Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling Series #3)

Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling Series #3)

by Megan McCafferty


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400080434
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 04/24/2007
Series: Jessica Darling Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,208,538
Product dimensions: 6.05(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Megan McCafferty is the author of the hit novels Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, and the editor of the short story collection Sixteen. A graduate of Columbia University, she lives in New Jersey with her husband and young son. Megan is currently working on her next book in the Jessica Darling series. To find out more go to

From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

The First

I keep rereading Marcus's latest haiku, printed out precisely for this purpose. How did he come up with Poetry Spam? Where did he get the idea to turn his junk e-mail into poems? I marvel at his talent for revealing the hidden beauty in ordinary things.

I miss him and I know he misses me, too.

There's nowhere to sit in Port Authority unless you buy something. I got booted from Au Bon Pain because I stupidly disposed of my $4 shot glass of orange juice. The eagle-eyed Garbage Guard informed me that I was no longer allowed to occupy one of the umbrellaed tables. I left, dejected and dehydrated.

I'm now at Timothy's World Coffee, where there are no open indoor umbrellas to bring me bad luck. I'm sitting on a stool, breaking in my new journal, trying to take teeny-tiny sips from my overpriced bottle of Poland Spring water just so I can preserve my right to be here. I'm broke, and there aren't any water fountains for free, germ-ridden refills.

This is bad because I can chug gallons at a time. Accutane sucks every drop of moisture out of my body. I am one large flake of dandruff. The corners of my mouth are split open and bleeding, and I have to spread Carmex beyond my lip line, which makes me look like I've spent the morning sucking on a stick of butter. I hope that by the time I see Marcus my lips won't be so crusty/greasy.

Sahara skin and lips are just two of Accutane's side effects. According to the information booklet, I should be alert for any of the following:

• diarrhea, rectal bleeding
• severe headaches
• nausea, vomiting
• changes in mood

Well, if suffering from diarrhea, rectal bleeding, severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting doesn't swing your mood in some direction, nothing will. Because my mood crests and crashes just fine on its own, I went on Accutane only at my mother's insistence. As a firm supporter of any and all advancements in the cosmetic sciences, she believes that not providing one's child with flawless skin is akin to child abuse. Accutane cured Len Levy, who was covered in pissed-off, purple pustules back in high school, so it should work for me. My acne isn't nearly as allover and angry as his was, but I have to agree with my mother when she points out how my complexion is never completely clear. I always seem to have one knotty cyst somewhere on my face, and when it goes away, another takes its place. One after the other after the other.

My daily dose of Accutane is the standard prescription for a person twice my weight. Three squishy yellow pills. This is my third cycle of the drug--the first two times didn't work--and I feel strangely proud when my doctor says that in twenty-five years of practicing dermatology, he has never seen such resilient zits. I'm a medical freak of nature.

I'd like to think that Marcus would call me unique.

Dr. Rosen also says my condition is stress related. No surprise there. Two weeks ago, I wrote four term papers and filled nine blue books over the course of five exams. In the midst of finals, I impulsively (and stupidly) chopped off my ponytail to get rid of my elastic band scalp-ache. The fix-it-up Supercut was supposed to give me a short geek-chic bob with bangs, kind of like Jordan in Real Genius. But with my hair's trademark flyaway frizziness, I look more like Mitch. The only upside to this coiftastrophe is that in my state of scalp-ache-free concentration, I nailed a 3.85 GPA for the semester, which will make my parents happy, though only temporarily so. While my stellar grades help better my chances of postgraduation financial solvency, they do little to relieve my current money troubles. My parents give me minimal fiscal assistance because, in their own words, I made the choice to go into debt by selecting Columbia over my full scholarship to Piedmont. I still stand by my choice, though less passionately now that I have a much better idea of how long it will take to pay Sallie Mae the $100,000 I'll owe for my BA by the time I graduate. Not to mention the cost of the MA and PhD I'll have to get if I want my undergraduate psychology degree to be worth anything at all. I've only got about half a semester's worth of my grandmother's inheritance left and zero summer moneymaking prospects because no well-paying employer is willing to hire me, train me, then let me leave for the entire month of July for my incredible, albeit totally unpaid internship at True magazine. During my salary-free servitude, I'll be staying in New York with my sister, Bethany (with whom I have nothing but DNA in common); her husband, G-Money (who has earned his nickname through gaining and losing millions on the stock market, yet still having enough spare scratch to buy into a local frozen custard and donut franchise in the hope of taking it national); and my niece, Marin (who is very cute, but has projectile-pooping issues), enduring yet another separation from a boyfriend I haven't seen or touched for six months, one who lives down the hall from a nudist Buddhist (Nuddhist?) named Butterfly who thinks clothing is oppressive and can't understand why people think nakedness always has to be sexual . . .

So. Stress? Naaaaaaaaah.

