Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling Series #4)

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Is the real world ready for Jessica Darling?

At first it seems that she’s living the elusive New York City dream. She’s subletting an apartment with her best friend, Hope, working for a magazine that actually utilizes her psychology degree, and still deeply in love with Marcus Flutie, the charismatic addict-turned-Buddhist who first captivated her at sixteen.

Of course, reality is more complicated than dreamy clichés. She and Hope share bunk ...

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Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling Series #4)

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Is the real world ready for Jessica Darling?

At first it seems that she’s living the elusive New York City dream. She’s subletting an apartment with her best friend, Hope, working for a magazine that actually utilizes her psychology degree, and still deeply in love with Marcus Flutie, the charismatic addict-turned-Buddhist who first captivated her at sixteen.

Of course, reality is more complicated than dreamy clichés. She and Hope share bunk beds in the “Cupcake” - the girlie pastel bedroom normally occupied by twelve-year-old twins. Their Brooklyn neighborhood is better suited to “breeders,” and she and Hope split the rent with their promiscuous high school pal, Manda, and her “genderqueer boifriend.” Freelancing for an obscure journal can’t put a dent in Jessica’s student loans, so she’s eking out a living by babysitting her young niece and lamenting that she, unlike most of her friends, can’t postpone adulthood by going back to school.

Yet it’s the ever-changing relationship with Marcus that leaves her most unsettled. At the ripe age of twenty-three, he’s just starting his freshman year at Princeton University. Is she ready to give up her imperfect yet invigorating post-college life just because her on-again/off-again soul mate asks her to...marry him?

Jessica has one week to respond to Marcus’s perplexing marriage proposal. During this time, she gains surprising wisdom from unexpected sources, including a popular talk show shrink, a drag queen named Royalle G. Biv, and yes, even her parents. But the most shocking confession concerns two people she thought had nothing to hide: Hope and Marcus.

Will this knowledge inspire Jessica to give up a world of late-night literary soirees, art openings, and downtown drunken karaoke to move back to New Jersey and be with the one man who’s gripped her heart for years? Jessica ponders this and other life choices with her signature snark and hyper-intense insight, making it the most tumultuous and memorable week of her twenty-something life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Acerbic heroine Jessica Darling is faced with the post-college conundrum-what now?-in McCafferty's fourth (following Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpingsand Charmed Thirds). Her answer is to finally break it off with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, who, after cleaning up his drug habit, studying Buddhism and spending some time in Death Valley, is now at Princeton. But before she can break up with him, he pops the question, and she mulls her response for a week. The bulk of the novel is made up of Jessica's satirical observations on life in New York: the tiny room in a basement sublet she shares with her best friend Hope; her nonjob for a magazine that pays so little she has to mooch off of her older sister; her friends who convince her to go to a club where she is hit on by a seven-foot-tall drag queen named Royalle G. Biv. Though the acid descriptions of city life are as hilarious as in the previous books (her landlord says of her eyebrows: "Zey are like two desperate sperm trying to impregnate your eyeballs!"), the book lacks cohesion, and the ending is a letdown. Like cotton candy, it's sweet and fluffy but has no substance. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Beth Gallaway
In this final (perhaps) installment in the Jessica Darling series, Marcus has just entered Princeton and Jessica has decided that she does not want to be the girlfriend of a twenty-two-year-old college freshman. Her attempt to break up with Marcus is derailed by a marriage proposal, with seven days to consider her answer. In a purposefully ironic twist, her closest friend, Hope, is more fully present here, and Jessica is writing to Marcus as she tries to arrive at a decision. The relationships around her flavor her choice, and readers are privy to new details about high school friends as well as to more information about Jessica's parents-whose marriage appears to be rocky-and her sister's marriage. Readers also meet Hugo, Marcus's older brother, who offers insightful stories about Marcus's childhood that begin to lead to the denouement. The themes in this book are more adult, in terms of focusing on career and housing as opposed to school, so this volume might not have the same teen appeal as others in the series. Fans will be delighted that Jessica's acerbic wit and '80s references are consistent. Her voice matures without losing the kernel of keen observation that is pure Jess, and although the ending might not satisfy all readers, it cannot have concluded any other way. A must-have for libraries where previous installments are popular, this book should be shelved in adult fiction and recommended as an A/YA crossover title for mature teen readers.
Library Journal

