Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
(Jessica Darling #3)
Published: 4-11-06 by Broadway Books
Get the book: Amazon
Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she’s more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he’s at a Buddhist college in California?); and she’s making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.
But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the überhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she’s assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?
Design – Jennifer O’Connor Rating – 3/5
The photos are getting a little bland. I feel like I’ve seen it before and they’re just trying to sell chick lit with this cover. The postcard that says “a novel” is my favorite part because it’s brilliant.
I think of the four Jessica books I’ve read so far (out of five), this is my least favorite. I just loved the first one so much, and each sequel has been kind of a let down. It’s a good book, but it’s not great and sometimes I just get impatient with Jess.
- Jess – Despite everything, I love Jessica. She makes bad decisions and she screws up and she overanalyzes all of it. She’s trying her hardest to be independent, but she’s afraid to ask anyone for advice or help. Sometimes her choices made me want to scream, but most of the time things worked out alright.
- Marcus – Marcus frustrates the hell out of me. He says he’s going to basically take a vow of silence because words mess things up, and then starts mailing Jessica one-word postcards. Make up you mind! Some of his zen, Buddhist theories are cool, but he seems more interested in living in this weird philosophical new-agey zone than being in the real world with Jess. Even though he clearly still loves her. But who else would send one-word postcards, or make poems out of spam email?
- coming home – It’s a bit weird to be home after you’ve been off at college. It’s where you’ve always lived, but now you’re just visiting and the people you knew all seem the same. I thought that Jess and her struggle to adjust to home again were perfect. She starts to realize that her parents are real people outside of just being her parents. She feels confused about where her home really is. She can’t understand why her old classmates are just older versions of themselves instead of brand new people because she feels so different.
- the future – Jessica’s concerns about being in student loan debt for a degree that she’s afraid won’t ever get her a job are so true. Her lust for name-brand peanut butter is so relatable it’s almost tragic. Her summer jobs keep her busy and eating, but they’re nothing to brag about. She is every college kid I know.
- school breaks – It’s undeniably strange to only read Jessica’s journals from summer and winter breaks. Her entire college career passes in this single book. It’s mind-boggling to read about how she hasn’t seen this or that person in two years. Most of the books I read cover a school year at most. So we hear about mostly people and what the people in Jess’ life have done in relation to her – really nothing at all about her courses or college. She goes from the summer after her freshman year of college to done with college in what feels like the blink of an eye. In less than 400 pages. I just can’t wrap my head around it. I understand college made her too busy to write, but it was dizzyingly fast. People come into her life and then become unimportant again so quickly.
- internship – I can hardly read about Jess’ magazine internship at True without cringing. Everything about it is awful – the people, the first day, and particularly the last day. Obviously, not all internships or jobs are matches made in heaven, but I can’t believe Jessica didn’t walk out of there sooner than she did. She was so eager to please her crazy boss that she didn’t realize how fake True was.
- cheating – SPOILERS! So, hearing about everything a really long time after it actually happened makes huge things seem minor. This is a reread for me, and I had completely forgotten about Jess cheating on Marcus! By the time I was done with the book I’d forgotten again. Jess mentions in one, maybe two sentences that she had a pregnancy scare. That’s a major deal, and it’s glossed over briefly. Yet there’s a two page list of different psych theories for why she kissed a Republican? The horror! I know Jess doesn’t usually have typical reactions to things, but that’s just insane. And if this is the same Jess I’ve been reading about in books 1 and 2, why isn’t she over-thinking and freaking out?
- So now I’ve got: I WISH OUR LOVE WAS. This pretty much puts me where LOVE left me four months ago. Which is nowhere at all. Are you losing your touch? How long do you plan on sending these postcards anyway? Months? Years? How long will this go on? And what makes you think that I’ll still be waiting for the answer? – Jessica pg. 235
- These aren’t my journals….They’re his. This realization makes me sink to the curb with the box between my knees. He sits down next to me and says, “I was wrong the other night in the car, when I told you that I had said all I could say.” – Marcus + Jessica pg. 358