Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling Series #1)

Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling Series #1)

by Megan McCafferty

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780609807903
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 08/28/2001
Series: Jessica Darling Series , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 308,899
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.65(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)

About the Author

Megan McCafferty is a New York Times bestselling author of several novels. Best known for her Jessica Darling series, she was senior articles editor at Cosmopolitan and has written for Glamour, CosmoGirl!, YM, Maxim, Details, and other top magazines. She also wrote an ongoing serial from Hope’s point of view on twistmagazine.com. She lives in New Jersey.

Read an Excerpt

Tonight I've been thinking about the mosaic Hope gave me the night she U-hauled ass out of Pineville. I wasn't supposed to open it until my birthday, but I couldn't wait. I tore off the wrapping paper and finally had an explanation for the mysterious slivers of shredded magazine pages all over her carpet. For months, Hope had been tearing out pictures of school buses and pumpkins to capture the color of her curls. Hershey bars and beer bottles for my bob.

I hung it on the wall next to my bed. I've been staring at it, trying to figure out how she glued all those tiny pieces of paper so they would come together to re-create my favorite photo: Hope and me at four a.m.-wide awake and laughing, waiting to sneak out to watch the sunrise.

I remember that summer sleepover at Hope's house two and a half years ago more vividly than anything I did today.

We watched the video of her Little Miss Superstar dance recital. She was the most coordinated of the dozen or so yellowbikini-clad four-year-olds shuffle-ball-changing to a Beach Boys medley. (Hope's review: Hello, JonBenèt Ramsey!)

We tried to outdo each other in round after round of "What Would You Do?" Eat nothing but fish sticks OR wear head-to-toe *NSYNC paraphernalia for the rest of your life? French kiss your dog, Dali?, OR have sex with the Chaka, the Special Ed. King? Be zit free forever OR fill a D-cup bra?

We flipped through our eighth-grade yearbook and decided that being voted Class Brainiac (me) and Class Artist (her) just about guaranteed geekdom in high school. We thought that Brainiac Who Will Actually Make Something of Her Life and Not End Up Managing a 7-Eleven and Artist Who Will Contribute More to This World Than Misspelled Graffiti sounded so much better. Then we literally rolled on the rug laughing as we stripped other Class Characters of their titles and gave them what they really deserved . . .

Scotty Glazer: from Most Athletic to Most Middle-Aged Yet Totally Immature

Bridget Milhokovich: from Best Looking to Best Bet She'll Peak Too Soon

Manda Powers: from Biggest Flirt to Most Likely to End Up on Jerry Springer

Sara D'Abruzzi: from Class Motormouth to Future Double Agent Who Would Betray Her Country for Liposuction.

Mrs. Weaver made German pancakes with lemon juice and confectioners' sugar for breakfast. Hope's then-sixteen-year-old brother, Heath, snorted the powdery sugar up his nose and imitated some crazy seventies comedian all hopped up on coke. This made me laugh so hard I thought my stomach was going to come out my ears. I felt bad when Hope later explained to me why she and her mom weren't so amused by his antics. And when Heath died of a heroin overdose six months ago, I felt even worse.

My brother would've been in the same grade as Heath. Hope and I always thought that was a really freaky coincidence. I never knew him, though. Matthew Michael Darling died when he was only two weeks old. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. No one in my family talks about him. Ever.

Mr. and Mrs. Weaver made countless excuses for the sudden move back to their tiny hometown (Wellgoode, Tennessee: Population 6,345, uh, make that 6,348). They had to get Hope down there in time to start the third marking period. They had to move in with Hope's grandmother so they could afford to pay for college. But Hope and I saw through the lies. We knew the truth-even if we never said it out loud. The Weavers wanted to get Hope out of Pineville, New Jersey (pop. 32,000, give or take three people), so she wouldn't end up like her brother. Dead at eighteen.

Now I-I mean, we, Hope and me-have to pay for his mistakes. It's not fair. I know this may sound a little selfish, but couldn't they have waited another seventeen days? Couldn't they have waited until after my birthday?

I told my parents not to even dare throwing me a Sweet Sixteen party. The very thought of ice-cream cake and pink crepe paper makes me want to hurl. Not to mention the fact that I can't even imagine who would be on the guest list since I hate all my other friends. I know my parents think I'm being ridiculous. But if the one person I want to be there can't be there, I'd rather just stay home. And mope. Or sleep.