McCafferty's fourth installment (after Charmed Thirds) in a series featuring livewire Jessica Darling attempts to cross the bridge between teen fiction and adult chick lit. Jessica has now graduated from college and is living in a Brooklyn sublet with her best friend, Hope, and their gender-bending high school classmate, Manda, earning a pitiful living babysitting her niece and editing for an almost nonexistent magazine. When Marcus, the love of her life, proposes to her from his dorm at Princeton, she takes the next week to decide whether she wants to marry the 22-year-old freshman or go on living her life in New York-a city he hates-without him. Despite the novel's witty and candid writing style, Jessica Darling was perhaps better left in her teen years and McCafferty's talents better put to use beginning a new series for twentysomethings. This installment is unlikely to win new readers, although fans of the series will definitely want to read it. Recommended only where the first three novels were popular.
—Anika Fajardo

From the Publisher
Praise for the Jessica Darling Series

“Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker.”
Wall Street Journal

“McCafferty looks at travails with humor as well as heart.”

“A witty, biting, and altogether true accounting of a girl’s journey to young womanhood, complete with all of the cringe-inducing, hilarious moments of love, shame, and uncertainty that readers will remember from their own lives.”
—Jennifer Weiner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423344544
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 8/7/2007
  • Series: Jessica Darling Series , #4
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged, 5 CDs, 5 hrs.
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Megan McCafferty

Megan McCafferty is the author of the hit novels Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, and Charmed Thirds, which was a New York Times bestseller. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. To find out more, visit

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Read an Excerpt


“ Waiting sucks.”

The voice was male and came from behind my right shoulder. I was so startled by the sound of another’s voice rising above the undemanding Top 40 soundtrack, I nearly spazzed myself off my barstool.

The voice tried again, this time with an awkward paraphrase.

“It sucks, you know, to wait.”

To have confirmed the source of the voice would have required me to turn away from the bar. I was the only one seated there, so I knew the voice was directed at me. And yet confirming this fact wasn’t something I was particularly inclined to do. There was a swift movement, followed by a fresh whiff of citrus, sweat, and testosterone. The voice had taken the empty stool to my right.

“I hate being the first to show up anywhere,” he continued, so sure of his hypothesis. “You feel like such a jackass.”

The shift from first to second person was reflexive and unintentional. This is how his kind talk. To confirm, I refocused my attention away from my drink to his face. I was unsurprised by what I saw: a white, early-twentysomething male with a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses resting on top of his head. His light brown hair was mussed in a calculated way that required far more product than neglect. He was broad-shouldered in his I’m-so-secure-about-my- masculinity-that-I-can-wear-pink Lacoste polo. A popped collar brushed against his ruddy rugby-player cheeks. Without looking down, I knew he had flip-flops on his feet.


It could’ve been worse. Plenty of guys renounce Dude’s scruffy preppy aesthetic and take to the sidewalks of this town wearing gaudy madras shorts, striped button-downs, and pastel sweaters knotted around their shoulders, like illustrations straight out of the first edition of The Wasp Handbook. Earlier today on the way to the bar, I spotted a yachting, lockjawed specimen wearing green twill trousers (a corny word, but the only one that fits) with tiny ducks embroidered all over them. Tiny ducks. Unironically. I almost pointed and shrieked, which is something I hadn’t done since first grade when I got smacked in the back of the head for screeching at a man with a cantaloupe goiter in the frozen-foods aisle of the Pineville SuperFoodtown.

Dude wasn’t hot. He wasn’t not. As with most guys of his privileged station and prep school pedigree, Dude was put together well—blandsome —which is all he needs to get laid on a regular basis. He was inspecting me inspecting him, a bemused expression on his face. He lifted himself up ever-so-slightly on his faded denim haunches, a gesture that indicated that he’d give me only a few more seconds before writing me off as embittered, boyfriended, or otherwise impenetrable.

“Hmm,” I murmured. Then I sipped my drink and tried not to wince as the whiskey scarred my windpipe.

Dude settled back onto his stool. My indifference intrigued him, as all romantic impediments do. It’s been scientifically proven. The harder the conquest, the more you want it. It’s called frustration- attraction. (I don’t think it’s unfair for me to pipe in with this parenthetical: Frustration-attraction explains a lot when it comes to you and me.)

