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Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  31,594 Ratings  ·  1,781 Reviews
“My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Dar
Paperback, 298 pages
Published August 28th 2001 by Broadway Books (first published 2001)
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Erin Toland I'm a mom to a six year old daughter, and while there is a lot of swearing and certain situations that are discussed that are not appropriate for a 14…moreI'm a mom to a six year old daughter, and while there is a lot of swearing and certain situations that are discussed that are not appropriate for a 14 year old, I think it's the perfect book for 13-18 year old girls to read. I first read Sloppy Firsts when I was 14 and it was life changing for me. (Sorry to be cliche about it, but it's true. I finally found someone who got me and understood what it's like to be a teenager and even though Jessica Darling is fictional, she was the best friend I needed at the time. Then, I grew up with Jessica and followed on her journey through high school, college, and it felt as if we were there for each other when things went wrong. When I was dealing with something that JD had dealt with, I'd re-read the books and it would provide comfort for me. I cried with her when she got her heart broken, I laughed at the way she she looked at the world, and wanted to be just like her. TV shows and movies marketed to teens that have adult subject matter like Twilight, the Pretty Little Liars and many many more, to me, aren't necessarily the most appropriate entertainment for a girl of that age, yet they're exposed to them anyway no matter how hard you try to shelter your kids. The way kids that age talk these days and have already begun engaging in casual sex because our culture says it's cool to do so is way more troubling that a few swear words and mentions of sex. I would absolutely hand this book to my daughter when she's 13 or 14 due to the fact that Jessica Darling is indeed a great role model, and it highlights a time before social media became such a staple in teen lives. It depends on the relationship you have with your child and if she feels comfortable coming to you with any questions this book may present. There is also another newer Jessica Darling series aimed at middle-school aged girls that may be more appropriate and up on the times than the original series. So, I'd recommend starting her with the new middle school aged books about Jessica Darling and let her work her way up to the original series.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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If you haven’t heard of the Jessica Darling Series before then…well, you’ve been living under a rock, that’s what. If, however, you’re like me and have seen the gushing reviews for this all over the place and somehow never picked it up…well, don’t make the same mistake I did of waiting for months before reading this: pick it up now. Seriously, this series is just that good. It’s funny, it’s quirky, and it’s hilarious, but it is also deep, provocative, compelling, and is most certain to stri ...more
Emily May
Dec 10, 2011 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really funny, feel-good novel reminiscent of novels like Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and other such hilariosity. I'd heard comparisons made between the two before but, I admit, I was reluctant to check it out, being sure that it would be unlikely to entertain me as much as Georgia Nicholson's journals. However, I'd say it's pretty fair to make positive comparisons between the two, it's just unfortunate that I keep reading how most people didn't enjoy the rest of the series ...more
Morgan F
Oh boy. So its, uh, been a while since I've written a review. Sorry about that everyone. College and whatnot has kept me busy.

So what is it about Sloppy Firsts that inspired me to write? Well, I loved it, for one. Look at that rating! Five stars, baby! And that's not because its a groundbreaking work of literature, but because its funny, true, and smart.

This is one of these books I've always heard about, but not one I actually ever saw myself reading. First of all its old. Lizzie McGuire was s
Absolutely loved it. Jessica Darling has earned herself a spot on my list of favourite heroines. She is smart and clever, witty and sarcastic, thinks too much about everything and anything (I can relate to that pretty well) and despite her pessimistic attitude and her quick judgement of others, I couldn’t help but like her. I feel like basically everything has been said about this series already, you either like it or you don’t. Despite having heard not so good things about the later instalments ...more
Feb 15, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Georgia Nicholson and such
Shelves: ya, 2010
Update 4/21/2010 After reading the sequel and thinking about Jessica for a while, I don't think I like her that much any more. A little too much negativity and snobbishness. So take this review with a grain of salt.

