Feb 22, 11
Read in January, 2011
In this, the fourth book of Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series, the writing style takes a nosedive. The third book started to lose the sparkling wit and cutting judgments/descriptions of characters. Here, it seems that McCafferty's narrative shift has really messed with what could have been an excellent story.
Jessica's finally reunited (and it feels so good!) with her high school BFF Hope Weaver, and she has been in a tentative relationship with Marcus Flutie, her on/off high school boyfriend. She finally decides to make a clean break when Marcus cuts her off with a surprise proposal. McCafferty nixes the old Jessica diary format by having Jessica write in a journal specifically to Marcus basically outlining whether or not she should marry him. She describes her life getting menial jobs and barely scraping by. The highlight of the book is getting to know the minor characters from Pineville and beyond better. I love Bridget and Pepe more than ever, and I really take a liking to Jessica's family, especially her niece and sister. It's great finding out what happened to the other Pineville residents, and McCafferty's take on their futures fits what my guesses would have been.
A lot of what bothers me in the book is the style. I hate the self-conscious, writing to an audience thing here. Jessica's attempts at description seem like she's trying to use literary techniques to help describe things, but what comes out is stilted purple prose. It was so grating, and I missed Jessica's snark of the first book.