“So, you know, when we noticed you”—he thrust his carefully disheveled hairstyle toward a table in the corner, where three identically dressed dudes of varied races were pretending to drink beers instead of watching us—“we figured that one of us should come over and keep you company until your friends arrive.” The fact that his friends were still sitting over there, instead of cockblocking him over here, suggested that money had exchanged hands before Dude made his approach.

“Twenty says I’ll get her number.”

“I’m in.”

“Me too.”

“Dude, you are so owned.”

“Hmm,” I said again.

“So where are they?” he asked. “Your friends?”

It wasn’t an unreasonable question. I was, after all, a female sitting conspicuously alone in a college bar, drinking whiskey on a Saturday barely past one in the afternoon. Girls who look like me don’t drink whiskey by themselves in bars barely past one in the afternoon. Granted, it wasn’t the kind of dingy dive bar that ruins reputations, but a respectable Princeton institution that serves classic pub fare along with whatever is on tap. It’s proudly decorated with orange-and-black paraphernalia and even sells a poster- sized version of a mural depicting Brooke Shields sitting in a booth across from Einstein, Toni Morrison, and other less instantly recognizable local luminary. Parents still bursting with pride were dining in the back room with their sons and daughters— freshmen and freshmeat who also arrived early for the pre-Orientation programming— enjoying one last lunch as a family before leaving their children alone to embark on their miraculous college journeys.

“My friends aren’t here,” I said. “Just me.”

My first cryptic yet intelligibly human response made him break out into a smile. His teeth, it almost goes without saying, were thermonuclear white.

“I’m Dave,” he said, extending a gentlemanly hand. “And you are . . . ?”

“I’m Jenn,” I lied. “With two n’s.”

“Two n’s?” Dude was emboldened by two multisyllabic replies in

a row. “And how do you defend this blatant overuse of unnecessary consonants?”

Dude thought very highly of himself, and he considered this comment to be charming as all hell. As a female, I didn’t have to play along in the same way. Just sitting there, seemingly agog at his patrician charms and in possession of a functional vagina, really, was the only participation required on my end. And yet I couldn’t stop myself.

“I need two n’s,” Jenn-with-Two-N’s continued in this facetious, flirtatious vein. “Because one’s naughty and the other’s . . .”

“Nice?” he offered.

“Or not.”

Dude laughed really, really hard. He thought I was being ironic, which I was. But he was unaware of the full extent of this parody playing out before him. Ours was a multilayered mockery of a conversation, one occurring within a set of quotations within quotations within quotations. I was tired of having these types of conversations. I had a relationship with a philosophy major at Columbia that existed entirely within multiple sets of quotations.

“Why haven’t I seen you around here before?”

“I don’t go to Princeton,” said Jenn-with-Two-N’s.

“I didn’t think so,” Dude said. “By the time you’re a senior, you feel like you know everyone even if you don’t.”

“Maybe it’s because you all look alike,” I replied, gesturing my glass toward the corner table. “That is, in your racially diverse way.”

This also made him laugh. “I should be offended.”

“But you’re not.”

“No,” he said. “Because it’s true.”

I finished my drink in one long gulp. It was starting to burn less. Jessica Darling is a puker. But Jenn-with-Two-N’s could handle her liquor. Dude lifted his finger to alert the bartender that we’d like another round. He was drinking Stella Artois.

“So you don’t go here,” he said.


“Work here? Live here?”

“No,” I said. “And no.”

“So if you don’t mind me asking,” Dude said, cracking his knuckles in such a way that required him to flex his lats, delts, and pecs, “what are you doing here?”

“I . . . don’t . . . know.” Each word a mystery unto itself.

Dude smiled because he thought I was joking. But it was a tight smile, one that betrayed his concern that I might be a bit of a nutcase, a drunken one-night stand not worth the psychotic hangover. He asked a question designed to get a better sense of what he was dealing with.

“So what do you do?”

“Breathe,” I blurted in a bad German accent. “Eat. Fuck. Shit. Not necessarily in zat order.”

I was quoting my landlord, Ursula, but Dude didn’t know that. He looked over a muscular shoulder to the boys in the corner, perhaps wondering how he was going to get out of this bet but still save face.