I have no idea why I haven't read this book before, because I certainly heard about it a lot*. The synopsis just didn't sound that special I suppose, because on the surface, "Sloppy Firsts" is just your regular run-of-the-mill YA story about a smart 16-year old girl (Jessica Darling),
May 14, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 lift ...more
Dec 20, 2010 Jen rated it it was amazing
Yep. This is potentially the hardest review I've ever written.


Because all I really want to do is vigorously pound on my keyboard with glee and happytears and EEEEEEE.

KLSA:LFAWOPE(*()@ 5jKOSAKOR(WE)_9 F S ASNKF WSETYW# $ w t)(w_#*%90@#% 9@)+_ +)_@#i 5m2 4ko56[2098305 U0264 JML"ESAK}PWAR}WQ#)% NDVSDSDF



I've found the Holy Grail of YA writing. The kicker? It isn't even YA! And yet it is. It's everything. It's Jessica Darling.

I've put off writing my review for Sloppy
Megan McCafferty, you can't fool me. Sloppy Firsts isn't a work of fiction. It's McCafferty traveling back in time and stealing pages from my high school diary -- not the proper one I left behind for my mother and, okay, posterity because I had a heightened sense of self, but the real one I kept locked in my head, full of doubts, fears, hopes, wants, desires, and prejudices. And yes, those desires were sexual even if I was not at the time.

This is a book that I absolutely loved reading now and wo
I've had a hard time writing this review--starting it even--because it's always so difficult for me to put into words why I loved a book. For the entire last half of this book, I had a stupid, goofy, uncontrollable grin on my face. Seriously, I could not stop smiling. I put gifs in my initial review on Goodreads. I bounced around the house like an idiot and then when I calmed down enough I started the sequel even thought it was one in the morning and I probably should have just gone to bed. I tr ...more
Dec 30, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: 16-chick-lit
Well now, this was refreshing!

My namesake Jessica is a very likable protagonist, whom I could easily relate to. She’s witty, sarcastic, smart and I just love her snarky attitude. People tell me that most of the time it seems like I have "piss off" tattooed on my forehead, so when I learned that Jessica’s dad’s nickname for her was "Notso" as in Jessica Not-So-Darling I knew that we would be getting along just fine - because despite her last name, which is Darling, she is anything but sweet and d
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Thank you thank you thank you Chelsea for making me read this <3 I related to it so much more than I ever thought I would.
Sep 27, 2011 Shannon rated it did not like it
This book took entirely too long to get to any type of point. At page 88 I wondered why I was still reading it...then at page 108 I wondered how a writer could write such a pointless book. I believe she may just like the idea that she is a writer and not really grasp the concept of what writing is supposed to be about.

With lines like "...Last night was catastrophic. Cataclysmically catastrophic...." and "Apparently the staff at Middlebury were flummoxed by Marcus's complex philosophical takes o
Apr 20, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009-books
The last 30 or so pages of this book were good, but not good enough to make a big comeback for me.

I really wanted to like this book because it was so highly recommended by my nestie friends whose opinions are generally really in line with mine, but I just never fell in love with it. The journal and letter style of storytelling Megan McCafferty used was not my favorite. It made Jessica's story feel realistic, and it had that day in the life feeling, but it also made the pacing really drag. It wa
Some men go through their mid-life crisis by buying a nice red sports car, and marrying their 25 year old secretaries. I go through my mid-life crisis by doing Yoga, eating coffee Häagen-Dazs ice cream, watching John Hughes films, and lately...reading YA novels.

SLOPPY FIRSTS is wonderful! It took me back to my youth, and if I could I would jump into this book, yank Marcus Flutie out and call him my own (when he is much older of course so he is age appropriate). Shhhh don't tell my boyfriend.