Besides, I have never been sweet. Maybe not never, but definitely not after the age of three. That's when my baby blond hair suddenly darkened-and my attitude went with it. (Which is why my dad's nickname for me is "Notso" as in, Jessica Not-So-Darling.) Whenever anyone tried to talk to me I'd yell BOR-ING and run away. I probably picked it up from my sister, Bethany, who was fourteen at the time and spent hours in front of the mirror rolling her eyes and practicing pissy looks to advertise her so-called angst. Of course, the difference between Bethany and me is that I've never had to practice.

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

1. Family Relationships
Describe the relationship between Jessica and her father. Who puts more pressure on Jessica about running, her father or herself? Is track the only thing these two have in common?

2. Discuss how Jessica and her older sister, Bethany, relate to each other and to their mother. Are any of these relationships healthy?

3. Both Jessica and Hope have lost their older brothers. Discuss how each family dealt with the death. Will Hope understand Jessica's new relationship with Marcus?

Foreword

1. Family Relationships
Describe the relationship between Jessica and her father. Who puts more pressure on Jessica about running, her father or herself? Is track the only thing these two have in common?

2. Discuss how Jessica and her older sister, Bethany, relate to each other and to their mother. Are any of these relationships healthy?

3. Both Jessica and Hope have lost their older brothers. Discuss how each family dealt with the death. Will Hope understand Jessica's new relationship with Marcus?

Customer Reviews

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Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 348 reviews.
fridaysinjune More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adore all of the Jessica Darling books! I've seen some reviews that were negative that concentrated on things that I thought made the book realistic. I first read this book in 8th grade, and things about Jessica that seem a little immature now (shallowness, preservation on the move of a friend, excessive cursing) really resonated with me then. I aged as Jessica in the books did, and I greatly anticipated each one coming out. I think the books also get better as they go on; I'm not sure if this is due to the aging of the narrator or due to improvements in McCafferty's skill. Either way, I think the series is awesome.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Ever get the feeling you're trapped in your current life, and won't be able to get out for, oh, all of eternity? Are you bored with your so-called "friends," bored with your so-called good grades, bored with your so-called life? Then you'll identify with SLOPPY FIRSTS, the witty, moving debut novel from author Megan McCafferty.

SLOPPY FIRSTS is the story of 16-year-old Jessica Darling, a girl who feels completely out of sync with everyone around her with the exception of her best friend, Hope. When Hope suddenly moves out of their Pineville, New Jersey, hometown, Jess feels even more depressed than ever now that she is forced to deal with all of the people in her life that annoy her without her best friend. Faced with vapid, materialistic girls at her high school, her dad's desire to make her the best track star that ever lived, and her new desire to be with the school's resident pseudo- intellectual bad boy, Marcus Flutie, Jessica records all of her hilarious, rambling thoughts in her journal for all readers to see.

