Monday, June 1, 2009

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-riden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can't seem to excape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica's parents won't get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany's pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.
(Summary from jacket flap)

I've been converted.

I never thought it would happen after the disappointment that was Sloppy Firsts but I'm glad I stuck it out and read the second book in the series. With this book I really think Megan McCafferty found her groove and finally figured out who she wanted Jess to be.

In the first book almost nothing worked for me. It was boring, the characters were distant, and it all seemed rather haphazard and "sloppy". Ha. I think McCafferty had a good idea - the journal of an obsessive teenage girl who has no real friends and who is falling for the totally wrong guy, but the execution was icky. Blah. Meh.

BUT. It was all stepped up a notch in Second Helpings. I found Jess to be entirely relatable and deliciously blunt. She has a way of looking at the world that I think almost anyone can identify with.

She's actually really self-centered and single-minded and what's funny is that while you're reading the book, you're drawn into that way of thinking. You're converted to her point of view because she's the one feeding it to you.

Towards the end, one of the characters points out the flaws in her perceptions and how she's been walking through her life with blinders on. As the reader, I was struck by that scene because it made me realize that it's so easy to fall into that. I wasn't concerned for certain aspects of the story if Jess wasn't. I didn't care about certain characters if Jess didn't. It made me feel sort of used and manipulated but it also made me stand back and take a look at how that proves that this is a really great narrative. That I was able to surrender myself to the story and to a character like that is a mark of greatness, I think.

So yeah, against all expectations, I'm singing the praises of this book. I read it in a day and I enjoyed every minute of it. It's sort of baffling how there could have been such a huge turnaround from the first book, but I'm not complaining. I think I've found a new series to love. We'll see if it sticks.

And hey, the more Marcus Flutie I get, the better.



  1. Great review! This is a series I'd like to start myself once I finish up my current TBR pile. At least now I'll know if I don't like the first book that I should stick with it and try the second. :)

  2. I wonder what you're going to think of the later books in the series, if you didn't like Sloppy Firsts as much. I still think Second Helpings is my favorite. Are you going to read the other books too? Looking forward to your reviews!

  3. I've been convinced! Probably since you didn't like the first much either, it helps. I'll have to get Second Helpings now! :)

  4. Oh good. I am still reading the first.

  5. Glad you liked it, Second Helpings is one of my favorites!

  6. You felt exactly the same way I did about book 1 and 2! I also wondered what in the world people were thinking with these books until Book 2. I haven't really gotten into book 3 quite yet, but now care about the characters much more. Thanks for your review...and in some weird way, for seeing it the way I did! :)


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