Retro Friday Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Retro Friday Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCaffertySloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Also by this author: Bumped
Series: Jessica Darling #1
Published by Random House LLC on 2002-03-05
Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, Humorous
Pages: 282
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Dont they realize that Hopes the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I dont 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 dads obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethanys 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 Jessicas predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment--from the dark days of Hopes 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 dont have to go back and grow up all over again.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Retro Friday Reviews is a meme hosted by Angie of Angieville. Basically, you spotlight older titles.

If Jessica Darling was a real life person, she would be three years older than me. If she had gone to my school, she would have been someone I looked up to, I am sure. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty kicks off the excellent Jessica Darling series and is absolutely worth your time if you are down for good YA.

This was my second reading of Sloppy Firsts, and let me tell you, nothing was lost on a re-read. If anything, my reading was enhanced. Also, it helps to read the books in order. The first time I read this, I had read Second Helpings first, and then Sloppy Firsts, and then just stopped. You see, I came across Second Helpings at a library book sale and snapped it up for my sister because she read YA, and I read grown-up things. Well, cut to me being bored and browsing her books. I came across Second Helpings, read it, and then got Sloppy Firsts out of the school library. I don’t really remember much about the books, except that I really enjoyed them.

Anyways, I just recently bought a Kindle. The Jessica Darling series (a steal at 9.99) were the inaugural books on my new Kindle. Totally worth it by the way. Reading these books from an adult perspective has certainly enhanced my view. I mean, now that I’ve actually done and experienced some of the things Jessica has, I totally get it. PLUS, the nostalgia factor, what with boy band references abound, and references to back before the Real World became a fest of suckage. I loved it.

Okay, so Jessica Darling is really, really smart, and she is stuck in the ‘burbs of Pineville, New Jersey. She pretty much dislikes everyone and is dealing with the pain of her BFF Hope moving to Tennessee. OH and I forgot to mention, this whole book is told in journal format, so there are zero holds barred. What I really enjoyed was how, while yes Jess is super cynical and jaded, she basically grows and becomes legit friendly with people who are not Hope.

Plus, the subplots and the sub characters, I LOVE THEM. Like, you would think as with other series, that some of the minor characters would be dropped later in the series. NOPE. Like, Pepe or Pierre/Percy aka the Black Elvis. He’s legit one of my favorite characters in the series. He starts out in Jessica’s French class, which she takes to be trilingual, she’s a sophomore in a freshman class, anyways, she and Percy end up becoming good friends, and well, let me just say I am so glad for the role he plays.

Then there is Marcus Flutie. In Sloppy Firsts, we see how Marcus enters Jessica’s life, and becomes more than just a dreg. It’s intriguing to me, how he dances in and out of her life. And how he actually challenges her intellectually. I mean, for a pothead, he’s so smart. I’m not going to go on and on like a creeper about how hot Marcus is, but he does have his appeal, and is one of the better male leads that I’ve read. Plus he has a fantastic sense of irony.

ALSO I just want to state for the record that I am of the camp that firmly places Sloppy Firsts in the Young Adult category. I think YA is more than just a marketing term, and to me, this book embodies what I believe YA is: teen-centered, occasional high school, hormones, crushes. So, I get that maybe these were released as adult books, but if you believe in YA as more than just a marketing term, why the heck isn’t Sloppy Firsts considered YA? Is it because there are swears and sex is mentioned? If so, have you met any teenagers, that’s what they think about and do!

Just some quotes from Sloppy Firsts that I enjoyed:

“Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: Pretty or smart. Guess which one I got. You’ll see where it’s gotten me.”

“When Mom isn’t pretending I’m her beloved firstborn, she is giving me lectures on life. One of her favorites is called “Get Some Perspective.” My mom has always been very big on perspective, even more so lately. She’s constantly telling me that I need to get some perspective. If I put things in perspective, I wouldn’t make such a huge deal out of the teensy-weensist things–“

Other Reviews:

Nomad Reader
Makeshift Bookmark

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I was actually surprised when I saw the Jessica Darling books in the adult section of the bookstore. I’ve always thought of them as YA books. I think my friends and I enjoyed reading these books because we felt like Jessica grew up with us (first book came out when we were in HS, second book during early college, third during late college and so on).
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  2. I’m definitely adding these to my wish list! They sound great!
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  3. YES for this series being categorized as YA. I read Sloppy Firsts a while ago but got the entire series for Vday so I MUST read them all in a row. And SCORE on the $10 Kindle set!!

    Marcus Flutie… I’ll be honest, I haven’t bought into him yet, but I’m hoping that changes throughout the rest of the books.
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  4. I loved this book! I still have to read the last book and am kind of holding out for fear of how it will end. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the third or fourth book, but I am hoping the last one will be awesome. I’m a big fan of Marcus Flutie as well. Great review!
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  5. I totally bought these books because you put the kindle link up! Haven’t read yet but I’ve heard great things about them 🙂

  6. I definitely always thought the first couple at the very least were YA. I know I read ‘Sloppy Firsts’ when I was in high school, and I always thought they were YA.

    I’m not the biggest Jessica Darling fangirl, but I definitely enjoyed this one. A lot of humour and heart, AND like you mentioned, I loved all the boyband references and stuff from when I was a teen.

  7. The whole series is $9.99 on kindle? Well… that must be mine. Plus, with a name like mine, I can’t refuse 🙂

  8. These are categorized in the adult section of my bookstore too! Maybe it’s because the first book was released before YA became this popular, and there only was a “teen” category? I personally don’t see teen and YA as being the same thing exactly, but I could be wrong.
    I have the books, but I have yet to read them. It’s another series I have to catch up on!
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  9. Akasha Hale says

    Thanks so much for the wonderful book review. I haven’t read this novel yet but I’ll make sure to check it out sometime soon 😀 It sounds good if you re-read it 😀

  10. Oh, see, I totally AM the creeper type who will go on and on about it. Bahaha. I like what you said about your age compared to Jessica’s — that was one of my favorite parts of reading this. I am the exact same age as Jessica would be, so I felt I could relate to her SO well. Adore these books!
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  11. Hm, I always thought Sloppy Firsts was YA. Still do.

    I saw that Amazon deal, too, and bought the entire set! 🙂 I’m re-reading Sloppy Firsts now and I’m reminded so much of why I love Jessica Darling 🙂
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  12. I’m 3 years older than you and I read the first book when I was a senior in high school. I’ve loved the whole series. Jessica and Marcus’ relationship seemed to break all the norms and I loved both characters.
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