SLOPPY FIRSTS is a creative and honest book about what normal teenagers experience in their day-to-day lives. It will please not only young readers, but also adult women who want to relive those cringe-worthy high school years, and look back on the memories. It's heartbreaking, fresh, and sure to become a classic among readers who like a little angst in their lives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
alright, first of all, this book is incredible. basically its a love story. and it happens to be captivating enough that you cant wait to get through the parts about anything else, but its really one of the only true books ive ever read. some people think its funny, and it is, but its not hysterical. its not that funny because its honest. there arent that many honest books out there i feel like... here's one that really gets to you, i think the character is relatable because shes blunt. not only does she go through the average teenage things but shes one of the only characters who calls out everyone else's crap. she doesnt try to cover it up at all. and the other great thing is that she doesnt always know everything thats going on and as a reader your rooting for her so much because shes so much like everyother teenage girl out there(or me at least)- but its far from boring. its exactly what it should be. and marcus flutie is amazing. i want him... hahah no, seriously though. i love that there's an edge to him but he tries so hard to make jess happy. its a wonderful love story about the romance of hurting in so many different ways- and for so many types of people.
Livs_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
The Jessica Darling books are super well known. Everyone says that they're fabulous. But I don't quite buy it yet. Sloppy Firsts didn't show me where all the hype is coming from. It's an okay book, sure, but there's nothing ground breaking in there. It's just kind of mediocre. When I picked up the book, I thought that the thing I would like the most about it would be the true to life characters and plot twists. It was all very true to life but within that, surprisingly boring. Most everyone's life is boring and not fit to be written about. I'll be the first to admit that. If someone wrote a book about me, it would seriously suck. I don't do anything! There's nothing exciting or crazy going on with me. Wake up, eat, school, homework, sleep. That's it. And to me, that's kind of all that Jessica did in this book. She did lose her best friend, she did alienate her social circle, she did meet up with the mysterious Marcus Flutie, but it was all hidden under a layer of meh. It could have all been quite interesting but it wasn't. I just didn't get it. There were a few redeeming things that I saw, though. I did enjoy the not boring parts of the book. I loved Marcus, I loved how Jessica had a crazy social life at some points, and I enjoyed the letters and lists that she made. Those shining moments somewhat made up for the crappy parts. They added a little spice. I am going to continue to read the series, I think, because I want to see if any of the other books change my mind about Ms. Jessica Darling. When everyone's so hyped about a group of books, you kind of have to see it through. So I'm going to. I just sincerely hope that Marcus doesn't go away. He's the guy who made this book readable. He was AWESOME. So don't ruin it for me, but does Marcus stick around? I can't quite recommend this series yet, but I might be able to give you guys a diagnosis after I read Second Helpings. All you lovers of the Darling books, cross your fingers for me. I want to like it. :)
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
Since I had to explain to my wife that my latest reading excursion was not in fact a between-the-sheets adventure with multiple terms for male and female genitalia, I might have reached my erotica novel quota for the month of May and possibly June as well. In case you haven’t already figured it out, this is not erotica, nor is it even classified as romance. But I was romantically involved with it all the same. SLOPPY FIRSTS punched my two front teeth out and slapped me hard on the cheek. It lifted my feet six inches off the ground, and turned me upside down. Had I managed to offer the world a coherent thought or two, I probably would have followed it up with a giggle. Jessica Darling might have been the greatest thing to happen to my otherwise miserable existence. She actually made me happy to be alive, and I even managed to smile for once in my dejected life. She made me want to attempt night running and swoon over poetry and wander the hallowed halls of my youth aimlessly and have crushes on Spanish teachers and pretend that I had a big sister named Bethany who was so full of herself that her head was a ticking time bomb and run through malls…and yes, it really was that flipping good. The voice was filled with sardonic poetry and wisdom and wit and charm, and she sounded older than she really was, even if her body had the developed pace of a kindergartner. Whether it was Burke or Bridget or Marcus or Manda or Sara, I was hooked, lined, and snickered, and I found myself reeling in a big mouth bass. Whether I actually did or not is hard to say, but I found myself bouncing along the halls with my head held high and my corduroys on rye and a picture perfect wave across the sky helping me find my way home. If I really stop to think about it, I probably shouldn’t have fallen in love with this novel, but you can’t always choose what books you love, and in this case, I tried to say no, but I ended up saying yes. Over and over and over again. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
epicrat More than 1 year ago
Jessica Darling goes about her life in her "just darling" high school bubble, but inwardly she is screaming for relief from the stupid teenage drama of Pineville High. Her best friend Hope has moved away and left Jessica to battle insomnia, gossip, lack of period, parental expectations, and her older sister's wedding all by herself. To top that, the enigmatic Marcus Flutie - whose reputation reeking of drugs and sex precedes him - becomes inexplicably the one person Jessica can turn to. I've been wanting to read this series forever and finally found all the books at the same time. Jessica Darling is the epitome of a teenager who feels lost amid the high school routine, but doesn't know what she's looking for. Written in journal form, I got sucked into Jessica's honest and snarky observations of the life around. sloppy firsts will definitely appeal to anyone who has ever felt like a freak of nature that no one will ever understand - with Jessica, you'll find good company!
