Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

A while back my good book friend Chachic asked me to participate in her very fun We Love YA feature and at the end, recommended several YA books that I hadn't yet tried. Among this great list was the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty. This past week I was in great need of a happiness-inducing, pick-me-up read and so finally made my way to Sloppy Firsts. Let me tell you, it was a match made in heaven.

After the sudden departure of her best friend Hope, Jessica Darling is left floundering with a group of boy-obsessed girlfriends she hates, otherwise known as the Clueless Crew. Jessica doesn't expect to find any compassion for her situation at home as she's felt like an outcast her entire life - especially now that her perfect sister has turned into a world-class bridezilla planning her upcoming nuptials with the help of Jessica's equally incomprehensible mother. Running track and attending a school physically incapable of challenging Jessica academically seem to function merely as ways of taking up her time. That is until the "Dreg" Marcus Flutie begins showing up unexpectedly - and always with unnervingly accurate descriptions of Jessica's thoughts and personality. Feeling like she's losing herself to insanity, Jessica enters into a confusingly, bizarre 'relationship' with the one person who seems understand her completely although she can't even begin to figure him out.

Okay seriously folks. I am in love. Sloppy Firsts was like a revelation to me. Coming in at a time when I desperately needed to find some humor I was rewarded with a kindred spirit in Jessica Darling. I love this girl to pieces. She's smart, she's odd, she has the craziest sense of humor, she obsesses about the randomest situations, and tends to mope when things aren't going right in her life. And no topic is sacred - everything comes out in this blindingly honest teenage soul-searching diary for answers to questions on love, family, friends, and life in general. All of Jessica's random musings are quote-worthy -- but I particularly love her descriptions of trying to deal with insomnia:
My insomnia kicked in three months ago, right after Hope told me she was crossing the Mason-Dixon Line. Since then, I've learned to hate every inch of my body.

I'll be lying there in the dark urging myself to sleep, when I'll suddenly become excruciatingly aware of how sweaty my thighs get when stuck together in the fetal position. So I have to shift them. Then my thighs are okay, but a lock of hair falls across my forehead and I can't stand the weight of it on my brow. So I brush it aside. Then my forehead is okay, but the toes of my right foot get all cramped up. So I have to crack them. Then my toes are okay, but I get an itch on my butt. So I have to scratch it...

This goes on for hours with every conceivable combination of body parts and complaints. I've tried warm milk, counting sheep, even the I-dare-myself-to-stay-awake reverse-psychology trick. Nothing works. I've stopped short of Tylenol PM because I don't want to be a person who required drugs to get in and out of bed. As if Heath weren't enough of a warning, I've seen too many Behind the Musics to let that happen.

There is only one good thing about my middle-of-the-night restlessness. I have some crazy-ass dreams that are really easy to remember when I wake up.
Who has not experienced any or all of these symptoms during restless nights? Jessica nails each to a T and it simply cracks me up to no end. And as for her dreams... Well, you'll just have to read the books to find out what happens. hehehe. Plus the girl makes lists. And charts(!). I am so head over heels here it's not even funny. I can't begin to thank Chachic (and the many others) who suggested I give these books a go, because I adore Jessica. And Marcus. And now I am dying because I want to find out (LIKE RIGHT NOW) what happens between her and Marcus. An added bonus is that I hear the books actually continue through Jessica's college days -- a fact I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about. So few good YA books follow characters as they get older and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Jessica (and of course, Marcus).

And as a totally random aside can I tell you how happy these titles make me? First of all, they are just plain witty, but secondly -- NUMBERS! Scrambling around, trying in vain to identify the correct reading order for a series is always a major headache, so I must thank whatever genius decided to put the book number as part of the titles. My little OCD heart thanks you. I just wish every other series would follow suit.

series reading order:
~ Sloppy Firsts
~ Second Helpings
~ Charmed Thirds
~ Fourth Comings
~ Perfect Fifths

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
BookNAround review
Forever Young Adult review of the entire series
Liv's Book Reviews
Reading and Ruminations review

book source: my local library


Nomes said...

Oooh - i'm liking this review. and i love the excerpt about insomnia - i can so totally relate to that!

i read this one recently too and liked it enough to get the 2nd one. but... i didn't like the second one enough to get the third, so am happy to leave it there :)

i did love the voice in this and how it covers so many relevant things for teens. and Marcus Flutie is pretty hot too :)

Unknown said...

Fun review! :) I still have to read this series and am really excited that you loved them! It sounds like a perfect series when I need a pick-me-upper from a bad day!

Chachic said...

This review makes me so happy! :) Not only did you try out a book that I recommended but you ended up loving it as well. Jessica Darling is awesome, she's smart, sassy and essential a good girl. I remember after I finished reading this one, I had to rush to the bookstore and grab the second book. I can't wait for you to read Second Helpings because that's my favorite in the series. Marcus Flutie ♥♥♥

April (BooksandWine) said...

I for realsies need to finish this series!

Marcus Flutie FOREVA <3

I am so glad this book was a match made in heaven for you.

Michelle said...

Nomes - Yes! I love how all over the map Jessica's musings are. And interesting, I've heard that book 2 is many folks favorite. I'm curious now.

Epic Rat - Oh heavens yes. It is the perfect pick-me-upper. I recommend them for sure.

Chachic - I cannot thank you enough for telling me to read them!! I owe you big time ;)

April - Finish away. Isn't it nice to know all the books are out already? No waiting necessary? Love it.

Holly said...

It's good to see you around the bloggy! I was getting worried. Glad this book was the perfect book for the moment. I will keep it in mind when I need just the right pick-me-up read.

Carla said...

I am SO glad that you enjoyed these books! They are the ultimate YA crack. Loves them so very much and Flutie? Flutie is a sex god.

Michelle said...

Holly - I know, I've been a slacker. But yes, you should pick this one up. You'll love it.

Carla - Agreed! Marcus IS a sex god.