I ga
Feb 23, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit
oh lord, i really wanted to give this book 5 stars. something is holding me back, maybe because it feels weird to give a new YA lit book that much praise? considering i'm 27? 4 1/2 stars, 4 1/2 dammit! okay, i'm done.

i LOVED this book. LOVED IT. Jessica Darling was such an interesting, complex and yet normal teenage girl that i couldn't help completely relating to her. it's just really refreshing to read a book about a typical teenage girl who has regular problems like a best friend that moves
Nov 28, 2011 Limonessa rated it it was amazing
This book is much more than i expected. What I expected was a chick lit, a cheesy story of a teenager and her ramblings about boys.
But this is a coming of age story.
Jess is a stressed teenager whose best friend has just moved away and whose parents try to make her be something she is not. She tries to mold herself into being what everybody expects from her in order to fit in until a junkie guy, Marcus Flutie, makes her realize her priorities in life.
I liked this book for various reasons: first,

This was hilarious, and adorable, and endearing. It made me bust out laughing, and occasionally want to cry. I didn't want it to end.

I also can't believe it just ended that way! I want to know more. I NEED to know more!

I'll most definitely be reading the rest of this series, no doubt about that!
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2014 Mindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, read-2014

I struggled to rate this one. There were times when this book was everything I wanted it to be and other times it just wasn't. I rounded higher because I want to read the second book right away and that must be a good sign. For some reason coming of age novels are my go to books for Summer.

edit: After reading second book in series, lowered rating to 3. Second one much better.
Aug 07, 2007 Jennie rated it it was amazing
Jessica Darling is anything but darling–so much so that her father calls her Notso. Jessica Notso Darling. She hates her friends, except for Hope, who just moved from New Jersey to Tennessee. But she’s halfway through her sophomore year of high school without anyone to talk to except the Clueless Crew and maybe the new girl, Hy.

She hates her family–her sister and mother are completely wrapped up in Bethany’s upcoming wedding and expect Jessica to be as well. They don’t understand why she wouldn’
Jacob Proffitt
Jul 12, 2014 Jacob Proffitt rated it liked it
I got caught up in this book. It's well-written and engaging, even when the characters are, well, teens—by which I mean selfish and a little mean and so caught up in their own pain they don't recognize the hurt they're giving others.

I liked Jess, but only barely. Her family dynamics are heartbreaking and touching and I liked how she handles the developments in the course of the story. For such a short book, it sure packed a lot of heavy material without it actually feeling heavy at all. Indeed,
Jul 30, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lori by: teens, people who were teens, those who do not suffer fools glad
I hope I don't kill the love for this series by admitting that I am a middle aged woman who loves it. Although Jessica Darling is less than half my age, I would have loved to be friends with her in high school...or even now. How pathetic is that?

Not very, actually. Jessica is an acerbic, rapier witted narratrix. The picture she paints of a New Jersey high school soon after the millennium change is at turnes hilarious, depressing and ridiculous...just like my memories of high school.

I started th
YA Reads Book Reviews
Sep 11, 2010 YA Reads Book Reviews rated it it was amazing
This is not a book about teen pregnancy. This is not a book that advocates or condemns teen pregnancy. This is a book about Jessica Darling. Jess is many things – a runner, a daughter, an academic, a sister, and a friend – but pregnant is certainly not one of them. No sir. In order to be pregnant one would have to engage in sexual intercourse first, and that would require actually snaking the attention of her high school crush – Paul Parlipiano. But even though they run on the same track team Pa ...more
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty was a quick read and for the most part enjoyable but there are much better books out there in this genre. The story is unfolded through the diary entries of Jessica Darling, a sophomore in high school, whose best friend, Hope, has moved away in the middle of the school year. Despite being a great student, being involved in many extracurricular activities, having tons of friends, and being liked by one of the popular jocks, Jessica feels alone, depressed, and mis ...more
Liz* Fashionably Late
“When you say too much about anything important, it always ends up sounding more trivial than it is. Words trash it.”

All right, then. I'll be brief.
Yes, it's chick lit. But even though this could be a superficial narrative about teenage drama and a simple description of the many insecurities a sixteen years old girl has, it really gets deeper.

Jessica is the kind of girl I'd have loved to be in highschool if I hadn't been such coward and I'd tried to speak my mind. She is funny (smart-ass, wit
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kaethe by: E. Lockhart
Note to self: where the hell is this book? Does Veronica have it?


