Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Release Date – August 28, 2001
Publisher Website –  Random House
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 298 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
“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?

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 picked up Sloppy Firsts feeling like the last person to read it. I was delighted to discover that I fell into it's world easily, and was charmed by it's narrator, Jessica Darling.

Jessica's sarcastic sense of humour, keen observation sense, and refreshing realness make her easily relatable and a character you want to root for. She's a perfect blend of teen angst, bitterness, innocence, and someone just on the brink of becoming an adult. I found her voice truthful, and easily adored her. She reads like an 'every teenager' but Megan incorporates enough character quirks to make her a fully realized character that doesn't read as one dimensional.

The writing style of journal entries and letters to be her best friend works really well for this type of story. It allows the reader to feel like a confidant of sorts, and part of Jessica's world. I was immediately immersed and this writing technique was a huge part of that.

Marcus is what would be called a 'bad boy'. He does drugs, cuts class, and pretty much sleeps his way through the female student body. The novel shines a light on not judging someone by what you see on the outside. Marcus also happens to be a poet, a genius, and incredibly intriguing. He gets under Jessica's skin the way no other boy could, and everyone can remember that from highschool. The boy who could make you blush simply by walking in the room. The boy who could frustrate you beyond belief, but also be the one who leaves you wanting to know what makes him tick.

The highschool experience is presented in all it's embarrassing, formative, up and down glory. It's not the highschool of a typical CW TV show. It's a glimpse at a more recognizable experience (for most people, anyways). Jessica isn't the most popular girl. She pukes on the shoes of the boy she's lusted after forever. She feels out of place within her group of friends. There are also the good times of finding something you're good at, experiencing new things, and learning things about yourself. It brought back memories of early highschool; both the good and the bad.

This book allows it's characters to be imperfect. Jessica certainly is not perfect, and Marcus is flawed in his own way. They are not presented as either good or bad. They are simply complex people who make mistakes, learn and grow as they go along. This makes the entire novel have a realness that seeps from the pages. It starts to feel like this could be a diary YOU wrote in highschool (or your sister, best friend, etc). The main point is that it's identifiable and heart tugging.

A nostalgia filled, humourous walk down memory lane. This will be a hit with both teens, and anyone who remembers what it was like to be one. If you haven't read this one yet, don't miss out!

1 comment:

  1. I love love love the Jessica Darling series. I read this in high school (a decade ago) but I remember loving how normal the characters came across and like you said, I appreciated their flaws. Great review. I am so happy to see you enjoyed it as well. I hope you continue reading the series.


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