Series Send Off: The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

I just finished the 4th & 5th books of the Jessica Darling series FINALLY…seriously I read the first 3 forever ago. I just didn’t want to let go (plus I get distracted by ALL THE BOOKS). So, as per the usual format, I’ll talk about the series as a whole for those who aren’t familiar and then give my thoughts on books 4 &5 as I say goodbye to this series.

jessica-darling-seriesmm

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

READ IT. It’s one of my ALL TIME FAVES. There is just nothing like it out there. THEY WERE JUST PERFECT FOR ME. There’s just something about following Jessica from high school through adulthood — she voices the struggles, triumphs and confusion of adolescence and that transition into adulthood SO WELL. Everything is so raw and real and the characters feel like real human beings that make mistakes and have flaws. REAL. That’s the only way I can think to describe this series. Also, HELLA funny. Jessica’s inner monologue slays me every time. Her voice is UNPARALLELED.

 

 

What The Series Is About:

The Jessica Darling series follows the charming (and sometimes not so charming) Jessica from high school through adulthood as she chronicles all those life-changing moments with SERIOUSLY razor sharp wit. From falling in love (and out of it), to going to college, to trying to pay your rent as a broke twenty-something, Jessica’s voice just captures perfectly the highs and lows in the journey to and through adulthood in a way that is just so realistic and in a way that is easy to relate to. She puts the difficulties of growing up into words that will make you laugh, reflect and nod along with her. Seriously, she goes through it all!!

 

 

Recommended For People Who Love:

Series that span YEARS (ie from high school into adulthood), contemporary YA (this is a classic!!), hilarious and brutally honest MCs, epic romances

 

 

Thoughts On Fourth Comings & Perfect Fifths
(Skip below to the next section if you haven’t read the series yet!)

 

jessica-darling-series

MAN, Megan McCafferty just captures that awkward “I’m an adult but I don’t feel like an adult” feeling SO WELL in Fourth Comings. I felt like I kept nodding my head like YES IT IS SO HARD TO BE A TWENTYSOMETHING OUT OF COLLEGE. Why do I feel like I’m a fake adult?? Why is it so hard to get all the things you thought you’d have by this point??  The job, the glamorous life, the feeling that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, a romantic relationship that just feels right, etc.

Fourth Comings, man. I thought my heart was going to break with Jessica and Marcus. I mean, there love story has been up and down and I was so happy they were finally back together….and now Jessica is questioning it?? And then he asks her to marry him??? MY HEART WAS NOT OKAY. But I got it? I did. They were in different places in life. How she talks about that made so much sense to me even though I was like NO NO NO. Basically when it came to their romance, this book DESTROYED MY HEART. Like tore into two. But as I watched her try to figure out her answer to him…I realized I admired how honest she was about the whole thing. She loved him BUT. Love is so tricky and I just think sometimes we want something to work out so much because you love someone but it’s not REALLY working yet it hurts so much to let it go. So, even though I was like NO NO NO NO you need to be together..I really understood. She had to be honest about what she wanted for her life. Where she saw it going. Was her love strong enough for him to give up what she wanted? We see a wiser and more honest (in a more self-aware way) Jessica in this one. And it hurt, but it was TRUE. She really saw the whole picture.  GOD I COULD JUST CRY THINKING ABOUT THIS BOOK!

Perfect Fifths — I was not ready for this one. As I started I was immediately like WAIT WHAT IS THIS THIRD PERSON NARRATION??? I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but it was perfect as I read on. I loved getting this complete story with her AND Marcus’s thoughts. Jessica and Marcus and their chance meeting after years of not speaking?? That nostalgic, awkward FEELING it is to be in the presence of the one you loved once? MY HEART. BE STILL. It was definitely a slower conclusion that revolves around their conversation as they meet and a lot of jumping back in time but I enjoyed every minute of it. Every minute of kind of re-living their epic love story that spans all these years (god, I’m reminded of Veronica and Logan here from VMars). There were points where I wanted MORE from this book in terms of fleshing out the adult Jessica and Marcus since they last time we saw them. I felt kind of distanced from their lives. But ultimately, I really loved this conclusion as a fan of this series. It wasn’t necessarily AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER which I kiiiind of wanted for the sake of all that they have put my heart through but I just felt like it was SO fitting for their love story. My love for Jessica and especially Marcus grew even stronger in this book. I just cried as I read the last words because this series was EPIC. I wasn’t okay with it being over because I felt just so attached to them.

 

 

Rating Broken Down By Books
(Links to individual reviews)
:

Sloppy Firsts: 5 STARS!!
Second
Helpings: 5 STARS!!
Charmed Thirds: 4.5 stars
Fourth Comings: 5 STARS!!
Perfect Fifths: A solid 4 stars!

 

 

Farewell Jessica Darling! Growing up with you was a pleasure. I feel like YOU GOT ME and I can’t tell you how many times I nodded like YES YES YES  or THAT’S SO ME or YOU ARE PUTTING WORDS TO SOMETHING I CANNOT DESCRIBE. We would have been bffs if you were a real person. Your honesty and reflection was refreshing and I know I will never meet anyone like you again. Thanks for the major LOLS, the tears and for being you. YOU. YES. YOU. (forever).  (Seriously, I’m really emotional right now because this series is EVERYTHING).  WHY WHY WHY is it over????

