Jessica Darling, Book 2
Author: Megan McCafferty
Description from Goodreads:
“Knowing that I’ve just done something that will take decades off my parents’ lives with worry, you’ll excuse me for not getting into the fa-la-la-la-la Yuletide spirit this year. . . . The only difference between Christmas 2001 and Christmas 2000 is that I don’t have a visit from Hope to look forward to. And Bethany has already packed on some major fetal flab. Oh, and now Gladdie doesn’t need to ask a bizillion questions about my boyfriend, because she’s already gotten the dirt from you know who.”
Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.
With keen intelligence, sardonic wit, and ingenious comedic timing, Megan McCafferty again re-creates the tumultuous world of today’s fast-moving and sophisticated teens. Fans of Sloppy Firsts will be reunited with their favorite characters and also introduced to the fresh new faces that have entered Jess’s life, including the hot creative writing teacher at her summer college prep program and her feisty, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother Gladdie. But most of all, readers will finally have the answers to all of their burgeoning questions, and then some: Will Jessica crack under the pressure of senioritis? Will her unresolved feelings for Marcus wreak havoc on her love life? Will Hope ever come back to Pineville? Fall in love with saucy, irreverent Jessica all over again in this wonderful sequel to a book that critics and readers alike hailed as the best high school novel in years.
Prior Books in Series:
1: Sloppy Firsts (Review|Goodreads)
First Sentence: "Hope, by the time you get this, I will already be attending the Summer Pre-College Enrichment Curriculum in Artistic Learning."
As I mentioned in my review for Sloppy Firsts, I love Jessica. She is so well-characterized that I feel like I know her up and down. I can tell you her strengths, her weaknesses, and how she fails to see herself properly, as most people do in high school. Jessica grows up a lot in this book, learning to go for what she really wants and to see herself more objectively. In Sloppy Firsts, Jessica did a lot of things to please others, but now she's focused on herself.
One thing (out of many) that I love about this series is that it's so obvious that Jessica doesn't know what she wants. Though, from my perspective, I can tell the right choice from the wrong one, I know Jessica so well that I understand when she missteps. She works out her difficulties in her journal, rehashing them over and over again, trying to process her feelings, particularly about boys. Relationships are confusing, and it can be really difficult to tell how you actually feel about someone, especially if they're also your friend. McCafferty shows that all teen relationships don't last forever, and that romance isn't easy or found at first sight.
In my previous review, I mentioned that I was still a bit unsure about Marcus Flutie. Let the record show that I am no longer unsure. Before I got too far into Second Helpings, I was shipping Jessica and Marcus something fierce. Basically, in book one, he didn't really overcome his sketchy past enough to be someone I could really endorse as a hero, but, by now, he's made good, now using his talents for good rather than substance abuse. He and Jessica have such a strong mental connection, and chemistry like whoa. Also, it's hilarious how, for two forthright, honest people, they have a huge amount of trouble admitting their feelings for one another.
Though I've decided not to rate down for this because I just loved this book so much, this edition had a surprising number of typos. Also, that ending was mean. Just mean. I am very afraid that I will not like the next book, mostly because I have no idea what will happen and I have nerves just thinking about all the bad, but realistic, decisions I will need to watch Jessica make. MAKE GOOD CHOICES, JESSICA.
To reiterate, you should probably be reading this series. Do it. So you can flail with me. Please?
Favorite Quote: "I was going to say how this is easy for him to believe because he is a romantic. was going to point out how I am a realist. Actually, how I am a defensive pessimist. I always assume the worst, so if the reality is even a wee bit better than my disaster scenario, it's a cause for celebration."