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review 2014-04-11 01:27
Book Review: Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
Perfect Fifths - Megan McCafferty

In a departure from the style of the previous books, Perfect Fifths is not told in the format of one of Jessica's journals; instead, readers are given a glimpse into both Marcus and Jessica's heads through an omniscient narrator. This change in narration took away the air of mystery that made Marcus such an intriguing character and replaced it with an immature, less enlightened individual than I had envisioned. It also distanced me from Jessica's character, which is a shame given how much I love her snarky, authentic thoughts.

In my review for Fourth Comings, I mentioned how nice it was to see that Marcus and Jessica were talking - even if her journal served as the basis for that communication. The conversations that took place in Perfect Fifths, while pretentious at times, provided evidence of their connection that had been missing from previous installments. It also showed just how much Marcus and Jessica had grown and matured - and, at the same time, just how similar they were to their high school counterparts.

Jessica's realization about her feelings for Marcus seemed very contrived. From the Barry Manilow duet to the strange dreams, it just didn't seem real. Worse than that, though, the introduction of Sunny Dae seemed to serve as a plot device to get Marcus and Jessica back together, as opposed to the fleshed-out, sympathetic character that she was intended to be.

Overall, I was fairly disappointed with Perfect Fifths. If I'm ever going to reread this series, I think I'll just stick with books one and two.

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review 2014-03-26 00:00
Charmed Thirds: A Novel (Jessica Darling Novels)
Charmed Thirds - Megan McCafferty

Unlike Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds took place over the span of four years in Jessica's life. As a result, a lot of events in Jessica's life were glossed over, and the emotional impacts of her actions weren't quite as prevalent as in the first two installments.

While Jessica's voice was just as engaging as before, I was rather unimpressed with her character. She made a lot of very poor decisions, which I'm still not sure she's learned from. A large component of college life is trying to discover who you are and what you desire from life, but it just felt like Jessica was going about it in all the wrong ways.

As Jessica's character became more and more frustrating, Marcus' character became almost saint-like. He underwent a tremendous amount of growth and self-discovery in his limited amount of page time, and I can't wait to see where this reformed bad boy is going to go next.

Jessica's parents and sister played important roles in Charmed Thirds. An important part of growing up is realizing that your parents aren't perfect and that they're human, which is something that Jessica discovers as she learned to understand and sympathize with them.

Overall, I didn't enjoy Charmed Thirds as much as I enjoyed the rest of the previous Jessica Darling books. However, I'm not ready to give up on the series quite yet, so hopefully it picks up again in the next book!

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review 2014-03-21 00:00
Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2)
Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2) - Megan McCafferty

Second Helpings picks up in Jessica's senior year, where dating, college applications, and he-who-must-not-be-named are just a few of her problems. Jessica's narration is equal parts crazy, snarky, thought-provoking, engaging, and every bit as wonderful as it was in Sloppy Firsts. I really enjoyed watching Jessica grow and develop over the course of the book, as she made mistakes and learned a lot about herself and her desires.

My trepidations about Marcus Flutie's character were quickly dispelled throughout this read - to the point where I can easily see why practically everyone wants him as a book boyfriend. Mysterious, unpredictable, and sweet, Marcus Flutie managed to capture my heart, and his chemistry with Jessica led me to ship them so, so strongly. I sincerely hope that he'll have his own narration at some point, or be more present in future installments, at the very least.

Relationships are, as always, a prominent portion of this book, and there was even a very well-done love triangle. McCafferty perfectly captures the nature of teenage relationships (or relationships in general): it's often hard to know the nature of your own feelings for someone, and relationships themselves are confusing and complicated.

Overall, Second Helpings was every bit as enjoyable and entertaining as its predecessor, Sloppy Firsts. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

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review 2014-03-14 00:00
Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, Book 1)
Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty Sloppy Firsts is written in a way that is very similar to the Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart - a series that I thoroughly enjoyed. Through Jessica Darling's journal entries and letters to her best friend, Hope, readers get to experience the mess that is high school right alongside her. As a result, there isn't a lot of dialogue; just Jessica's introspective thoughts, feelings, and summations of what went on in her day. While I usually prefer books with a lot of dialogue, Jessica's diary reminded me so much of my own, and this authenticity certainly contributed to my enjoyment of the story.

Jessica Darling, our narrator, is someone I immediately identified with. She's intelligent, engaging, cynical, and sometimes crazy, which made for a hilarious and thought-provoking read. Her voice perfectly captures what it's like to be a teenager in high school, especially one from a small town, and I really enjoyed watching her slowly reevaluate her opinions and preconceived notions about her classmates and her town throughout the course of the book.

Before reading Sloppy Firsts all I knew about the story was that Marcus Flutie was practically everyone's book boyfriend. So imagine my surprise when he was introduced as a "dreg" and a "Krispy Kreme" - or a drug user with red dreads who was certainly not my type. Thankfully, Marcus evolved as a character, and managed to make me appreciate his unpredictability and intelligence, even if I'm still not quite sold on him.

The secondary characters in Sloppy Firsts are just as interesting as Jessica and Marcus, and I really enjoyed watching the "Clueless Crew" and other stereotypical, high school archetypes grow into something other than the labels they were given. High school relationships aren't the only facet that was explored, however; Jessica's parents are present, flaws and all, and equal time is devoted to exploring their relationship.

And can I just say how well McCafferty treated the topic of sexual relationships in high school? Instead of perpetuating the virgin/whore dichotomy that is seen way too much in YA fiction, sex was discussed in such a frank and open way - and given that this came out in 2000, that's pretty impressive.

Overall, I really enjoyed Sloppy Firsts. Although I just started this series, I have a feeling that it's going to be one of my new favourites.
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review 2014-01-30 03:29
Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
Fourth Comings: A Jessica Darling Novel (Jessica Darling Novels) - Megan McCafferty

It took me far too long to read this book. A whole month! The only reason I finally finished it is because it was due at the library. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate it. It just didn’t interest me the way I wanted. It’s gone down hill since the second book. I’ll read the fifth one just so I can finish the story. I’m still hoping the series will redeem itself.

Jessica and Hope are back together! They’re subletting an apartment together and Jessica has a big girl job at a magazine she loves. Everything seems to be going well… until Marcus proposes to her. Now, she only has a week to decide if she wants to stay in New York and continue the life she’s built or leave it all to be with Marcus in New Jersey.


The first problem with this book is based on a bias, but whatever. There was not enough Marcus. There was basically no Marcus, since he was on a trip. You might say, “but Laura, these books are about Jessica, not Marcus.” Yes. They are, and Jessica is funny and all, but this series just isn’t as good without Marcus’s complimentary wit. Because of his absence I found myself pretty bored.


The plot is interesting, but extremely slow. I blame this on the fact that it only covers a week of her life. I can’t imagine filling up 300 pages with a week in my life. It sounds horribly boring… and it is. Plus, it’s a little like whiplash going from a book that covers three years of Jessica’s life to one that covers a week.


There’s one thing Jessica talks about that I just have to refute. She comes to the conclusion that Marcus is constantly changing and because of that she can’t have him in her life. What I don’t understand about this is that everyone changes. It’s just the way human begins are, especially at young ages. College is the time for change, but that doesn’t mean people can’t stay together. In fact, I think any two people in a mature relationship should be able to change and grow together. Maybe that’s just me.


I don’t particularly recommend this book, but if you’re reading the series, you have to read this one to finish it. It’s suitable for readers ages 16+ due to sexual content and language.

Source: www.owltellyouaboutit.com/posts/fourth-comings
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