Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1)” as Want to Read:
Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sloppy Firsts

(Jessica Darling #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  35,399 ratings  ·  2,028 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 Darling
Paperback, 298 pages
Published August 28th 2001 by Broadway Books
More Details... Edit Details
Featured Notes & Highlights

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sloppy Firsts, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  35,399 ratings  ·  2,028 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1)
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
For those of you that aren't aware, this book originally came out in 2001 and it was my ABSOLUTE favorite book all throughout middle school and high school. The Jessica Darling series was my first ever experience reading Young Adult and it truly is the series that I credit to me falling in love with reading. With that being said, the original version of the story is not without issues you would expect from a book written in 2001 (extremely dated language, slurs, slut/body shaming, etc). When I f ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
May 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Happy book birthday to this lovely YA fiction! 🥳

Wow! After the first release in 2001 it seems like nothing much changed with the dynamics in a impressively witty and sarcastic high school girl’s life.

Jessica definitely not so Darling (she’s definitely not a sweet girl next door! She has sharper claws than wild tiger )reminded me of Easy A’s Olive and Never Have I Ever’s Devi: sassy, smart, entertaining who has hard time to blend in school, ignored by the boy she has big crush on, surrounded by
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
May 30, 2011 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
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

So I recently found my old copies of books #2 and #3 from the original publisher (Broadway Books) that I somehow never got around to reading when I read SLOPPY FIRSTS for the first time. I don't know where my copy of book #1 went. I lent it to my sister and then never saw it again, heh. But anyway, I remember really loving this book when I read it in my late teens/early twenties because of how Jessica Darling's snark resonated with me, a
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Sloppy Firsts was a book that had actually been on my TBR probably since I joined Goodreads but much like everything else that is out of sight/out of mind I didn’t ever actually try to obtain a copy. Then it got a new look for it’s 20th(????? – I think 20th) anniversary and a freebie was available to me for review so obviously I was all over it.

You’re probably getting sick of hearing me say that I have no ability to read anything “deep” of late, but it is what it is and that’s what ended up bein
Trina (Between Chapters)
Video full series review (spoiler free)- https://youtu.be/igSoCG9Z_9c

So the good stuff:
It hooked me, I couldn't put it down, it was very reminiscent of my high school experience, and I want to continue the series!

I enjoyed the nostalgia that is high school in the early 00s, and the diary format. I can see why this book was an early staple in YA.

And the (not so) bad:
It had a difficult start. There is a LOT of teen speak and dated slang. This book is set in the year 2000 and was a gooooooood dose
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
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fun-and-dumb, 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),
Oct 19, 2010 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
Apr 15, 2014 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
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
Nov 09, 2010 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
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
Jan 24, 2009 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
Sep 27, 2011 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
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.
Oct 30, 2010 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,
I had the hardest time getting myself involved with this book. It took me to 55% to start to understand what plot the author was aiming and that was after going back to the synopsis to realize that I needed to look for Marcus. Not only did I struggle with finding the plot but a lot of the commentary that our protagonist gives to every single character of the book is either slut-shaming, sexist, or even racist at times. Which of course irritated me a whole lot. I also did not understand a lot of ...more
I liked it, but I have to say it was completely different from what I had expected - but not in a bad way, not at all. The titles of this series, combined with the heroine's name and the leg-stressed covers said light, funny and fluffy - but bold on the sex-side - teen-chick-lit. I had expected a cross between - let's say ... Sophie Kinsella, Louise Rennison and Meg Cabot. To be completely honest, apart from being open to surprises because of my Goodreads friends' loving reviews, I did not reall ...more
Jacob Proffitt
Jan 16, 2012 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,
Feb 22, 2009 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

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!
update 6/dec/2020: you cannot convince me that this is not the best high school chick lit of all time. you just can't. anyway, upon reread, I find I disagree with many points I made in this review, so take everything with a healthy pinch of salt :D

update 26/feb/2017: there are so many grammatical mistakes and typos in here, darn it.
please bear with me if you spot them. i'm too lazy to correct them. tyvm.

One of the two books directly responsible for the end of my chick lit reading frenzy.
This bo
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it

Finally! I finally met Jessica Darling.

Don’t let the cutesy name fool you though. This girl is no darling. Let’s see…how to describe Jessica Darling? Well to start she made me smile, cringe, angry, laugh, roll my eyes, remember, and sympathize. She’s a teenager. I mean the real deal. So real that I can’t even say for sure if I like her. Haha…THAT kind of real. We see it all—at school, home, and in her head. It’s a scary place! Full of angst, sarcasm, selfishness, confusion, doubt, and humor. Thi
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 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Alex Nonymous
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Sloppy Firsts in exchange for an honest review.

Sloppy Firsts was originally released 2 decades ago and it really is a product of its time. While I think McCafferty does an excellent job of developing a strong, unique teenage voice, I had trouble seeing past all the ways this really didn't age well. There's a lot of women hate, body shaming, and not-so-great racial content and while I think it is indicative of the way teenagers approached those top
REREAD: October 8, 2017:

did I really just reread this only seven months after reading this for the first time? yes, yes I did. and it's still a spanking five star fave. Jessica Darling is such a great protagonist and oh Marcus Flutie.

ORIGINAL review feb 23, 2017:

Wow. I honestly didn't think I'd enjoy this as much as I did. This was great.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty
  • The Photographer
  • The Plot
  • The Disappearing Act
  • Anchored Hearts
  • Other People's Children
  • Wait for It
  • Like a Boss
  • It Happened One Summer (Bellinger Sisters, #1)
  • I Was a Teenage Fairy
  • Talk Bookish to Me
  • Blood on My Hands (Thrillogy, #2)
  • Under the Southern Sky
  • Anatomy: A Love Story
  • Dreams Lie Beneath
  • Where It All Lands
  • We Were Never Here
  • The Cheat Sheet
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Megan McCafferty writes fiction for tweens, teens and teens-at-heart of all ages. The author of twelve novels, she’s best known for SLOPPY FIRSTS and four more sequels in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series--available throughout 2021 in updated 20th anniversary editions. She published two new books in 2020: TRUE TO YOUR SELFIE (MG, Scholastic) and THE MALL (YA, Wednesday Books). ...more

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)

News & Interviews

In the world of books, witches have been enjoying something of a moment lately. Stories about witches go waaaay back, of course. But in the...
23 likes · 2 comments
“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.” 612 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.” 396 likes
More quotes…