Sitting in the booth in front of me is a cutesy young couple still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship. Or they're lovers recently reunited. They're annoying to everyone who isn't them and haven't stopped pecking each others' faces since they sat down. Back and forth and back and forth across the booth, peck and peck. I prefer juicy tongues to these passionless kisses that are as dry as my needy lips.
I just tried Marcus on my cell. Topher, one of his "cottage-mates," told me he was out "cleansing." He told me this the way other roommates at other schools would say someone is out getting shitfaced. Marcus's world is so foreign to me that I can't help but feel that the person who inhabits it is a stranger. I love when I reach Marcus on the phone and as he says hello, I can hear the music he's listening to in the background. That music is the sound of him without me. How he surrounds himself when I'm not there, which is almost all the time.

And will be for three more years.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

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Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling Series #3) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED the first two books in the Jessica Darling series. But this was terrible. It was so boring I found myself flipping the pages. And when Jessica became kinda permiscous and blew everything with Marcus I wanted to die. I wish there were guys out there like marcus and he was this dream guy who i myself had fallen for. The ending was good though. I recommend you read it but it can get very confusing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, I think the author should have just stopped after Second Helpings. And rumor has it that she's now considering doing a 4th book. Readers be aware that the Jessica in this 3rd edition is not the same Jessica from the first 2 series. The whole thing was disappointing. Hope is nearly non-existant in the book and Jessica seems to midly dislike her college years. Also, I think the whole cramming of 3 college years into one book does not help the book or the story. And worst of all, the relationship between Marcus and Jessica is probably the most disappointing thing in the book!! I suppose its unrealistic for them to stay together for 3 years but Marcus and even Jessica's actions in the book just make no sense and seem so uncharacterstic of them. It just seems a waste to have spent the first 2 books developing their relationship with them only to have it end up being so flat and very disappointing in the third book. Stick with the first 2.
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I knew I shouldn't have read this, but it pains me not to finish a series once started and it was finally available in paperback. I remember Jessica as a likable, sarcastic cynic (although it has been many years since I read the first two books). However, in this book she came off as both crude and extremely whiny. I also don't think McCafferty should have tackled her whole college experience in one book, focusing on winter/summer breaks and ignoring the rest of it except for brief updates. There is a fourth one, but I'm not sure if I'll read it or not. It is only available in hardcover so I don't have to make that decision right now.
debnance on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Teen chick lit, but not as predictable as most of this genre. Jessica, in this third book in the series, is off at her dream college. She continues to struggle with her relationship with her family and her relationship with her boyfriend who is across the country at a Buddhist college. A thinking teen's Bridget Jones.
irinka87 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Goes into Jessica's college life and her relationship with Marcus! Definitely written more "maturely" as Jess ages and it's fun to see her in her college years!
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Jessica Darling is back for her third round. "Charmed Thirds" consists of Jessica's diary while she's home on breaks from Columbia University. She's struggling to maintain a long-distance relationship with Marcus, working two jobs to pay the bills, and trying to find friends and figure out exactly what she wants from life. She makes her share of mistakes, but each one helps her grow. And, of course, it's all told with the snark that makes Jessica so fun to read about. I enjoyed this latest book in the Jessica Darling series. I think it gives a good portrayal of college life- trying to find yourself, experimenting with friends and boyfriends, holding on to home while letting go at the same time. Like the other books, this is not all fluff, but it's not all serious either. My one bone with this book (and maybe the series in general, though I really noticed it in this book) is the pop culture references. They're not as abundant as some of the more fluffy teen chick lit, but enough to be noticeable, and I just worry that in a few years the books will seem dated. *shrugs* Hopefully people will still give the series a try because I think it is pretty great.
WittyreaderLI on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This is the third book featuring Jessica Darling. It contains a lot of mature material, which makes it only appropriate for older teens. The story itself is pretty ho hum, with lots of characters that return from the previous volumes.
stephxsu on LibraryThing 21 days ago
CHARMED THIRDS, the third book in Megan McCafferty¿s bestselling series, introduces a more insightful and pensive, though not necessarily more likable, Jessica Darling. Diehard fans of the first two books will have trouble coming to terms with Jessica¿s growth, though personally I think it¿s fantastic.College is supposed to be better for Jessica Darling. After all, she has escaped Pineville to attend prestigious Columbia University in the greatest city in the world, and she is still with Marcus.However, things are not as great as it seems. Jessica and Marcus¿ relationship seems to hit the rocks. She still can¿t escape her high school joke of friends, even with new college friends. She has unsatisfying flings with several different guys. But worst of all, her parents won¿t help her pay for college.How will Jessica even survive her college years, let alone come out a better person?
joiescire on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I have read this whole series by Megan Mcafferty so I had to keep up with this third one. I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two, but was still very much amused by it. The Jess Darling voice is still one of the realest and most accurate portrayals of a young adult I have ever read.
janders on LibraryThing 21 days ago
overall, my least favorite of the three in the series, but i would run out and buy the fourth tomorrow if it existed.
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
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. 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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