Sloppy Firsts

Posted July 26, 2012 by Tara in Challenges /// 20 Comments

At what point in the novel does Jessica Darling read a magazine while chatting on the photo?

Sloppy Firsts
by Megan McCafferty
E-book from Public Library
[#52 in my 75 book challenge]

I originally found this book when Ginger over at GReads! gushed about it in this post on her blog.

What’s amazing about it is that Jessica Darling and I are exactly the same age. This book starts when Jessica is a snarky sophomore in exactly the same year that I was a snarky sophomore (1999-2000). I probably would have been her casual acquaintance, because she probably would have been too cool or too snarky to really hang out with the likes of me.  Jessica is a combination of the smartest girl in her high school class, and also one of the most popular, though she really doesn’t care for her classmates or her popularity.

Sloppy Firsts is the first in the Jessica Darling Quintet. The whole series takes Jessica from her sophomore year of high school to her late twenties. This book covers January 1st of her sophomore year though January 1st of her junior year, all in told through a diary format and letters to her BFF, Hope, who has recently moved to Tennessee. We are introduced to the following characters:

  • Jessica’s Mom, who doesn’t understand why Jessica doesn’t like shopping and spa days
  • Jessica’s Dad, who only talks to her about running
  • Jessica’s much older sister, who like the superficial things in life
  • Paul Parlapiano, a hot senior and Jessica’s crush
  • Hope, Jessica’s BFF who had ruined her life by moving to Tennessee
  • Heath, Hope’s brother who died of a herione overdoes
  • Marcus Flutie, Heath’s friend who asks Jessica to pee in a cup for a drug test for him (Jessica’s sort-of love interest)
  • Pepe/Pierre, aka “Black Elvis,” a boy who has a crush on Jessica
  • The clueless crew: Bridget, Sara, and Manda, Jessica’s “friends” who she really hates

Essentially, this book serves as our introduction to Jessica, and to Marcus Flutie. Marcus Fluties appears to be everything Jessica should stay away from. He’s a “dreg,” or a pothead, who gets in trouble constantly, performs poorly in school, and sleeps around. But by the end of the book we start to see Jessica form a strange fascination with this boy…and we see that there is more to Marcus Flutie than meets the eye.

Quotes from Jessica Darling

“I am totally aware of how ridiculous I am. It would be a lot easier if I believed I was the center of the universe, because then I wouldn’t know any better not to make a big deal out of everything. I know how small my problems are, yet that doesn’t stop me from obsessing about them.”

“See, my idea of cute comes with an IQ requirement.”

FINAL GRADE:   B+   Jessica Darling, I like you. You kind of annoy me sometimes, which is why you fall short of an A. But you’re realistic, smart, sassy, and not afraid of your sexuality, which is what I like to see in a main character. You bring some intelligence to the chick-lit genre, even if that intelligence sometimes comes with a “everyone else at my high school sucks because they aren’t as smart as me” attitude. I think that attitude is quite realistic for a teenager (don’t they always think they know everything?), so I like that Jessica is sometimes a little unlikeable. Though this series is labeled as YA, I would place it in a high school library and not a middle school library. I recommend it to anyone who likes chick lit or realistic fiction, or anyone who wants something light to read over the summer.

I loved Jessica Darling enough to want to read on, so I’ve already finished both Second Helpings and Charmed Thirds. Reviews will be posting in the next few weeks.

Have you read this series? What did you think of my assessment of Jessica as a character? What do you think of her? What do you think of the series?


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

Tags: , , , , , , , , /// 20 Comments

20 responses to “Sloppy Firsts

  1. I can’t lie — Sloppy Firsts is one of my favorite books for all the reasons you said. I first read it when I was 13–and I’ve read it once a year since then–but I agree that it’s contents will probably ring true for more high schoolers than middle schoolers.And I love Jess; she was one of my role models growing up (still is). Her snark attitude is a bit high, but at that age, who’s isn’t?

    Unfortunately, while the first three books in the series are completely flawless, the last two kind of falls flat. I still enjoyed the fourth book (Fourth Comings), but Perfect Fifths… not so perfect. But don’t let my opinion deter you; it’s still witty and hilarious, but there’s something about high-school Jess that I absolutely adore.

    • Miss Anderson

      These comments are making me nervous to read books 4 and 5. I’m not going to read them right away, since my library copy of the series expired, so maybe holding off for a bit will help!

  2. When I purchased the second and third books they were actually shelved in the adult chic lit section in Barnes & Noble — not YA. I agree with the other comment–the series really loses steam around the fourth book, and I have yet to read the fifth.

    Although I was neither particularly snarky nor popular in high school, I found that I could relate to Jessica’s perspective on things. And I thought Marcus Flutie was an awesome “bad boy” character.

    • Miss Anderson

      I don’t understand why the second book was shelved as adult? I mean, Jessica was still in high school. And I agree that I relate to Jessica’s perspectives on things. I’m more of an optimistic, see-the-good-in-everyone person, but I have my days, and high school sometimes took me there.

  3. I finished the first two in the series, sort of started the 3rd but couldn’t really get through it. While I really loved Jessica, I don’t know… wasn’t really my thing enough to finish. I think I’d like to, just to actually finish the series and see if I like it more, but I just can’t bring myself to worship these books. I want to though!!! Sad that I can’t.

    • Miss Anderson

      I’m glad there are people who don’t love these! I wonder if it is something about our personalities…are we too optimistic to adore Jessica’s constantly negativity?

    • Miss Anderson

      I guess I don’t like bad boys, so I’m still on the Flutie fence. I like him more when I think about him in retrospect…probably because he is such an interesting character. Definitely not flat, as a lot of male love interests can be.

Leave a Reply