“ ‘What do you do?’ is the first question people in the States ask when they meet someone,” I said. “No one asks that question in Europe. It’s considered rude. Over there, people don’t want to be defined by their jobs. Over here, it’s the only way most people define themselves. I’m an i-banker. I’m a corporate lawyer. I’m in real estate.”

Dude’s eyes glazed over, and not with booze. How could I ever expect this future titan of industry to understand?

“I’m in publishing.”

It took a moment for Dude to realize that I wasn’t speaking in faux first person anymore and that I had just informed him that I, Jenn- with-Two-N’s, work in publishing.

“Oh. Like books?” Dude asked.

“A magazine.”

“What magazine?”

“Well, it’s really more of a journal than a magazine,” I said. “I’m sure you’ve never heard of it.”

“What? You think I don’t read? You think I’m illiterate? I do go to Princeton, you know.”

“I had no idea,” I said dryly.

I also had no idea why I was still talking to Dude in this manner. Maybe it was because Dude was encouraging my antics by nodding his head vigorously, as if this whole conversation made perfect sense. Drunk is the universal language, the dipsomaniacal Esperanto, so he totally, totally got everything I was saying.

“So listen,” Dude said, all business, all pleasure, all the time. “Since you’re not waiting for anyone, maybe you’d like to join us.”

“I don’t think so,” I announced as I stood up, smoothing out the wrinkles in my butter-colored Bermuda shorts with my palms. “I have to go break up with my boyfriend now.”

Dude laughed harder than all his other laughs combined. He slapped his forehead in laughter, which sent his sunglasses falling to the floor. More laughter rang out from the corner table.

“Why are you laughing?”

“The way you said it,” he replied as he not-so-stealthily gave my legs a once-over. “ ‘I have to go break up with my boyfriend now.’ ”

“I didn’t think I was going to say it,” I said, almost to myself. “It just came out.”

“I have that devastating impact on the ladies,” Dude boasted, pretending to mock his own sexiness.

I really hadn’t intended for Dude to be the first to know. It only took a nanosecond for my mind to catch up to my mouth, but it was a nanosecond too late. It was a relief, in a way. Putting feelings into words makes them so. Once words are spoken (or written . . .) they take on a greater significance. With this slip, I suddenly felt that readiness I’d been missing all morning. It wasn’t liquid courage, it was the real thing: I’m here to break up with Marcus. That’s why I’m here.

I considered what could have happened next, if I wanted to.

I thought about lifting myself up on my tiptoes and leaning into Dude’s face. I thought about breathing in his sweet-and-sour scent of citrus shaving cream and perspiration. I thought about his mouth opening to say something unnecessary and mine clamping over his to shut him up. I thought about a mushy kiss with a mealy banana mouthfeel.

Making out with Dude could’ve been a harbinger of all the horrible hook-ups to come. It could’ve proven that I wasn’t looking to get involved with someone else right now, I was just looking to get out of the involvement I was already in. But I didn’t need to kiss Dude to confirm this truth. Kissing Dude is something I might have done when I was in college (okay, something I did do in college), but I knew better now. So instead of making out with Dude, I made my exit.

“Wait! Where you going? Can I get your number?” His cell was out and ready.

I walked away to the sound of Dude’s halfhearted protests, leaving him behind to pay up for one piece of ass he shouldn’t have wagered on.


I teetered out of the dark bar and was assaulted by the sunlight.

It should be dark right now, I thought to myself. It should be midnight and not . . . 1:39 p.m. Your first meeting had ended at one p.m. You had another meeting at three-thirty. I had one hour and fifty-one minutes left.

Official Orientation begins next week, and classes another week after that. But you were so eager to get everything you could out of your Princeton experience, you arrived early for the Frosh Trip, one week of hiking, kayaking, tent-pupping, and bonding with hundreds of other first-year students in the wilds of the tri-state area. You assured me that Outdoor Action is a very popular program, and I still can’t help but wonder if its attractiveness to the majority of the eighteen- year-old attendees has something to do with its prurient sex-in-the- wilderness connotations.

I had no trouble finding your dorm because as undeniable luck would have it, you were assigned to Blair Hall—the oldest Collegiate Gothic dorm on campus and the most iconic. With its stone facade, imposing four-corner turrets, and famed archway, it looks like nothing less than a castle. It was impossible for me to miss, even in my somewhat inebriated state. When we’d moved you in earlier that morning, it struck me as absurd that students would actually live there, yet appropriate that one of them was you.

