Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Published: 8-28-01 by Broadway Books
Get the book: Amazon
When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant 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 by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, 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. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.
Design – Jennifer O’Connor Photo – Martin Barraud Rating – 4/5
I think my favorite part of this cover is the folded piece of paper with the words “a novel” on it, because it’s a subtle and direct reference to the book. The photo is simple but still makes me think of it like a picture of Jessica. The bright colors liven it up and work well with the photo. The only thing I don’t like is how the letter i is a different color for no apparent reason.
Ok, this book is like your high school years in paperback. Jessica is great – full of snark and sarcasm about mostly everything in her life. Still very entertaining though. Most people in high school think that their problems are the worst thing possible, but Jessica is sick of high school drama.
- Jessica – This is the first time that I’ve felt like the main character of a book was in my head. She says things that I think most high schoolers want to say. Jess is ridiculously smart, sick of feeling trapped in the suburbs, completely tired of the people at her school, and confused beyond belief by guys – particularly Marcus. Everything about her feels like she’s a real person.
- Marcus – Although Marcus doesn’t display many positive traits in this book, it’s clear that he is going to have a massive impact on Jess’s life – whether she likes it or not. It’s so fun to see what Marcus does next, how Jessica reacts, and try to figure out how their paths will keep crossing.
- Jess + her parents – They interact with each other like most high schoolers do. Jess confides in her journal, Hope, Marcus – anyone but her parents. Her parents seem to Jess to only pay attention to her at the most inopportune times – when they think she’s not living up to her potential in running, school, or boys.
- life – Jessica is far from perfect – she’s a bit pretentious sometimes. Her emails to Hope focus on her own life only. She hangs out with the Clueless Crew even though she can’t stand them. Her life is completely average and normal. Her life in this book isn’t squeaky clean either – there’s just the right amount of drinking, drugs, sex, and cursing going on in her and her classmates’ lives to be realistic without trying too hard. Plus there’s tons of different things going on in her life at once – not everything is in its own little package or easily worked out.
- January-December – The book begins in the middle of Jessica’s school year, then covers her summer job, and the beginning of her junior year. It’s not a timeframe I’ve ever read about, and it was a little strange to see half of each school year.
- “I knew you wouldn’t do it.” I can’t even describe the fiery rage that came over me. I was so tired of everyone telling me what I would and should and could do and not do. My parents. The Clueless Crew. Hy. And now Marcus. Anger that had been simmering inside me for months, years, my whole life, boiled over and spilled out all over Marcus. “How do you know what I’ll do?” – Marcus + Jessica pg. 113
- He looked me right in the eyes. If he’d focused hard enough on my pupils, he could’ve seen his own reflection, his own face smirking at me. “You couldn’t forget it if you tried,” he said, before walking away. He’s right. And I don’t know if I hate him or love him for that. – Marcus + Jessica pg. 261