Friday, July 24, 2009

Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she's more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie than ever (so what if he's at a Buddhist college in California?); and she's making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.
But Jessica realizes that her bliss might not last after she lands an internship at an uber-hip Brooklyn-based magazine. As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she fall for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA...or the hot grad student she's assisting on a summer project...or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?
(Summary from back of book)

I would call the Jessica Darling series my guilty pleasure series but it's not all that guilty. There's wonderfully fluffy parts and then there are parts that make me want to go running to my mother and cry for hours.

Something like this:
Jane was right about one thing: Marcus's T-shirts were a schtick. But so is everything we do when we exercis the free will that Kieran held so dear. And we're all guilty. We convince ourselves that these choices declare WHO WE ARE to whe world, and we hope that others - or just one person - will see these on-the-surface signs and somehow, suddenly understand WHO WE ARE down to the depths of our souls. But the cruel reality is that these choices serve a different purpose altogether. They act as cheery distractions from the only tragic Truth-with-a-capital-T that matters: We all die alone.

I think the thing that's most provocative about Jessica Darling is how much she seems like me. Everything she does, everything people tell her, every experience that she goes through resonates with me. And I think that's one of the most amazing things about these books. Because I know that I'm not the only one who sees a bit of myself in her. I think every reader does. She's a universal kind of gal. Everyone wishes they were Jessica Darling.

One of the things that still bugs me about this series though is how much I didn't like the first book. It just doesn't make any sense how the two next books could be so awesome. Maybe I just wasn't in the mindset of the books when I read that one. Because they do require a certain mindset - a type of mentality. Maybe it really was amazing but I didn't get anything out of it because I was too busy being cynical and teenager-y. I don't know. I guess all that matters is that I'm with it now. And I'm loving that I'm with it.

This third book had a different tone than the previous two. Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings took place in high school after Jessica's best friend Hope moved away. For those books she was really sullen and moody and sarcastic. She was also sort of big-headed. Graduating from high school changed her drastically. I don't know if it's "for the better" but it's a change for sure. Jessica grew up. In Charmed Thirds she's much more contemplative and humble. The real world smacked her in the face and she knows it.

The way that she changed might be one of my favorite things about the series so far. Megan McCafferty is able to write with a different tone in each book so that you can see how Jessica is maturing and becoming a different person. That takes some mad skill - to be able to adapt your writing style with a character through a course of almost ten years. Pretty fabulous stuff.

And the cherry on top of this already grand book? Marcus Flutie. *sigh* That is all.

So the rare A+ for this novel. I adored it. Thank god I have Fourth Comings sitting on my shelf staring at me with puppy-dog eyes, begging to be read. Expect a review of that one real soon.

Review of Sloppy Firsts
Review of Second Helpings

April 11, 2006 // Three Rivers Press // 384 pages
Goodreads // Amazon // IndieBound

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love this series. I can't wait to reread them all so I can read the newest one (Perfect Fifths).

    I completely agree about the tone of the books. It changes as Jessica grows up but that's realistic because people change as they grow.

    Oh, and I also love Marcus Flutie <3

    I'm curious to see what you think of Fourth Comings... I'll be back to read your review. =)


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