I was drawn to the noise of a volleyball game in progress on a stretch of sand near the castle that served as the campus beach. I envisioned row after row of nubile bodies in bikinis, as if this were a junior college in Fort Lauderdale and not one of the most esteemed and difficult-to-get-into universities in the world. As I made my meandering approach, I spotted you with ball in hand in the serving position—an impressive figure stretching several inches taller than any other player on the court. You were shirtless, as you often were since returning from the desert, and your lean, sinewy muscles were shiny with sweat. You’re the rarest of redheads, unfreckled, with skin that turns red first, then browns in the sun. Your ropy dreads had grown past your shoulders and bounced along with your every move.

And then there was the Beard.

You had all but given up on shaving, and the result was a (forgive me) scuzzy, neck-to-nose beard/sideburns combo. At its best, the Beard was sort of bohemian and Ginsbergian. But it more closely resembled that which is usually seen on the faces of crazy homeless men or even crazier Islamic fundamentalists, or lately, the batshit crazy Mel Gibson. When it got too mangy and unmanageable, even for you, the Beard was attacked with a pair of cuticle scissors. A weed whacker would’ve been more efficient. The Beard was, without question, aesthetically unappealing and hygienically unsound, two factors that distinguished it from the very deliberate and totally played-out hipster beards that plagued Lower Manhattan and certain Brooklyn neighborhoods in the mid-00s.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Why does Jessica want to break up with Marcus? Would you be attracted to a guy like him?

2. Why does Marcus propose? Jessica says she doesn’t believe in marriage. Do you? Why or why not? What do you think of Jessica’s reasons for saying no? If she wants to say no, why doesn’t she?

3. Jessica and Hope have been best friends for ten years. Who was your best friend in high school? Who is your best friend now? How are those relationships different?

4. Why does Hope react the way she does to the proposal? Why don’t she and Jessica talk about it? Why does Bridget react as she does?

5. Everyone has had a moment similar to the one Jessica has on page 69 when, planning to unpack, she instead spends the day wandering down memory lane, looking through a box of collected treasures. What is in your box? What story do the items tell about you?

6. At her sister’s Labor Day party Jessica tells her sister’s friends, who affectionately refer to themselves as MILFs, a story from her single, twenty-something life. What does Jessica have that they don’t?

7. On page 135 Jessica says of Manda, “With a legendary combination of headstrong self-determination and mythic cleavage, Manda has never failed to snare anyone, of any gender, she has ever wanted.” Do you know anyone like her? Do you like her or hate her?

8. Jessica writes about her envy of all her friends who are heading back to school that fall. Why does she envy them? Was the transition between school and life afterward hard for you? Do you ever think about returning to school to earn your first/second/advanced degree? Why or why not?

9. ThroughoutFourth Comings, Jessica says that she and Marcus are not compatible. How important is compatibility in a successful relationship? Do opposites attract? If so, can they stay together?

10. Why did Hope tell Marcus that Jessica was planning to break up with him? Why didn’t she tell Jessica about her friendship with Marcus?

11. What is Jessica’s relationship with her family like? Does she get along with her mom? Her dad? What about Bethany, her sister?

12. Why does Jessica tell her sister that she needs to think about it when Bethany asks her to be Marin’s guardian? Of course, raising someone else’s child is a big responsibility, but would you have to consider it before saying yes or no? If you were Bethany would Jessica’s answer have offended you?

13. Do you think Marcus and Jessica are too young to get married? Do you think they are a good match? In the end, they don’t get married; in fact, they break up. Why? Do you think their breakup is forever?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 27, 2011

    Maybe my favorite of the series...

    I thought that Charmed Thirds would be a tough one to beat. I was was pleasantly surprised with Fourth Comings. Not the ending that I expected! But I loved it :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This review cannot even express the sensation of perfect conten

    This review cannot even express the sensation of perfect contentment I felt while being invited to stay in the wondrous world of Jessica Darling, queen of sarcasm and protagonist extraordinaire.
    In her five-book series Megan McCafferty allows us to follow Jessica on her way from being a teenager to a young woman, with all the responsibilities and decisions awaiting her in future. It was great to witness everything going on in her life over such a long span of time. I didn't want to miss one single of her thoughts. Because even though I am not a teenager anymore, it felt so good to read on page what makes these years so angstful and exciting at the same time.