Jillena More than 1 year ago
I started reading the Jessica Darling series the day this book came out. I finished this book in just a few hours; it was impossible to put down!!! The pages are worn from traveling to the bath tub and everywhere with me. I have highlighted passages through the entire book. I felt like I was reading my own diary! A must read for anyone going through or remembering teenage angst!
bookworm73MC More than 1 year ago
ugh!! this was such a bad book!!! just because a book curses all the time doesnt mean its going to catch all readers attention. and the way the boy saves the girl but the boy says the girl saved him. totally cliche. this was an eh book. i wouldnt recommened this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What did I dislike about this book? -She and her friends are constantly swearing and cussing. Alot of the F word. -She thinks about sex all the time. She decides to have sex with a guy who uses her and she barely knows him. -She is not a good role model in general. -People who say "couldn't put it down!" I am shocked how many good reviews this book got. I could barely keep it open! -After a few hours of wasting my time reading this book you find out the end isn't even worth it. Horrible ending. Don't read it.
HATETHISBOOK More than 1 year ago
This book was by far one of the worst books I've ever read. My best friend reccomended it, and i regret it. I am an avid reader, and this was just a waste of my time. In the begginging it appears as if Jesse is a lesbian with her obsession of Hope, and how she states she wishes there was a boy version of Hope out there. CREEPY! Also, this book made me feel so depressed! She completly lost it after Hope left, and had insomnia!!! There was barley any romance in it, and by the end of the book, they BREAK UP!!!!!!! If you have any interest in a good book, don't read this one. PS- MY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE WORLD IS PERFECT CHEMISTRY :) <333 HIGHLY RECCOMEND PERFECT CHEMISTRY!!!
chicamimi on LibraryThing 20 days ago
I loved this book. Jessica Darling is wonderfully imperfect and snarky.
sarahjanesandra on LibraryThing 20 days ago
It was fun to read. I immediately ordered the remaining 4 books after I finished this one. Hopefully they are all as charming as the first one.
nomadreader on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Summary: Sloppy Firsts is the story of Jessica Darling, a high school junior in New Jersey. Her best friend, Hope, has moved to Tennessee after Hope's brother died of a drug overdose. Jessica is a faithful diarist, and her story unfolds through diary entries and a monthly letter to Hope.Review: One of my best friends recommended this book to me, and I'm so glad she did! I loved Jessica Darling from the very beginning, and I wished the books were around when I was in high school because I would have loved them then too. Jessica is a wonderfully honest narrator, but the reader can still see how she struggles with her self-esteem. Jessica's perception of herself is not always the exact reality, but it's refreshing to read a story with enough depth to let the reader understand the narrator's point of view and alternate points of view. Are any of us truly aware of our exact gifts, talents and perspective to others? The novel is tender, funny and true. Jessica Darling truly feels like a friend after reading this book. I was so glad to discover this book eight years after it was published so I could read the next in the series right away.
Zehava on LibraryThing 21 days ago
How did I miss this one? Luckily a librarian pointed it out to me. The book starts slowly with a girl missing her best friend moving away and the story takes a while to get out of the slump of missing her, but at some point it does pick up and it's worth sticking it out. Those who do stick with it will be treated to a whirlwind of teen emotion and first love. The ending is as abrupt as the beginning was slow, but I'm guessing that the second book will pick right up where it left off. I'm enjoying being in the middle of this series and hope it continues to pay off.
macii on LibraryThing 21 days ago
This is so fun to read because Jessica is the exact same age as me, so its fun to relive my highschool era, but furthermore, she is quick-witted, extremely hilarious, and sees the world in such a cynical way.
kariannalysis on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Jessica Darling is nothing less of depressed. Her best friend Hope moves away, now she¿s stuck with the Clueless Crew, whom she sits with at lunch, but tries to do her best not to spend time with them out of school. Jessica is a smarty pants. She is a top notch runner. Oh and she¿s into one boy at her school, who doesn¿t seem to even notice her.As Jessica goes through the year, she tells her story through her journal and letters to Hope. She gets betrayed by someone she thinks could be her next best friend, she finds out a deep-dark secret about the guy she would chew off her right arm for, the guy who has had a crush on her for years, misses his chance, and somehow, she gets mixed up with a guy known as one of the top drug users in the school. His nickname, Krispy Kreme because he has dozens of donuts in his box. Yikes!I have been anticipating this read for quite a while now. I¿ve been wrapping up all of my other series so I could focus on this one. I really enjoyed the layout of the book. I don¿t journal every day, but I write a lot of things down, so this layout definitely appealed to me.I have to admit, I had to reel myself back in as I read this book. Going from the Private series where at least one person dies a book, and working on my own writing, that is a little murder-mystery, I kept forgetting that this was on the opposite side of the spectrum.However, I felt like I could relate with Jessica, and definitely understand my girl WriteMeg!¿slove for Marcus Flutie, especially once he got rid of his dreads. Yuck!I look forward to reading the next books in the series, and you know me, I have the first four! I give Sloppy Firsts 4 bookmarks.
whisperingfen on LibraryThing 21 days ago
