I didn’t find Jessica Darling until I was out of college and finally had time to read for pleasure (this is probably why New Adult is such a hard sell, you guys!). Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series (SLOPPY FIRSTS, SECOND HELPINGS, CHARMED THIRDS, etc.) was published in the same time frame as my own high school experience, so I instantly related to all of the cultural references and how they impacted Jessica’s life.
Jessica [not-so] Darling is smart, brash, sarcastic, and her relationship with Marcus Flutie evolves in a wonderfully realistic way. I absolutely adore her. In fact, she was my first forray into YA lit, and her voice ignited my passion for the entire genre. Of course I knew that there were authors out in the world, doing their own creative things, but I was so caught up in literariness that I hadn’t ever read anything this vibrant and fun. I loved the colloquial style and the raw emotions. It was a lot closer to the kind of thing that I wanted to write but didn’t think I had permission to. Jessica Darling gave me that permission, and for that I will always always always thank her.
Here are some quotes from the series, to get you hooked on her voice:
“You can only be in a bad mood for so long before you have to face up to the fact that it isn’t a bad mood at all; it’s just your sucky personality.” – Sloppy Firsts
“Then a lightning bolt shot straight through my skivvies. Sha-ZAM!” – Sloppy Firsts
“But why would it matter? We aren’t … or…uh…weren’t …”
Which is it, Jess? “Aren’t” or “weren’t”? Present or past tense? Now or then?
“We haven’t been talking to each other.”
Past imperfect tense. How appropriate.”
– Second Helpings
“Then again maybe there’s something that I’ve been doing in the privacy of my own bedroom my whole life that I think is perfectly normal but is actually illegal in thirty-two states.” – Second Helpings
“It’s only when I come back home that I remember exactly why I left.” – Charmed Thirds
“He’s got a pointy bald head, and too much flesh hanging around his neck. The resulting combination gives him an unlikely yet striking resemblance to an uncircumcised penis. I secretly call him Rumpelforeskin.” – Fourth Comings
“It’s just Jessica and Marcus, oxymoronically alone together.” – Perfect Fifths
Have you read this series? If not, how soon are you going to read it so we can talk about it together?