    Every character contributes to the masterpiece of fun and hilarity -without ever forgetting that there's also the serious side of life- the Jessica Darling series stands for. I loved them all! Marcus Flutie, Jessica of course, her best friend Hope, the parents, her sister and her niece, to name only a few.
    Marcus Flutie is the main love interest and an extreme case of changeability. It's obvious that he hasn't found his place in life yet, always restless, always changing his mind and his heart about his future, his goals and even Jessica. I'd subtitle this series 'The metamorphosis of Marcus Flutie'. Alternative and surely not mainstream, he always seems to be on an experimental trip. We don't get him more often than we do, but when we connect, it's in all the right ways.
    Jessica is witty and her humour is the best. I laughed, I cried. I can’t believe how she always said and thought exactly what I was thinking. I wish I read this series much sooner. A revelation to every young adult reader!

    Jessica and Marcus make mistakes, get together, seperate again. Life comes in the way, wrong decisions play a part. It's just too much to point out every turn their relationship or lives make. There are so many scenes that need to be all time favourites! You. Yes. You. Marcus Flutie you stole my heart.
    The first two books SLOPPY FIRSTS and SECOND HELPINGS are about Jessica's time in high school. CHARMED THIRDS covers her years in college, from 2003 to 2005. FOURTH COMINGS is about time after graduation and what she wants to do for a living.

    We are very lucky, because Jessica is keeping a diary. And the writing is as appealing as it is, because the story is written in the style of numerous diary entries. It has a very personal character and feels like we are just inside her head, going through everything she experiences and feeling as much love for Marcus Flutie as she does. Her writing is changing over the course of the series, especially in the fourth book, which is great, because it's a fab way to express change in her person or her ways of thinking.

    This series is a guide for all young, sarcastic, lovable and insecure girls out there! Megan McCafferty, I thank you for all the hours of laughter and tears your novels brought into my house. You are a marvelous writer and I'm expecting to see many more books of you on my favourite shelves in the near future. I hope that we can find a version of that incredibly admirable and lovely Jessica Darling in all of us.

    5/5 ***** JESSICA DARLING series - Clever, romantic, sarcastic & so much more. YA at its best!

    SLOPPY FIRSTS recently had its 12th anniversary. Unbelieveable, but true. This series is in no way inferior to contemporary YA relatives in its originialty or actuality. This is a series that needs to be handed down to your kids, they will surely love to read about that Jessica Darling when they are growing up. And for everyone who hasn't read this series, I suggest you catch up on it now. It doesn't matter if you are 13 or 30, you will get and love it!

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Highly Recommend!

    Highly recommend this whole series. There are 5 books total.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fourth in line, but the most emotional of the series!

    (review for both FOURTH COMINGS & PERFECT FIFTHS)

    In the final 2 books of the Jessica Darling series, our wires-crossed, love-imperfect couple decide if they'll make it or break it for good. While Jessica enters the post-college "real world," Marcus finally decided to go back to organized education in the form of Princeton. Still physically distant in location, Jessica thinks she's too old to re-live the college scene again. Will she wait for Marcus to graduate? Will Marcus dump her for a fresh-faced frosh? Will they find their perfect endings finally together - or finally apart?

    Unlike its predecessors, fourth comings chronicles only 1 week of Jessica Darling's life - and yet it packs the most thoughtful and emotional punch of the series. Again, at the end, I find myself in deep contemplation of "forever" and "whatever" that play a role in Jessica and Marcus's romantic entanglements. Then comes along perfect fifths that gives us a whole fourth-wall phenomenon where we dive into third-person present instead of relying solely on Jessica's notebooks. Which means we get a delicious glimpse into the wonder of Marcus Flutie. perfect fifths is simply spot-on as far as reminiscing about the entire series and tying everything into a wonderfully bittersweet conclusion.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Improvement over the last

    This book was just as aggravating but better. A lot of growing up happened but sometimes I think Jessica is being an idiot. The fifth one looks awesome!

