessica Darling series, is an accurate portrayal of high school; it will have readers laughing out loud one minute and then reaching for the tissues the next.  After I read this book, I immediately thought to myself....why didn't I pick this one up sooner?

The format of this book is brilliant. It's a series of journal entries that follow Jessica through the course of her year. It even includes her monthly letter to Hope.  Through these entries, I realized that Jessica is a character that I am confidant most girls can relate to.  Also, McCafferty does a fabulous job with Jessica's voice as well. It was so distinct and full of personality.  I found myself loving her witty take on life.

Her strong friendship with Hope was heartwarming; I like to see strong female friendships in young adult literature.  However, it was heartbreaking, because Hope couldn't be there for her since she lived so far away.  But readers will see Jessica evolve and learn through her hardships and struggles.  Just like life, she encounters many ups and downs, but through it all she still had that great sense of humor, which I loved!  Also, Hope is a character that I desperately want to "meet" as readers don't get to read any letters from Hope or partake in any phone conversations.  Maybe as the series continues we will?

Jessica Darling reminded me of Felicity, which happens to be one of my all-time favorite shows. Felicity is smart, observant, witty, and would always end up getting herself into these crazy situations, just like Jessica.  They are both caring, feel a lot of strong emotions and sometimes they ends up depressed when things don't go their way.  Plus, Felicity would always tape record a letter to her friend, Sally, which is very similar to Hope/Jessica's relationship. Obviously, I loved the similarities.

Throughout this story, I was continually disappointed by Jessica's parents. I actually hated them. McCafferty does a good job of depicting parents not always at their best and demonstrating that they are people too with their own sets of problems, etc.  I just felt bad for Jessica more often than not, because her parents were so preoccupied and/or hard on her.

I believe this series was originally marketed for adults and I'd have to agree that Sloppy Firsts is definitely for an older more mature reader as there are a ton of sexual innuendos and coarse language. I'm sure many young adults may read this since Jessica is in high school; however, they should read at their own risk!  With that said, this is a must read for mature young adults and adults alike who want to be transported back to high school for a good laugh.  After reading this book, I immediately downloaded book two, Second Helpings, to my Nook and plan on reading the whole series. I love the idea of following a character from high school to college. I can't wait to see what happens next!

*Pre-order Bumped (McCafferty's YA debut coming out in the spring)


  1. Sounds interesting. I will keep this one in mind.

  2. Great book. I use to LOOOOOOOOOVE Felicity. Sometimes I think I should rewatch the series.

  3. This sounds really interesting. I like how it's told in journal entries. I'll have to check it out now.

  4. I have great things about these books, but never tried one. Glad to hear that you liked it and going to continue to read the whole series. ;) Great review.

  5. This one sounds like great fun! I've never read anything by this author before, but I really like the sound of this. Another one to add to the list!

  6. Thanks for checking out my review, everyone. This is a series that I am definitely going to finish! Love it!

    Juju- I was obsessed with Felicity too! :)


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