Charmed Thirds

Posted August 16, 2012 by Tara in Challenges /// 5 Comments

It’s typical for me to lounge with a flower between my toes.

Charmed Thirds
by Megan McCafferty
E-book from Public Library
[#54 in my 75 book challenge]

(warning…this review contains spoilers for Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings. If you haven’t read this series, hop over to this post to read my review of the first Jessica Darling novel!)

At this point in the series, Jessica is in college and things start to speed up. This book covers Jessica’s entire college career. She’s trying to study journalism at Columbia, and life is never dull. She tries to stay with Marcus while he attends a Buddhist college across the country, while juggling college finances and friendships with random amounts of success. The story doesn’t cover every semester and every moment, but we see enough of the major points in Jessica’s college career to understand what she’s going through and how she is developing as a confident, intelligent young woman.

I liked the first two books in the quintet, but this one started to feel like work. I like Jessica, but it was hard watching her do some of the things she does in this story. Sometimes I just don’t get or identify with her. I have more of a “roll with it” chill attitude about most things, but Jessica does not. She drove me nuts when she just walked away from her summer internship in particular. Since that scenario was at the beginning of the book, I guess I had a hard time getting over that one mistake.

I did enjoy watching Jessica experience different relationships with different guys for different reasons with different results. She needed to step away from Flutie for a minute in order to appreciate her chemistry with him. I really, really, really hope she ends up with him at the end of the day after they both do a little bit of growing up.

Quotes from Jessica Darling

“When I’m at school in the city, I don’t feel particularly worldly or wise. It’s only when I come back home that I remember exactly why I left.”

“High school parties exhausted me because I always felt like I was the only thinking person in a room mostly full of morons obliterating precious IQ points with every gulp of whatever booze they managed to steal out of their parents’ liquor cabinets. College parties are exhausting in a diametrically opposite way. They are full of smart, funny people who are all used to being the smartest, funniest person in the room, so they spend the whole party talking over one another, overlapping and overtaking the conversation to prove that they are the smartest, funniest person in the room, if not the entire planet.”

FINAL GRADE:   C   Giving this one a solid C. Remember, a C is still a good book and a book I enjoyed reading. As the middle book in the series, though, it just doesn’t stand on its own. The story is necessary, which is which I still recommend it to fans of the series. We want to know how Jessica ends up. We want to know where all of this Marcus Flutie business goes. I don’t think I’ll be able to truly appreciate Jessica and Marcus riding off into the sunset (if that even happens) if they don’t both deal with some bullshit in their younger years before settling down. Kudos to Megan McCafferty for writing a realistic character, flaws and all, and I will be reading the fourth book.

Do you think McCafferty should have quit after this book?


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).

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5 responses to “Charmed Thirds

  1. I am very glad to be introduced to this series. NOW I know what I picked up the unfortunate habit of always thinking I had to verbally PROVE my smarts in every group. Senior citizen that I am, I am grateful to finally have THAT puzzle solved! (tee,hee!)

  2. The thing i appreciate about your reviews is that even when there ought to be spoilers, there aren’t, really. You give a good feel for the book and who it might appeal to without spilling the beans!

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