Answer, as best I can figure after looking all over hell and half of Georgia, is that Veronica returned it to the library. Thing is, it wasn't a circulating library book, it was one I picked up from the book sale shelves. [sad trombone noise] Truly a GoodReader sort of problem.


So, I checked it out from the library, which now has two copies. And I read to page 70. And then I gave up. Because Jessica Darling sneers at everyone
Mar 08, 2014 Meg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sloppy Firsts is vaguely Georgia Nicolson-ish minus the need for the whole new dictionary and a bit more serious (I said a bit, it is still ridiculous and hilarious).

Whether you love or hate Jessica Darling will make or break the book for you. Luckily, I loved her. While she can get super locked up in her own head (which makes her a pretty unreliable narrator in many aspects) I like her head, it's full of razor sharp wit and poignant observations about her world.

Also, despite certain events, I
May 17, 2012 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Orginally reviewed here.

So I’m just going to lay it out there. I have never been so sexually frustrated at the end of a book. Ever. Now maybe that’s a bit spoilery, but I don’t think it’s so bad considering this is a five book series and we know these things get drug out in a five book series. But I’ve never read a contemporary series before; in the world of cliffhangers, Sloppy Firsts is far from the worst, but it was enough to make me die inside just a little and keep me up all night worrying
Lauren Fidler
so i made myself a dare: to try to read one book every day of vacation.

i'll never make it - let's face it, life has too many distractions these days - but i've made a decent start with mccafferty's first two jessica darling novels.

what i dug:

1. jessica darling is the love child of holden caulfield and judy blume. she is smart. and bitingly cynical. and funny. and human. i "got" her, and that was good.
2. marcus flutie is my new literary crush. i was rootin' for him through both books...okay, at f
Feb 21, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, faves
Sloppy Firsts is an adult series about an intelligent, angst ridden, sexually repressed 16 year old teenager, misunderstood by most, and admired by a few, Jessica Darling. Sounds cliché right? I thought so too. I've seen this book for years and just walked right on past it as the cover and synopsis sounded just like any other clit lit book. I'm pleased to admit that I was wrong. Very wrong. Enormously mistaken in fact.

Jessica is a hilariously snide narrator. She literally hates most of her peers
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Aiossa's 14/15 Se...: Brittany Davis, Book Review 4 1 4 Dec 18, 2012 05:38PM  
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Wild Things: YA G...: The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty 13 161 Dec 29, 2010 03:06AM  
  • The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver  (Ruby Oliver, #3)
  • Rites of Spring (Break) (Secret Society Girl, #3)
  • Feeling Sorry for Celia (Ashbury/Brookfield, #1)
  • Past Perfect
  • Vegan, Virgin, Valentine (V Valentine, #1)
  • The Queen of Everything
  • Front and Center (Dairy Queen, #3)
  • Startled by His Furry Shorts (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #7)
  • The Principles of Love (The Principles of Love, #1)
  • Audrey, Wait!
  • Sweethearts
  • Falling in Love with English Boys
  • Shrimp (Cyd Charisse, #2)
  • Long May She Reign (The President's Daughter, #4)
  • Stupid and Contagious
Megan McCafferty is best known for SLOPPY FIRSTS and four other books in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series for teens and adults. JESSICA DARLING'S IT LIST is a new middle grade series of prequels. She also wrote the futuristic satires BUMPED and THUMPED. Her work has received honors from the ALA and the NYPL and has been translated into fourteen languages, including Chinese, Ge ...more
More about Megan McCafferty...

Other Books in the Series

Jessica Darling (5 books)
  • Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2)
  • Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling, #3)
  • Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling, #4)
  • Perfect Fifths (Jessica Darling, #5)

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“You can only be in a bad mood for so long before you have to face up to the fact that it isn't a bad mood at all; it's just your sucky personality.” 615 likes
“Girls will get together just to get together. Guys need an activity as an excuse. Otherwise it’s too homo for them to handle.” 406 likes
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