…On Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Posted May 25, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 20 Comments

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Series: Jessica Darling #1
Published by Crown Publishing Group
Publish Date: August 28, 2001
298 Pages
Source:  My Bookshelf

“My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t 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 dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?
–(summary excerpt from Goodreads)

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

My Thoughts: I finally did it! I caved! After hearing about Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie for-practically-ever now, I picked the book up and read it. In one sitting. Yep, I surely did!

If I’m not mistakened, I first heard about Jessica and Marcus when I saw Ginger (@GReadsBooks) tweet about it with some other readers/bloggers. Everybody was all Marcus this! Marcus that! Ohhhh Marrrrrcussss…Later, I was so thrilled to find the book at my local Goodwill for 75 cents that I think I tweeted a picture of it to Ginger, all excited. Then it promptly went on the bookshelf. Why? Because Asheley doesn’t really read YA Contemps.

Fast Forward: I’m reading along and get to a blog post from Heidi (@BunburyinStacks) where she finally broke down and read it and – y’all – she liked it. This means a lot to me because as a new-to-contemp reader, I put lots of stock and faith in Heidi and her reading choices. Her review was compelling – so much so that I actually stopped commenting long enough to go grab the book off of my shelf and then resumed my comment. I totally planned to read Sloppy Firsts THAT NIGHT. And I did!

The first thing you need to know is this:
I’m new and growing-into YA Contemporary.
And I’m doing a banging job.

I started a Contemporary Challenge this year where I challenged myself to read a total of 12 YA Contemps in 2012. Well, I’ve passed that already. So YAY for that, right? Also, there is a contemporary event right here on this blog starting in just a few days!

Asheley + YA Contemporary = not quite LOVE yet, but definitely LIKE.

I read Sloppy Firsts because the right person finally convinced me and it was the right time. I sat down to read it in one sitting. I didn’t really mean to, honest. And I started reading it way too late. And I laughed a lot. It was a good time, it really was. Mostly…

The second thing you need to know is this:
I’m still not used to YA Contemporary.

I was cruising through Sloppy Firsts at a good pace. I understand why everyone likes/loves Jessica Darling. I mean, she is darling. I get it. But I have a few issues with her too. We probably all do. And I was confused by this.

See, in my mind there are the “issue contemps” and there are the “swoony contemps” – I definitely thought this was a swoony contemp going into it. Really, though, this was kind of a mixture of both. I’ll get to that in a bit.

YA Contemporary and I still have some things we need to learn about each other. We’re early in our relationship. It’s cool, though. We’re taking things slowly, like a slow-burn romance.

The third thing you need to know is this:
I started this book wondering

I thought there was something wrong with me. And then I thought there was something wrong with all of YOU. Surely the Marcus I was getting to know cannot, absolutely cannot, be the one you all are head-over-heels, ‘gotta-have-my-Marcus-Flutie-fix’ in love with? Are y’all for real?

I know, I know…I judged the poor boy. I won’t say much else. Except that Marcus and I are coming to terms with each other and that this is a good thing.


Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty had me laughing out loud. So many times! It was hilarious, over and over. Jessica Darling is ME. And YOU. And a little bit of everyone else you know. BUT…she’s also horribly insecure and clingy and needs WAY more confidence than she has. Her family sucks, big time. And she has a borderline obsession with her best friend Hope that had to move away. More than anything, I really felt sorry for Jessica as I laughed at her because she was so doggone funny.

Oh, Marcus Flutie. Where do I start with the stereotypical junkie? We all had a guy like Marcus Flutie in our school, didn’t we? Or at least I did. The thing about him that I liked the most was that he was so smart – but I was a little annoyed that he didn’t act like he cared. When he finally began to care and I finally began to invest myself in him a little bit, then Jessica kind of went nutty.

Jessica Darling: Are you freaking serious?

Y’all, I think what I’m trying to say here is that this is a good book. I will absolutely be reading book two, Second Helpings, which I have currently checked out from my library and sitting beside me on the bed. But with Sloppy Firsts, I just held my breath, and held my breath, and hoped and held my breath….and in the end – DUDE! Very frustrating indeed. I am so very thankful that this series is already out so I can just breeze through it. Otherwise, I just don’t know what I would do…

Sloppy Firsts is a book that is definitely for more mature YA readers as well as the adult YA-loving crowd as there are plenty of themes, outright words, and conversations that are a bit inappropriate for younger readers, in my opinion. The language is frank and the implied scenarios and – yes – even fantasies are…well, they’re there. Still, as I said, I will be continuing with this series if for no other reason to lessen my frustration at the doggone ending. 