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it?? What did you think of the series overall?? If you haven’t read it, have I piqued your interest?

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Jessica Darling seriesBook Title/Author: Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
Publisher/Year: Crown Publishing 2003
Genre: I’ve always seen it in the Adult Contemporary section but the MC is a senior in high school
Series: Yes. Second Helpings is the second book in the Jessica Darling Series. Read my review of Sloppy Firsts.
Other Books From Author: Bumped series

Amazon| Goodreads | Megan McCafferty’s website

 

The second installment of the Jessica Darling series sealed the deal…although I can pretty confidently say I was ready to declare FAVE SERIES EVER status when I read Sloppy Firsts. But, oh, Second Helpings reaffirmed the series as my favorite coming of age story with it’s hilarity, wit, memorable characters, acute observations and insights into what it means to be a teenage girl. I’m annoyed at myself for leaving this series hanging despite for being madly in love with it.

Second Helpings sashays us through Jessica Darling’s senior year of high school and the perils of finding a college, dealing with the mess between she and Marcus Flutie (ow ow! ) who she hasn’t talked to since things ALL THE THINGS went down, & all the crazy fun antics with the Clueless Two. And it NEVER GETS OLD. Seriously, there are so many new and fabulous characters introduced, we get to see more of some characters who weren’t as developed in Sloppy Firsts (Gladdie Bridget! Len!) and of course we get to revisit the characters that are at the heartbeat of this novel. I grew to really love Gladdie and Bridget in this one! Gladdie is a riot!

HOLY MANNA FROM HEAVEN! The Marcus/Jessica tension that Megan McCafferty delivered was INTENSE. I would be reading certain parts and just be squeezing the life out of my book…willing them just to be together!!  I get goosebumps just thinking about some of the parts! The You. Yes. You. part, the bathroom of the funeral parlor part, etc. etc. I could go on. AND THE ENDING OF THIS ONE. OMG. My heart can’t take it. You giveth and you take awayeth, Megan McCafferty. I also felt like we got to KNOW more about Marcus and I fell deeper into my fictional romance with him.

In this one, I have to be honest, I found myself often frustrated with Jessica and her actions but I still loved the crap outta here. She’s the best friend that you just want to smack and be like “DUDE STOP BEING A DUMBASS!” but you still love her. She was a little more whiny and woe is me but then I realized — oh dear god, I was totally and, still am probably, like that when things get hard and messy and confusing. And I’d say her situation was pretty damn complicated.

My Final Thought: Coming back to this story was like coming back to college after summer break and seeing old familiar faces — excitement buzzes as you flit about to see people you haven’t seen in months, your friendships don’t miss a bit and you start right back where you left off. It feels like home more than you ever realize before. The LOL moments are fantastic, the Marcus/Jessica tension is to die for & I fell more and more in love with this series and feel a kinship to Jessica Darling, who no doubt, would be my bff if I lived in Pineville.  Definitely my favorite series ever! Like I get close to joyful tears when I think about these books. GAHHH! Prerequisite for friendship from now is going to have to be that people have read and at least kind of enjoyed these books. Bonus points if you are obsessed.

 Review On A Post-It:

five-stars

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

In Bumped, by Megan McCafferty, teenage pregnancy is a career and can propel you to celebrity status. After a virus renders everyone over eighteen infertile, teenage girls become babymaking machines and the government commercializes and glamorizes teen pregnancy in order to get girls to compete to bump the most and become pros at it. Two twins, separated at birth, Melody and Harmony have lived two totally separate lives and view bumping and life in a completely different way — Melody is on the track to be paired to bump with the McDreamy of all pro bumper guys and Harmony lives in a religious community called Goodside. Will they be able to reconcile their two separate lives to form some semblance of sisterhood or are their paths too far apart?

Among the ranks of dystopian YA books, Bumped certainly stands out in its delivery and unique storyline. I’ll be honest, when I first started it I was like, “WTF is this?!” Bumped is written using the slang and the vernacular of this world. It’s like a futuristic valley girl sound with lots of twisted pregnancy lingo. At first it grated my nerves and I thought it was serious..everything was so outlandish and crazy and over the top….and the LINGO..oh man. I almost put it down. BUT THEN…it dawned on me that it was satire of sorts. This was later confirmed after I finished it when I went to the Megan McCafferty launch party for this book and heard her read aloud from it (which was hilarious) and then talk about it. The one thing about the way it is is written that I enjoyed was that you were immersed pretty quickly into the world through the use of the vernacular and the obvious instances of glorification and commercialization of teen pregnancy. It made it all quite hilarious.

If you are looking for a dystopian novel like The Hunger Games or something along those lines, this isn’t like that. On the surface it is much lighter and there isn’t any violence or major uprisings or any of that. It’s a completely ridiculous society that will make you laugh at the ridiculousness and the slang. It’s a world that is just unimaginable to me because it is so absurd…in an unusual way. While it is a bit lighter, there are still some interesting thoughts that arise from reading this. It wasn’t an “issues” book or an agenda to talk about teen pregnancy. I appreciated that it wasn’t trying to be that although it was inspired from many teen pregnancies in the news and the lack of a clear “answer” as to how to deal with it from all sides.

