Jessica Darling is devastated when her best friend moves away from Pineville, New Jersey. With Hope gone, Jessica has no one she can really talk to. She doesn’t relate to the boy-and-shopping obsessed girls at school, or her dad’s obsession with track meets, and her mom is too busy planning big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding. Jessica is lost more than ever, and her nonexistent love life is only making things worse.
Fresh, funny, and utterly compelling, readers fell in love with Jessica Darling’s poignant, hilarious voice and have stayed with her through her ups and downs (and her mixed-up feelings about her first love, Marcus Flutie). A modern classic, readers will be excited to return to Pineville, New Jersey and Jessica Darling’s world with Sloppy Firsts. Now with a foreword from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Serle and a new author’s note from Megan McCafferty!
I just adored Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCaffery with its lovable characters, relatable situations, and ability to take me back to my own high school days.
I absolutely loved the main character Jess (Jessica) Darling. I wasn’t like her in high school, but I would have gladly been her best friend. We would have bonded over a shared snarkiness and a disdain for people whose actions are over the top – those that try too hard to seem cool, be popular, and/or attract potential dating partners. Jess is unapologetically real among teenagers who are more focused on the skewed fantasy than what’s real. I laughed out loud so often as she fought against other peoples’ expectations day in and day out.
I also enjoyed the journal technique that is used to tell the story. This, of course, puts it in a first-person POV, but I found that an extraordinarily compelling way to tell the tale, especially since the main character is so relatable. At its heart, this is a story about a teenage girl whose best friend moved away after her family went through a traumatic ordeal. Jess tells the tale of what it’s like to be a teenager and lose “your person” (that person who gets you and who loves and accepts you through thick and thin) beautifully and more through her choices than through her words. I especially loved her letters to Hope, reflecting her growth and her blossoming self-awareness as the story unfolds.
The romantic elements of the story are fascinating as Jess would never do anything, especially romance, in a sappy, gushing way. I was sad that the relationship that develops was left in a cliffhanger at a critical juncture – left unsaid here for many spoiler-type reasons. I don’t like cliffhangers, in general, and I didn’t see it coming in a romantic comedy, having never experienced it within the genre before. But I wish that the story could have ended on a lightly conclusive note, even though I know more books are coming in the series.
If you are looking for a story that can take you back to high school (or one that is relatable if you are currently in high school) and show you universal truths, even the hard ones, in a deceptively entertaining way, you must pick up this book and series. I bet you will adore Jess and her story as much as I do!