Pack of Pop: An Entertainment Blog

There is one thing I failed to mention about my spring break trip to Wilmington: I started reading a book series by Megan McCafferty. The series, which starts with Sloppy Firsts, follows Jessica Darling, a 16-year-old girl, through the trials and tribulations of high school. What makes this book series a success is the writing of McCafferty. The stories are supposed to be on Jessica’s journal and it is Jessica’s wit and lack of finesse that guide the reader through a year and a half of Jessica’s life. Set in Pineville, New Jersey, Jessica has the flair of a New Yorker and the naivet√© of a suburban teen.

Sloppy First is followed by Second Helpings and Charmed Thirds. The newest book in the series, Fourth Comings, is due out this August.

Jessica is one of the Pineville High Brainiacs and the star of the track team. She had everything she needed to get by until her best friend, Hope, moved across the county – to Tennessee, to be exact – right after Christmas of their sophomore year. This is where Jessica’s journal picks up.

Besides being stuck in high school with friends she hates and no one around who is willing to listen, Jessica has one big problem. She has a growing crush on Pineville’s biggest “Dreg,” or druggie, Marcus Flutie. What’s worse? Marcus is part of the reason Hope’s family moved away. Hope’s older brother Heath died of a drug overdose; Marcus was Heath’s best friend. As Jessica becomes further involved in Marcus’ life throughout the next two books, things become complicated as her crush grows as does her guilt over liking Marcus.

McCafferty knows what the reader wants and yet for almost 700 pages, between the first two books, she’ll keep you reading just to make sure it does actually happen. Then when it does, it’s too good to be true or at least to be easy. McCafferty is skillful and playful in her writing and always leaves the reader wanting more.

Charmed Thirds, which I haven’t read yet because I can’t find it in bookstores, but am impatiently waiting for the paperback release on April 24, follows Jessica to Columbia University and catches up with her during her vacations from school.

Let me tell you, this series will keep you reading. I read the first two books back to back in about two weeks and if I could’ve found the third one I would’ve been content to read it in a few days. Jessica’s journal is funny and true and offers insight into the mind of a girl just trying to find a place.

Follow her through high school and see her grow right before your eyes until she’s a street-savvy freshman and soon a senior in college. Find out if high school crushes can be the real thing and if long distance friendships can last.