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Simply amazing

    I don't think this measly review is going to succeed in summing up my immense love for this series. I adore Jessica Darling. These books have been some of the most memorable I've read in quite a while and possibly the only ones in recent reading history that don't allow me to put them down. Literally. I was babysitting this past Thursday and Friday and could hardly stand to part from Marcus and Jessica's story long enough to make mac 'n cheese and take the push-bike to the park.<br/>

    I'm surprised that I was so involved in this book out of all of them because it's drastically different than the first three. The previous books are Jessica's private journals - commentaries on the day-to-day events in her life. Fourth Comings was changed because this journal isn't private, and less significantly but still importantly, Jess isn't in school.<br/>

    This one is a journal kept by Jess during the week after Marcus proposes to her in his dorm room at Princeton, until giving him her response seven days later. She's all grown up and on her own in NYC. She's got a much more realistic and depressing view of the world because she's finally faced with providing for herself and living independently.<br/>

    In Fourth Comings actually get to meet Hope, which I loved. In the previous three books she was alluded to and addressed indirectly through Jess's letters and ramblings. Now there are conversations and conflicts and direct emotions. I liked it better this way. That's the way stories about best friends should be.<br/>

    I also enjoyed reading about Jess's thoughts on personalities, relationships, and life in general. Even though I'm only around how old Jess was in Sloppy Firsts I feel like I've related to her more and more as the books went on. Maybe because she's gotten better at putting words to her thoughts - something that I think I'm very bad at. And maybe because I only wish that I could experience what she's going through. It's a phantom world to me. I'll get there soon enough though. If there's one thing I've learned from reading these books, it's to relish these years where I'm provided for and looked after.<br/>

    Once again, McCafferty has succeeded in authoring a masterpiece of a novel. I don't know how she's hit these homeruns almost every time. The Jessica Darling series is on its way to becoming one of my all-time favorites. It'll take a lot to remove them from that spot of honor. Because they really are phenomenal novels. I can only hope that Perfect Fifths, the conclusion to the series, doesn't disappoint.<br/>

    Another A+, of course.<br/>

    *According to Microsoft Word, snark is not a word. I wish I could come up with a snarky comment about that.


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  • Posted May 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Edgy & Fun!

    Megan McCafferty is a great author and has written very well as 'Jessica Darling' in this series. The rebellious girl that writes in her journal finally comes to her senses in this novel. Jess is witty, fun, edgy and wise, and you can def feel these traits throughout the story. She has really grown up from the past books and readers feel as if they are along for the ride too! Dont miss out on this novel, its enjoyable and entertaining! If you haven't missed the previous novels from the series you wont wanna miss this one! Classic-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008


    i liked this book just like i liked all the rest...but i hope in the next book it doesnt showcase jessica and marcus' relationship i think that has been overdone in the first four..i hope it shows her on a new adventure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2008


    I couldn't wait to read this book because I absolutely loved the first three in the series. I recall reading each of those books in about a day. I knew this book was disappointing from the beginning when I started getting bored around the 50th page (and I had 250 pages to go!) The reason why it was a slow read because Jessica was actually writing to Marcus, and it wasn't set up in the typical journal entry (as in the first three). That was the main drawback. However, I'm not disappointed in the ending like other customers have stated. Her refusal to his proposal was justified by saying 'How can I possibly promise to love you FOREVER when I don't even know who you'll be by the time you get this notebook?' (p.301). I hear ya woman, coming from a girl who doesn't settle. I hope there's a fifth book in the future to showcase Jessica's new adventure as a single girl in a journal style of writing. Here's to hoping :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2008

    fourth comings lives up to all the rest

    Megan McCafferty has come back full force with this novel. it was beautiful, truly stuning but the ending left me wanting more. but i could totally understand marcus' reaction and jessicas. it seemed right. like somethnig they would definantly do. i love this series and finished this book in about a week. if you havent read the books i strongly convince you to do, trust me you won't be let down! and i case you dont know i hear shes writing a fifth!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    Nice Ending

    It was an unexpected ending, but i liked it because Jessica its really compatible with Marcus. So I'm satisified.!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2008


