Steph Su's Reviews > Perfect Fifths

Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
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Apr 23, 13

bookshelves: own-arc, signed, favorites, writing-learn
Read from April 17 to 22, 2013 — I own a copy, read count: 3

It’s been three years since Jessica refused Marcus’ marriage proposal, and both of them have moved on with their lives. Jessica now works for the Do Better High School Storytellers Project, traveling across the country to work for ten weeks with groups of girls on finding a voice through writing. She has even found a mini-me in the dregs of Pineville, a cynical teenager with the unfortunate name of Sunny Dae, who gives Jessica meaning to her work. Meanwhile, Marcus has embraced college life, immersing himself in academia and humanitarian projects—and even an affair with an older woman—while elevating his campus reputation as the Sexy Enigmatic Older Man (for lack of a better term) to a sky-high level.

But have they really, truly moved on from each other? A literal collision at the airport as Jessica is latelatelate for a flight to a Caribbean wedding (guess whose!), and Jessica has run Marcus over, barreled straight back into his life as though she never left it. As IF she ever left his life, mind, or heart.

Now, stuck in one another’s company at the airport, Marcus and Jessica are forced to come face to face with their past and everything that they have been imperfect in for the last ten years of their lives. Now comes a resolution to a spellbinding series that is “perfect in its imperfection.”

It’s unlikely that ardent Jessica Darling fans will be disappointed in this last book in the series, not after they have gone with Jessica through her periods of mistakes, growth, regressions, and maturing. PERFECT FIFTHS may start out a little slow, but through a clever and definitely spellbinding use of not-so-very-usual narrative tactics, we readers are taken through an ever deeper discussion and reflection on Marcus and Jessica’s bumpy decade-long relationship. We get to relive our favorite moments from the series. Barry Manilow gets extensive “play.” All of the characters that we have grown to love in their complex imperfection (even the truly wince-worthy ones, such as Sara) come back, in one form or another, like this is the fantastical finale to a colorful and dramatic musical.

But it is, of course, the characters of Marcus and Jessica that steal the show. Here is where we cut away all the adolescent and young adult B.S. they’ve been working through in the previous four books. Here is where they—and we readers—discover their true, eternal natures, the ones that their previous behaviors and thoughts were leading up to. This is why the phrase “perfect in their imperfection” is, well, perfect in this situation: what we learn of Marcus and Jessica in PERFECT FIFTHS complements yet improves our previous knowledge of them, and if you didn’t love them before, you’ll loooove them now. I’ve never been one to fangirl on male characters, but if you don’t fall in loooove with the Marcus Flutie that he becomes in this book, then there is no hope for you at all.

It’s always difficult to introduce new characters into a well-established group of characters, but—I don’t want to make assumptions here, because I know nothing, but it just seems this way—there seems to be the possibility of Sunny reappearing in Megan’s future books. Just saying. That’s what it seems like, a little. Just a random (hopeful?) hypothesis.

Also, some readers may be uncomfortable with some extended descriptions of sex and related body parts. While it did not bother me and I actually felt it lent itself wonderfully to the purpose of the book, I can understand why you might not want to let, say, your younger sister or daughter read it. Just wanted to let that be known; it shouldn’t bother most readers, nor should it detract from the reading experience.

Long story short (and without giving too much away; we can discuss the details of our reactions to the book at a later date), PERFECT FIFTHS is un-miss-able, a wonderfully cohesive montage of the previous books in the series, a brilliant ending to a towering achievement. I look forward impatiently to reading Megan’s future works outside of this series, as I think you all will too.
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Reading Progress

02/28/2009 page 50
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