“My thoughts: This book is a diary narrated by 16-year old Jessica Darling, the cynically witty and precocious teen. She often discusses trivial and shallow subjects pertaining to her school and family life. Like Seinfeld, it is the “book about nothing,” but it is still hilarious.
I must admit that I had a few eye rolls when she talked about the Clueless Crew. “These are suppose to be my friends. But more often than not, I can’t stand them.” (12) Then why hang out with them?
Jessica was definitely a character that I could relate to. She was so keenly observant that she was like the kid from The Wonder Years. “Am I the only creature with a vagina who thinks that weddings are ridiculous?” (32) She just tells it like it is. Love it!
“As soon as I got there, I remembered why I’d held off. I hate waiting rooms in doctors’ offices. First of all, they’re full of sick people, spreading their germs all over the place. I found this particularly annoying because I wasn’t sick. I was getting all the contamination without giving any. Secondly, the magazines suck. I guess they figure Highlights will appeal to both ends of the drooling spectrum: children and senile senior citizens. Everyone in between can just die of boredom, or of whatever disease you’re at the doctor’s office for, since they make you sit there so damn long.” (92) It’s like I could’ve almost written this.
One thing I didn’t like was her obsession over her best friend and the desire to get devirginized. Did she not have anything else going for her? Probably not, which was made her the self-deprecating and gloomy teen you just love.
I actually look forward to more Jessica Darling quips and adventures.
On the TBR list: "Second Helpings" (I'm curious to see how Jessica's story develops)”
“Although I picked this up because it was compared to Sarah Dessen novels, it is nothing like any of those. This was far too raw, real and angsty to be Sarah Dessen. But I loved it. I completely connected with Jessica. There were times were I wanted to smack her for taking the depression a little too far. Mostly though Jessica was a real teenager with an extremely funny sense of humor. I am definitely picking up the next in this series. ”Amber R wrote this review Saturday, June 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Jessica is a funny, fresh voice to which many can relate.
When Jessica’s best friend, Hope, moves away, she isn’t sure what to do with herself. It’s always been her and Hope against the world, or at least against the boy-crazy girls at school. Now she’s forced to find new friends, and she finds them in the most unlikely places. McCaffery’s hilarious tone comes through loud and clear. There were parts that had me laughing out loud. Jessica is the type of character I wish would jump out of the page and be my best friend. McCafferty does well balancing the good things about Jessica and her flaws. There’s much to be had in the way of character development, and not just with Jessica. It was easy to see people I knew in her sister and her parents. Marcus is another species altogether. I’m quite certain there’s no one like Marcus in the world. He is simply a wonderful creation of McCafferty’s mind, but I can forgive that.
A word of warning: you’ll want the next book immediately.”
“I've heard it's good. ”Francesca P wrote this review Friday, March 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“hilarious and compelling ”Holly B. wrote this review Saturday, February 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm a guy, and reading this in the middle of high school class was no easy task. Still, I did so and it was worth it. This is the beginning of a great series, and is so uncannily similar to life it really draws you into it and makes you apart of the girls problems. ”Tyler Brumbalow wrote this review Sunday, February 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When I was a teen a did very little reading of books from the teen section, which I now inhabit on a regular basis, because I like to do the unexpected. Anyway, one of the exceptions I made was Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, which I remember totally loving. Also, I remember being disappointed by the sequel (or sequels, as I really do not remember how far I read). Having reread this, I commend my younger self for liking this one, but I am unsurprised that my love was short-lived, because I liked happy, escapist reads and this is not that.
Oddly, I do not remember this book having a profound impact on my teen self, which is ridiculous, because Jessica Darling is a heroine I relate to even now, in my dotage. She's intelligent, way more studious than I ever was. She uses her intelligence to be a smart-ass and to over-think everything (hey, soul sister!). I love the way she thinks about everything, because the way she delves into minor details and thinks herself into an endless cycle of worry is completely identifiable. Her constant mental whirlwind reminds me a lot of the Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart, though those are a bit on the lighter side tone-wise.
The writing is pitch perfect, capturing the personality of Jessica Darling. Her mental landscape is a very familiar place, and it's frankly terrifying how much I still identify with so far as her insecurities go. Those easily offended by swearing or the use of terms like 'ho' or 'hoochie' will probably be offended by a lot of what Jessica writes in her journal, but McCafferty's not making a statement with those things. This is how a lot of teens talk and think, and she uses these words not to be shocking but to be real. I love watching Jessica evolve throughout, working through things and changing opinions she previously held based on new information.
As with many contemporary teen novels, Sloppy Firsts focuses on popularity and friendship in high school. Jessica's best friend, Hope, has moved away, leaving her to navigate the social minefield of high school alone. Now, Jessica's actually in a pretty popular crowd, but she does not feel any less alone, because, really, she hates their guts. If she left she would have no one, and she's not brave enough for that (and, honey, let me tell you, not having friends is worse). Where most stories would be about embracing your true self and finding perfect happiness as a result, a group of kindred spirits appearing to embrace you, Sloppy Firsts isn't. The themes of being true to yourself are, but sometimes your kindred spirit moved away or just doesn't exist, and it's sad but true. However, she does find that maybe things aren't so bad as she thought they were, too, in that she can be more connected, even if the people here aren't Hope.
Romantic relationships and sex are also a huge part of the novel. Most of Jessica's 'friends' are very sexually active, whether they've done the deed or not. Jessica has had just one (really gross) kiss. Teen sex lives are very openly discussed, and I love McCafferty's frank attitude towards this topic. I'm especially impressed since the book came out in 2000, not in the more permissive current YA landscape. Way to go, McCafferty.
The Darling parents receive quite a bit of focus as well. They are present parents, but highly flawed ones. Due to the death of her brother from SIDS before her birth, they're both emotionally damaged. Her mother spends all of her energy planning Bethany's (Jess' much older sister) wedding. Jess' father only cares about her as an athlete, raising her like the son he didn't get to keep. Jessica struggles with her parents' treatment of her, feeling inferior both to the living and departed sibling. Their familial relationships ache with honesty and miscommunication, as well as naturally disparate personalities.
Marcus Flutie. If you mention this book to anyone who's read it, their first response will invariably be something like this, "MARCUS FLUTIE!!!! WAZZAHHHHH!" Now, I remembered Marcus Flutie vaguely. Basically, I recalled that he eventually becomes the love interest, but that's about it. Imagine my surprise when he's a drug-doing guy with dreads. That threw some serious cold water on my memory. If the book has any weakness at all (a point I'm undecided on, so I'm going for the full rating because this book is really good), it's how quickly Jessica becomes obsessed with Marcus when he's Krispy Kreme, when there's no way I could crush on a guy like that. However, I am not Jessica, and she lives her life in fantasies, so, on a lot of levels, that really makes sense. He pays attention to her, even an irritating non-flattering sort of attention, when she feels incredibly alone. Thankfully, Marcus does evolve as a character, because he's super icky at first. I'm not fully sold on him yet, but I am desperate to find out what happens next because that ending was mean.
You've probably heard of the Jessica Darling books by now, but, if you haven't, I highly recommend giving them a try. Sloppy Firsts is daring, funny, sad, thought-provoking, and unflinchingly honest. If you enjoy E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver books, you most definitely need to read Megan McCafferty.”
“3.5 STARS”Kris wrote this review Wednesday, December 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book was good and funny at first but some of the characters bothered me! There was a lot of language in there, so annoying! ”~♥~Alex Renner(Daughter of Jeremy Renner)~Wes Stromberg is my boyfriend~I'm not okay,3000 miles away~♥~ wrote this review Friday, November 16, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No