The first couple of chapters didn't really grab my attention... I thought this is going to be just another melodramatic teen angst book and I have no interest in the blah blah blah's of youth. I found most of the characters to be shallow, even the main one. But as the book progressed I found that there were pieces that felt sincere, and that overall it was, if nothing else, amusing. I don't get a feeling for who Hope was to the main character. Her best friend obviously. But I didn't ever get a clear picture of her in my head, and for someone who meant so much to Jessica, I thought I would see her clearly. Not sure if Hy ever reappears later in the series, but I think she got sort of an unfair blow off. I'm not sure if I like Marcus. But he's definitely more interest than the other male interests portrayed. Will read the rest of the series as time permits.
theepicrat on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Jessica Darling goes about her life in her "just darling" high school bubble, but inwardly she is screaming for relief from the stupid teenage drama of Pineville High. Her best friend Hope has moved away and left Jessica to battle insomnia, gossip, lack of period, parental expectations, and her older sister's wedding all by herself. To top that, the enigmatic Marcus Flutie - whose reputation reeking of drugs and sex precedes him - becomes inexplicably the one person Jessica can turn to.I've been wanting to read this series forever and finally found all the books at the same time. Jessica Darling is the epitome of a teenager who feels lost amid the high school routine, but doesn't know what she's looking for. Written in journal form, I got sucked into Jessica's honest and snarky observations of the life around. sloppy firsts will definitely appeal to anyone who has ever felt like a freak of nature that no one will ever understand - with Jessica, you'll find good company!
krizia_lazaro on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I still love it after re-reading it! Its a real witty chic-lit story. Jessica Darling is a not so darling protagonist that you will easily fall in love with. It's easy to read, exciting and filling. It made me laugh, smile and fall in love. But beware, the ending will leave you hanging! You would definitely ask for SECOND HELPINGS! :)
Kathdavis54 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Jessica Darling thinks high school sucks and maybe is does. This hilarious book details a young girl's high school experience after her best friend has moved away. The main character actually learns a few lessons and learns about herself in this coming-of-age tale.
youngadultish on LibraryThing 21 days ago
"Sloppy Firsts" is just as it says, a sloppy first book. Jessica Darling is not so darling and I found that she could be really irritating. What kept me reading is that she can also be really funny. That, and I really liked one of the guys (not telling which one though!)I agree with her friends, I was sick of listening to talk about Hope (and her period). Favorite word from the book: "Jackassinine"Favorite part: "So I'm sloppy seconds, is what you're saying.""Oh no, Jessica," he laughed. "You're sloppy firsts."Oh, and a warning, NOTHING gets resolved. It just ends. I'm not sure if this was just my version of the book, but at the end was an excerpt from "Charmed Thirds!" What happened to "Seconds?" I couldn't even read it because I didn't want spoilers.Final word: It was OK. I will probably read the next one just because the ending gave me absolutely no closure. It was like the ending to "Veronica Mars."
LauraMoore on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Why oh dear God, WHY did I not hear about this book until I became a part of the blogging community, although this is my first year in the blogging community, I've been a very avid reader since a young age, and feel like this book should have been on my radar along time ago!! Such great bloggers as Ginger at Greads and Jen at MakeShift BookMark are the ones that made this book appear on my radar, and I thank them so much for letting me experience all that is Jessica Darling!Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I would like to say that although this first book takes place while Jessica is in High School, this is considered an adult series, and in a way i'm kinda glad I didn't read this book until I did, because being out of high school for almost 9 years now, it took me back in time and made me remincise on all that is high school drama. Megan McCafferty hit the drama and hilarity that is High School on the head with this book, the characters were downright hilarious and reminded me of people I went to high school with, haha but I will keep names to myself. I loved the relationship between Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie, and come on, who didn't have a crush on the bad boy in high school, i'm pretty sure we all did. That being said, i'm so happy this was only book one in a series of 5 and cannot wait to read the rest of the series. If your in the mood for a downright hilarious, but hilarious because its true novel, then Sloppy Firsts is a must read for you!!
moran42093 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Really good,loved this book. I recomend
irinka87 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
The first of the Jessica Darling series. I like how it is written in a diary style! After the first book, you fall in love with Jess and her lift and the characters around her. You can't wait to move forward with her in life through the series!
MartyAllen on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Jessica Darling is too smart for her high school, but only she seems to know it. Jessica Darling¿s cynical and sarcastic personality make her an unexpectedly loveable character. Readers will laugh at her insights, and teenagers will exclaim with satisfaction as they read their own views unfiltered. She does not censor herself, does not try to be politically correct, a refreshing take in an age where every word must be carefully watched so as not to offend. Such crassness could be unsettling, but Jessica¿s sarcasm and wit make it more relatable and endearing than upsetting. (Besides, the reader will see their own thoughts in hers, making it hard to get too angry at her words.) At the same time, her emotions are as raw and confused as any teens, as she tries to figure out her feelings to the class burnout, freaks out about a missing period, and wonders how to tell her obsessive dad she wants to leave the cross-country team. In essence, her diary, unlike any other, could be the reader¿s own, and any teen or teen-at-heart will enjoy the read.