Title: Sloppy Firsts
Publisher: Broadway Books
“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?
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 finally read another much beloved book in the YA blogging community, which always makes me nervous in case I don’t feel the same way as almost everyone else. And, unfortunately, that was the case with this book.
My biggest issue with this book was the blatant slutshaming and general over-the-top judgment that Jessica Darling slings at every single person except her best friend (who knows, maybe I forgot something she said about the BFF as well!), including herself (she does not always have the highest opinion of herself). She constantly called girls sluts and hos and other colorful ways of saying that they had sex or thought about having sex, which, by the way, she did herself. She hated her parents and her older sister and she hated just about everyone person around her in some way. It was really hard for me to look past her judgmental attitude to see if I liked Jessica much at all.
There were also some references peppered through that didn’t hold the test of time, but that was more funny to me than annoying. The only one that really stuck with me was a very brief, blink-and-you-miss-it mention of the Twin Towers, if I remember correctly; that really threw me and it took a few seconds for me to remember that this book had been published before that happened, even with all the mentions of Y2K (another thing that I didn’t get right away because I wasn’t too aware of nicknames for 2000, considering I probably couldn’t even stay up until midnight to see the turn of the millenium). This wasn’t a problem for me, just something that I kept noticing.
The story itself wasn’t too bad. I was a bit surprised when I started the book and it was in diary format, simply because I didn’t know that ahead of time. I know it sounds like I hated this book with the way I ranted a bit about the frustrating and very-frequent judgments that Jessica is always throwing around, but the story itself was a decent-enough story of a girl’s troubles in high school. I know most people always praise Jessica for being a real and funny person, someone they wish they had known in high school, but I personally would want to stay far away from her in fear that she would find many things wrong with me. This is definitely a case of a book that’s just not for me (yet I’m still continuing in the series – we’ll see how that goes).