Sloppy Firsts will appeal to fans of

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Humor, Lots of it!
Books with Issues: All kinds of issues.
Older YA Readers & Adult YA-Loving Readers

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
is currently available for purchase.

**Also, I would like to add that I am absolutely thinking of re-reading this as an audiobook listen. I like funny audiobooks. I really do!  


Have you read Sloppy Firsts yet? 
Did you like it? 

If you haven’t read it, is it in your to-read pile?


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


20 responses to “…On Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

  1. So glad you read this one at last Asheley! And I'm am mighty impressed with your tally of contemporary reads so far this year! (I think you ARE a YA contemporary girl, you just don't know it:)

    Anyway, I loved Sloppy Firsts, even though the angst factor w/ Jessica reached epic proportions. And I loved Marcus, almost from the start (nasty dred's and all,) BUT everything really fell into place in Second Helpings. That's when I really fell for Marcus. So I'm glad you are sticking with it and reading bk. 2. I finished Charmed Thirds a couple of months back and have #4 sitting on my bookshelf. I hear mixed reviews on it, but I hear the final book in the series is AMAZING.

    • Heather, "angst factor" is an understatement to what I feel! Just, complete frustration with Jessica's feelings and behavior. I finished this book at like 245am (on a weekend night) and I still felt like I needed to go for a long run when I was finished. If I didn't have so many people telling me to stick it out, I would give up on Jessica Darling for that ending because GAH!

      Sometimes it happens that way, though, when EVERYONE has read a book and gushes over it endlessly – the expectations are SO HIGH. I did like it a lot. A whole lot, actually. I'm just having a hard time still seeing the entire book because I still want to smack her.

      And Marcus Flutie – I don't think it's that I didn't love him from the beginning, I just wasn't quite expecting his character to be written as a the stoned-out type of guy. It was almost funny, I think, my reaction because nobody at all (that I know) has mentioned that he starts one way and has a character development thru the book!

      It was a fun, hilarious, funny, good, fun book. I'm so glad I read it. I'll absolutely read book two as soon as I can and I'll recommend Sloppy Firsts to people. Just, wow, Jessica Darling. Wow.

  2. I have not read this yet. I am on the verge of caving as well. I have seen ginger talk about it, but mostly I see Jamie – broke and bookish talking about it alot. This is gonna sound silly, but since you pointed it out in your review. How Jessica is you and all of us.

    I always see Jamie say how Jessica Darling is her. And how she relates to her so well. I met Jamie this year. She's so nice, and so pretty, and so girly. I'm not all of those things. Well, maybe nice. haha! but it makes me nervous because though I like jamie and had a great time with her, I'm unsure if I will relate to jessica as well as she does because we are different as far as interests go.

    I'm going to give it a try though. maybe I'll get it from the libarary. 🙂

    BTW, you are so cute in describing your new relationship with contemps. Totally made me smile. 🙂

    • April, just do it. Cave to the pressure like I did. I did not mention Jamie in this blog post but yes, she does talk about this series too! How can I forget sweeeeet Jamie!


      Ok, back to the topic: April, I do think there is a little bit of Jessica Darling in all of us. Seriously, that girl is all kinds of everything. It's like Ginger says below though, the things she says and does…I wouldn't do the things Jessica says and does really either. But I still can totally relate to her, which is what I think Jamie means. Trust me, you'll get it when you read it. I'm interested in whether or not you feel the same way.

      Oh these contemporary books! They're getting to me! But I'm stickin with 'em. I'm liking some more than others. I think this is my first contemporary series. Hmm. How bout that? Tootin my own horn there a bit, hehe.

  3. I think we all tend to think Jessica is us (in reference to April's comment/concern). Do I see myself in her? Some bits. But I am no way HER. The things she says & does are not things that could be me. Do I love them? Oh heck yes. She begins so insecure, but she becomes so badass by the fifth book. Oh man. PERFECT FIFTHS!!!!!

    Now about Marcus.. he is someone that takes time to appreciate and fall in love with. You will understand my (our?) obsession with him once you've completed the series. Trust me. It will all make sense then.

    I am so happy you started this series. It's obviously one of my favorites. I don't do cheesy YA contemps & I loved this one because it's frank. It's real. It's HILARIOUS.

