Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Release Date: 8/28/2001
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 280

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.

I have no idea why I haven't read this book before, because I certainly heard about it a lot*. The synopsis just didn't sound that special I suppose, because on the surface, "Sloppy Firsts" is just your regular run-of-the-mill YA story about a smart 16-year old girl (Jessica Darling), her relationship with her best friend who is away, her parents and cheerleader so-called friends, her obsessions over boys, all in a diary format. How many times have I read this before? A million!

However, the difference here is the narrator. Jessica is clever, athletic, sarcastic, super-observant, prone to spaz attacks and lusty thoughts, but yet full of reason and self-respect. Her observations and comments about her family, friends and school-mates are funny, although often a little mean-spirited (I have to add this after a little pondering).

As an added bonus - there is a bad boy. To be honest, I am rather wary of those already, as they are just getting badder and badder, to an extent that they are simply jerks these days, but Marcus totally charmed the knickers off of me with his poetry, lip-nipping and extremely high IQ. And the fact that Jessica manages to push all THIS away with a firm hand just proves one more time why I love and identify with her so much.

The main negative about "Sloppy First" is its the setting-up-for-the-sequel ending. It would have been nice to have a more definite resolution.

But this complaint aside, "Sloppy Firsts" is a funny (in a sarcastic way) read which I won't hesitate to recommend. It's a bit raunchy it's written more like an adult book, so don't give it to your 12-year old cousins! Otherwise, it's a great read!



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