    For anyone who was unhappy with the ending or format, all I can say 'speaking for myself' is that it felt true. It felt like what Jessica would really do and how she would do it. For the readers who felt disappointed with her rejection of Marcus' proposal, than I feel like maybe they don't really understand Jessica as a person 'or character, either way'. I feel like that is what Jessica would do and say and I am happy that Megan Mccafferty didn't just choose an ending that would tie it all up all nice and such. It was still awesomely funny and observant and that is what Jessica is to me. So, I'm happy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    i loved the series i read the first three books in about a months time (i had to wait to go buy the next book) and when i got the fourth it took me about two months to finish it.. it seriously was a disappointment i wish it ended differently

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2007


    I cannot say enough good things about the first three Jessica Darling books. They were so fun and exciting, but Fourth Comings really left something to be expected. I still liked the book because I've fallen in love with Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie, but sadly, the book left me feeling discouraged. Throughout the book, Jessica was whiny and critical. The worst part for me was the ending. I read and re-read it 20 times because I thought for sure that I had missed something. It made me feel like I should've just stuck with the ending I had read in Charmed Thirds. That one made me happier and more hopeful for a brighter Jessica Darling future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2007

    Jessica Darling is back

    I must say that after just finishing the fourth Jessica Darling installment, 'Fourth Comings', I am blown away, as usual. Although, this isn't my favourite of the series, I was still just as impressed. Anyone who has read the previous books will love this one just the same. Jessica Darling continues to live, mature, and talk about Marcus Flutie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    Jes' Darlin'!

    As the fourth book in the series, Megan McCafferty does not let me down. With exceptional writing style and complete up-to-date look on culture, this book was everything I expected and more. With its continual predictable unpredictability, this book never ceases to amaze anyone. You think you have the plot all figured out, but a few pages over and you¿re back to square one. I found that I could not put this book down. Although my favourite will always be Sloppy Firsts, this one is a great follow up to what happened. I was eager to get through it it never lost its appeal. And though the journal wasn¿t exactly written like the previous three (this one had only been written over the course of a week, while the others were expanded over years) I never felt ripped off once. The language was superb. Megan McCafferty paid extra careful attention to the ever changing pop culture of the 2006 year. What I found really enjoyable in this book was the fact that we finally got to see the bond unfold between Hope and Jess. Yes, Hope has been on the scene since day one, but in this one, Hope and Jess share a room in a cheap New York house, as well as two other girls. A lot of unanswered questions that I had from the first three novels were finally answered in the latest edition. I only hope that in the next (and final) book that my last and only question gets answered. Forever, whatever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2007

    My fourth favorite in the series.

    Megan McCafferty is an amazing writer and by far my favorite author. I have loved reading all four of the Jessica Darling books, including 'Fourth Comings.' However, compared to the other three, this book left me feeling empty. I didn't get the same satisfied feeling after I finished this book as I did with the others. According to Meg Cabot's blog, a fifth book is in the works though, and the slight disappointment of the fourth book makes me even more excited to read the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2007


    This book, and well this series is amazing. I know not so creative in how to sum it up. If you read for fun, and love a book (or books) that draws you in, this is it! Its a quick page turner that will leave you wondering if there will be a fifth. Oh how I long for a fifth!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2007

    Satisfying but left me craving more

    I just finished reading Fourth Comings and I generally enjoyed the whole book, though it is not my favorite of the series. To be completely honest, I was not satisfied with the ending, though it made sense, I was hoping for a different outcome. I almost wish that I had just ended with Charmed Thirds because at the end of that book I was feeling hopeful for Jessica's future. I am left with an unsettled and slightly anxious feeling like waiting for a chord to resolve. I am really glad that there will be a fifth book and I just hope that Megan McMafferty had this in mind considering the way she finished off Fourth Comings. The way I see it is that just as Jessica and Hope describe Marcus as an 'all or nothing' guy who thrives off of the thrill of dramatic moments, McCafferty ended Fourth Comings leaving us lingering for more 'like Marcus always does to Jessica' and in the fifth book she will finish the series with something more settling. I wasn't aware of the possibility of a fifth book when I first finished reading Fourth Comings but it makes sense to me now because Jessica Darling's life did not feel resolved and it seemed that too many things were left up in the air. It would be really interesting to read a book written from Marcus' perspective.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007


    I loved the other three books, and I was so excited when Fourth Comings was released. This fourth book just didn't do it for me. I think the journal style the book was written was almost boring to follow. I really wanted to love this book, and it was just okay. Hopefully there will be a fifth to redeem my love for this series.

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