    • Oh YAY Ginger good to know Jessica makes some GROWTH by Fifths. And I'm gonna keep on with Marcus because I like where he was headed. I REALLY DO. I keep wanting to mention the end of the book but I almost spoil it for everyone!!! EEK.

      I'm glad you're happy. You told me this series and the Summer Series. I swear I'm gonna get the first Summer book eventually and tackle that one too. I totally mean it. It may take me another year, but I WILL DO IT. You're right about this series, though, it is hilarious. I laughed out loud SO MANY TIMES, it was almost embarrassing.

      Solid recommend!

    • Ash, this book is SO FUNNY. The funny in this book makes up for the fact that it is YA contemporary for those of us who are not fans/new fans, I promise.

      I'm gonna read book two. I have high hopes and feel good about it!

    • Do it, Meg! At the VERY LEAST, it will make you laugh out loud. I snorted a few times. Now, that isn't the most ladylike thing to tell you, but I'm nothing if not honest. And I'll be completely honest for a book! I have full confidence in all of the other readers/bloggers telling me to keep with the series because it keeps getting better and better.

  4. YES CONTINUE. I am going to echo Ginger and say that Jessica is such a badass finally in Perfect Fifths. And the very best thing about this series is that we have the full development — from snarky, sullen sort of sarcastic teenager, to college student to post college grad to adult and it's wonderful. It's like a dream come true honestly knowing what happens to characters after you shut the book. Like we get a full life glimpse and I love that. And I think that in book 2 you'll get the Marcus thing.

    It kind of thrills me a LOT that you are reading these books ha ha.

    • Asheley = all thrills, no frills

      No seriously, I caved and laughed my butt off for the length of the book. Except for the parts where her parents needed to be smacked and of course the ending, about which I covered my feelings up above in boldface and ALLCAPS, and centered it so everyone would GET WHAT I'M SAYING.

      I'm excited to finally be reading the series because even before I jumped on the contemp train, I was planning to because Ginger told me it was one of her favorites. But when I read Heidi's blog post, I full-on ran the length of my house, grabbed the book, and clutched it in my death grip until I could start it – and I didn't let it go until I finished it, completely frustrated and ready to start book two. And I will do that soon.

  5. Asheley, it seriously made my day when I saw that my review literally made you pick this one up. Particularly because I know you're as new to YA as I am, and I too was pretty ready to ignore this one even though everyone always talked about it, and would have if I hadn't had to read it for book club.

    I really like your point that this is a mix of both an 'issue' and a 'swoony' contemp. I honestly think that's part of why I liked it so much. Issue contemps are usually too heavy, and swoony are usually too light, it's really hard for me to find the perfect balance.

    Also if I had had to wait a year between THAT ENDING and Second Helpings, I guarantee would have eaten all of my hair.

    So happy to hear your thoughts on this one!

    • This isn't the first book I've picked up because of you Heidi! I have Railsea at my left here on the bed beside me. I cannot wait to start it. I can't stop looking at the cover because it is AWESOME.

      I think Sloppy Firsts would have been hilarious for a book club pick because I would have probably just slammed Jessica Darling to pieces for a lot of the time. I hate to keep picking on her but she sort of lends herself to it, no? But I think, too, it is a little bit a nod to her age and how dumb some girls can be. But still, she is so funny. She says and thinks things that just had me in stitches, which was really the best thing about THIS book. Marcus Flutie may be the best thing about future installments, but the hilarity was tops for this one.

      Yeah, I really thought there were issues all over the place in this book, but thankfully they weren't any that had my crying or anything like some of the YA books do. I didn't really cringe at anything, but I did feel some things. But nothing was too heavy because I just couldn't stop laughing every few pages. It was a great balance, just like you said.

      Man, I can't imagine the torture of waiting between book one and two. I'm tortured just because I didn't pick it up right away, and yet I couldn't because I was too…frustrated. I'll be sure to let you know what I think about the second book. I'm hoping to get to it sometime soon!

  6. OMG I want to read this book sooooo badly! It's sitting at the tippy top of my TBR shelf. I'm glad to hear that it works for adult YA-lovers because I was afraid that I would be too old for this Sloppy Firsts. I'm thinking it'll make a good poolside read, no?

    • Kat, YES. YES YES YES! YOU WILL LOVE THIS ONE. Count on it. Great for poolside. So many laugh-out-loud moments!

      I think it completely works for us as adults. You'll see why. I think if you're anything like me, you'll look back on yourself, see a little of yourself in Jessica Darling, and have a good laugh. So great, this one. But you need to have book two ready…

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