One thing that I find frustrating about book series – it’s finding out it’s so good, you have to collect them all to find out how the story ends but by the time you get around to it, the next book in the series is no longer available. I’ve experienced it many times over the years of reading books. R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Saga. Sweet Valley Senior Year. And the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. I read the series from way back. I think I was in high school or College, in the early 2000s, but I never got to complete the series – until now. Luckily, I still have the first three books with me and so I’m rereading the books, starting with Sloppy Firsts, to refresh my memory of the story because at last, I can finally know what happened to Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie’s love story.

What’s the Story?

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, 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, 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.

My Thoughts on Sloppy Firsts

What can I say about Sloppy Firsts? I loved this book! In fact, I rated it 5 stars on GoodReads.

The book’s story is so relatable. It took me back to my own adolescent days when I was still finding out who I was as a person while navigating high school friendships, studies, and nursing a huge crush on a guy who didn’t even know of my existence. It’s not your typical young adult novel which is usually rated for general patronage. This book doesn’t shy away from talking about sex, suicide, or drugs.

On the friendship side, I liked Bridget. She was certainly not Hope but she was a real friend to Jessica. And of course, gotta love the close friendship she and Hope maintained even though they were now miles apart. That’s definitely a kind of friendship that lasts in real life. It’s just a chill relationship. You might not hang out every day but when you do get together, it’s like you’ve not really been apart.

As for her romance with Marcus Flutie? Well, it certainly started out as a slow burn. They interact for a little bit at the start then nothing until the last few chapters when Marcus has a 360 image change. I certainly got excited about the idea of Marcus. He’s got an air of mystery to him that draws you in and makes you want to uncover him. And Marcus is certainly seductively sexy. I was definitely all for the teasing and tempting he was doing with Jessica.

Sloppy Firsts ends on a cliffhanger. By the end of reading this book, I was wanting more of the story. It’s a good thing I’ve got all five books now.

Parting Words

Yes, read this book – books on Jessica Darling by Megan McCafferty! It’s a really delightful read. And if you love coming-of-age stories, of course, you should read Judy Blume novels. You should read Judy Blume’s Forever which is also all about first love.