Book Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Posted October 6, 2013 by Debby in Reviews / 11 Comments

Book Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCaffertySloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Series: Jessica Darling #1
Published by Broadway Books on August 28th, 2001
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Slice-of-Life, Young Adult
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted

“My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

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.

3.5 Stars

Dear Jessica Darling…… what are you? This book has left me feeling extremely conflicted.

Jessica and I did not get along at first. In fact, when I was about a third of the way through, I was totally ready to throw the book across the room and just call it a day. This girl complains about everything. Her voice, and I should mention this book is written like a diary, is extremely whiny. Were they realistic complaints? Sure. Could I relate to them, looking back on my own experiences in high school? To a certain extent. But damn, this girl just carried on complaining about everything. After her best friend moved away, she seriously just hates everything, and that gets extremely exhausting to read about.

I mean, Jessica’s the kind of girl who slut shames to a certain extent, who hangs out with “friends” and then calls them “The Clueless Crew” behind their backs because she actually hates them and thinks they’re completely ridiculous. Oy vey. So yeah, I considered tossing it.

But I didn’t. I picked it back up on my commute on the way home and suddenly… I was into it! I was really kind of enjoying it. Nothing had changed though. I think I really just needed to get used to Jessica’s voice. Other people have said this was a “laugh out loud” book because of the realism and relatability… well, I wouldn’t go so far. I honestly didn’t really laugh at any of her annoying complaints. But after I got used to her voice, I did see where she was coming from, and the understanding I gained of her character made the story more enjoyable.

However, I should mention that this book is not what I expected. Honestly, I expected a fluffy romantic book, and this is not that at all. There’s some romance, admittedly, but it comes into play really late and just serves as a lead in for the next book, which has me doing a *headdesk* because it means that I actually really want to read the next book, because Jess and Marcus are adorableeeeeeeee and I want more of that.

What Sloppy Firsts actually is is a, more or less, literal reality show. You watch Jessica go through her daily life. And to some extent, it is boring as fuck. But then I just kept reading anyway. I don’t know. There’s no logic to this, seriously. I was reading at a rapid pace because it’s an easy and quick read, and at the same time I was questioning myself, “Where is the plot? What is going on? Whyyyyyy?”

Summing Up:

Sloppy Firsts is a book you should only pick up if you want to reminisce about high school life – even if you hated it, or particularly if you hated it. Whatever. It’s basically just a picture of average high school life. I can’t say much more than that. The characters were okay. I loved Marcus, but his presence was limited, so alas. The writing was okay. The ending and the family dynamics that came into play there I actually really really loved. And I did see Jessica grow as a character at the end, so that made me look back on the book overall in a favorable way. But is it a book I would name a favorite and highly recommend to read? Not really.

But damn if I don’t want to order Second Helpings soon. *sigh* I hate myself.

GIF it to me straight!


One of the many thoughts going through my head during this book.

Recommended To:

People who like to reminisce about the crappy experiences and two-faced society of high school.
(Yeah, I dunno.)

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11 responses to “Book Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

  1. Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA

    Everybody loves this series and I just don't get it. I read it back when it first came out, when there was no hype, so I know I didn't set my expectations too high for it. I think I read the next two – because by then there WAS hype – before I finally gave up. I don't like Jessica, I don't know what she sees in Marcus Flutie, and I don't like these books.
    My recent post Review: 13 on Halloween by Laura A. H. Elliott

  2. I was not a fan of this book either, for a lot of the reasons you articulated. I had read it a long time ago and I'm constantly surprised at how popular it is.

  3. latenightswithgoodbooks

    I didn't mind Jessica's whiniess very much. It just made me grateful that I'm no longer a teen and had to deal with teens acting like that haha. Also, I think I could understand what she was going through. Even if I hadn't been there per se, I could empathize with certain events during my teens years that left me less than happy.
    I do think the journal format worked out well here. Yes, it's boring at times, but I think that's what made it feel so real. We readers are not just privy to Jessica's thoughts when she's composed or has something exciting to tell. But to all. And that helped endear her to me.
    Do read the second! There is more Marcus. Although it's not all sweet romance, unfortunately.
    My recent post Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  4. Can I totally rip off your GIF it to me Straight idea??!!!

    "I mean, Jessica's the kind of girl who slut shames to a certain extent, who hangs out with "friends" and then calls them "The Clueless Crew" behind their backs because she actually hates them and thinks they're completely ridiculous. Oy vey. So yeah, I considered tossing it"

    Meh……MMMMMEEEEHHHHHH. Thanks for the warning.

  5. Judith

    I bought this ages ago and I haven't picked it up because after I bought it I found out that it wasn't just a light romance but an entire series that follows these characters from high school to college etc etc. I'm not sure if I'll like that. I might. Jessica sounds like a… strange character. I can imagine that if you don't connect to her, this book will just be bad. I will still read this eventually, though, because hey, I bought it. But it's not on my to-read-soon-list.

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