Review: Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings

Almost every summer, I decide I’d rather reread some of my favorite books than branch out and read any new ones. I decided instead to read the whole Jessica Darling series, by Megan McCafferty, my second-favorite series to Harry Potter. I got the last book for Christmas a few years ago and never read it, so why not? This review is of the first four of the series, since I’ve read them all numerous times. The fifth book gets its own post because it’s special. And because I’m not finished reading it yet.

I have read this book so many times and it never gets old––I actually think I’ve read it every year since I’ve gotten it. Definitely one of my favorites.

Jessica Darling and I are soul sisters, I’m pretty sure. My young high school self thought she was so cool, scribbling in speckled composition notebooks, so I began to do the same (Mine are of every color and pattern under the sun). Her wit and sass inspire me, in some loser-ish wannabe way. I get giddy and giggly the first time Marcus’s name is mentioned, and every time thereafter. I cringe every time Sara shrieks OMIGOD! Etc.

This book is so great for everyone, but especially angsty high school girls (or boys!). I’ve actually come to appreciate the book more having left high school and gone on to college. Jess is stranded in her loser-ville town and high school after her best friend moves away, and she is forced to endure the blabbering of the Clueless Crew, her fake friends who are convinced that having a hot bod is the only thing necessary to get by in life. Then the bad boy, Marcus, sneaks into her life and gets her head spinning. Her journal entries are full of humor and smart-assed comments about her life. A perfect read for anyone of any age.


Round two of Jessica Darling! I might love this one more than the first. Throughout the last two years of high school for Jess, there are many more stories to tell. She (finally!) starts dating and writing for her school newspaper. And, of course, begins the dreaded college application process. Her journal entries are just as snappy as ever, and still making me wish I were her friend.

This is just too good of a book to try to squish down into a review. If you liked Sloppy Firsts, you’ll LOVE Second Helpings. It’s just an amazing sequel.


This book was a much slower read in comparison to my flying through the first two of the series in a week. Jessica Darling is at school in New York City and far, far away from her boyfriend, Marcus. Sadly, the journal entries are only from her breaks from school, sometimes skipping a break or two in between. So much changes between the segments and it’s sometimes hard to follow. But, of course, it’s still Jess and still super witty.

I sort of wish the series had ended with Second Helpings. Charmed Thirds just did not live up to what the first two books started. And, let’s be honest, I really love the books for Jessica/Marcus time. And there just wasn’t enough of that in this book.


Ah, as the series drags on, it tries to be as enthralling as the first two books, but fails. Don’t get me wrong, I love these books. But three hundred pages documenting one week?

Jess is writing, writing, writing to come to a decision on what the next step should be with her relationship with Marcus, who is a 23-year-old college freshman. It’s just as snarky as ever, making note of everything minuscule thing that happens while she’s living in a condo with her best friend and working a fake-ish editing job.

There were some parts of this that made me snore and want to just turn the page and act like I missed nothing, but toward the end, I started getting anxious. I knew what happened, having read it before, but I was still nervous about what would go down. Because Marcus Flutie is my dream boy.

Overall, an obvious must-read for any Jessica Darling fan out there, be it a teensy bit of a disappointment or not.