My Final Thought: Once I got past the prego Valley Girl slang, I was good to go and found it to be HILARIOUS. I can see how this one might not be for everyone so if you don’t enjoy futuristic satire type books, this might not be for you. It’s unlike any dystopian novel I’ve read and I really enjoyed the uniqueness of it all and the fact that it wasn’t like every other dystopian I read. It was fresh and wholly a different experience and McCafferty easily created this future society by showing us the world rather than telling us the backstory and explaining what it was like. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out what happens to Melody and Harmony! Both characters changed so much! It’s much different than her Jessica Darling series but she infuses her humor and wit in this one as well!

Review On A Post-It

 


Did you read Bumped? If yes, did you enjoy it? Did you have a hard time with the slang or was it easy for you to get passed that?
four-stars

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Three Rivers Press 2001
Buy it here; Read more about it here.

You know how sometimes you read and liked a book but don’t know what to say about it? NOT THIS BOOK!! This is one of those times where I am furiously putting fingers to keys to implore you to FREAKING READ THIS BOOK. I have to because there is only so many times I can tell my fiance that “I EFFING LOVE THIS BOOK!” before he finds me irritating as hell and before I get annoyed that he isn’t taking any action to read this amazing book.

When I bought this series for my sister back in 2008 IN THE ADULT SECTION, after many many people on Goodreads recommended them for lovers of chick-lit, I never thought I’d read them or find them making my way on my sacred favorites list. EVER. I was pretty did not read anything resembling chick-lit at this stage in my life. My suggestion to you if you haven’t read these books: Forget any label you’ve ever heard about these books — chick-lit, YA or Adult fiction — and read them NOW! Experience the hilarity and awesomeness that is Jessica Darling.

Sloppy Firsts, where do I even begin? I read this book in the course of 24 hours and has been one of the only books that I’ve read that managed to make me giggle OUT LOUD every couple of pages. I couldn’t keep it in and I even let out a loud snort which embarrassed my fiance. Truly, Jessica Darling is hilarious, witty and makes astute observations about high school and adolescence that really is quite humorous.

I remember reading Judy Blume when I was younger and felt as though her books were written based on my inner thoughts and life events. Jessica Darling is certainly a voice that will resonate with most women as she gives an authentic voice to all of our past insecurities, firsts, messy relationships and more. There were so many parts in this book that I could relate to and that is what makes Jessica so special. No matter who you were in high school….you can find her easy to relate to. No doubt, Jessica Darling has become one of my all time favorite characters EVER. She’s not perfect at all but she is still so strong and smart and, even though sometimes she falters, she knows who she is! She comes to her realizations realistically and I love that her life doesn’t involve being a skank or thinking she is nobody without a boyfriend. She is like any normal teen who worries about guys, even obsesses over the slightest thing, but she does not live, breathe, nor find her worth in guys. MY KIND OF GIRL.

Oh and Marcus Flutie. I had to fan myself while reading parts that included him. He’s got that sexy confidence going on and I love it. He’s interesting and not cookie cutter. I love that he’s not the most attractive, god-like guy in Jessica’s mind and I love the quirky way in which their relationship progresses. I was pretty much salivating all over my book towards the end when we get to know him more. My only qualms..MORE I WANT MORE. Do realize how god-like Marcus Flutie has become?! I wanted more of him because what we got to know…he’s an intriguing guy and I have so many picture of drool worthy men in my mind. I never thought dreadlocks would be a sexy factor BUT HOT DAYUM…I can just see him with all his dreadlock hottness. With how this book ends, I can’t wait to see what happens between them!

My Final Thought: Whether you like YA or Adult fiction, read this. I don’t know what is ACTUALLY categorized as I have only ever seen it in the adult section but this shouldn’t matter because this book is THAT good if you appreciate genuine coming of age stories that will make you die laughing from the witty, snarky musings of a teenage girl of whom you’ll vicariously relive high school all over again in all of its embarrassing, awkward, confusing glory! One of the greatest romps through adolescence that I’ve ever had. It’s just so realistic (umm hello PARENTS in the picture rather than teenagers running amok) and I found myself cringing, laughing, rolling my eyes, rejoicing and squeeing right along Jessica.

Review On A Post-It:

And if that doesn’t entice you..here are just a SMALL SMALL percentage of the great passages in this book:

“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.”

“Am I the only creature with a vagina who thinks that weddings are ridiculous? I’m going to elope. Just me, my hubby, and a minister on a beach in Jamaica.”

“Then a lightning bolt shot straight through my skivvies. Sha-ZAM!”

“This is my new hobby. I watch my life depart minute by minute. I anticipate the end of everything and anything — a conversation, a class, track practice, darkness — only to be left with more clock-watching to take its place. I’m continually waiting for something better that never comes. Maybe it would help if I knew what I wanted.”

five-stars
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