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Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection

(Jessica Darling's It List #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,481 ratings  ·  235 reviews
Move over, Dork Diaries! Jessica Darling, star of Megan McCafferty's bestselling Jessica Darling series for adults, is back in a hilarious new series perfect for tween (10 to 14) girls.

I hadn't even gotten to homeroom yet and I'd already discovered five hard truths about junior high:

1. My best friend had turned pretty.
2. She didn't know it yet.
3. It wouldn't be long before
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Poppy
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Amanda I just read it having never read them and I still enjoyed it. It's prequels so it's basically just another order to red them in. …moreI just read it having never read them and I still enjoyed it. It's prequels so it's basically just another order to red them in. (less)

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 ·  1,481 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
As a huge fan of the original Jessica Darling series, or, at least, as huge of a fan as one can be while intentionally deciding not to finish said series, I was super curious about Megan McCafferty's prequel. I mean, more Jessica Darling is pretty much always acceptable, except for the fact that I had my reasons in stopping after two books, but that's an issue from another time. Anyway, now we can see Jessica tackle junior high, and McCafferty brings Jessica's trademark wit, observational skills ...more
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Actually I finished reading this a few weeks ago and couldn't even put it into words. Still can't. A gift to JD fans.

Full review to come on

#1 JD Superfan Always aka Anna
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book really feels like a flashback to middle school for me. Remember that time when your bff realized that she was pretty? Or when you all of a sudden decided to change your group of friends and leave the old ones behind? Remember the tragedy when your friends all end up in one class and you're the only one with a screwed-up schedule and in the class that no one wants to take? That's Jessica's life in It List. You'll recognize yourself in Jessica, and you'll want to cheer her on because thi ...more
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, own
Jessica Darling basically got me through high school. It was cute to see flashbacks to all the characters I already know and love. It's not for adults at all but was too adorable to care. ...more
Jenni Arndt
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-own, gifted
I have wanted to read Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series for a very long time. I bought Sloppy Firsts a while back but haven’t gotten around to reading it. When I got the opportunity to read and review her new prequel middle grade series I jumped at the chance and I am so happy that I did. The IT List was funny, sweet and incredibly authentic for the age group.

The great thing about middle grade novels is the amount of social awkwardness that is piled into the pages. Jessica is just starti
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thank you Megan McCafferty for reminding me who I am as a reader. I have spent the last year wrapped up in this romance with books full of all kinds of drama and debauchery. I think I kind of forgot the girl who fell in love with reading.

Don't take this as an insult to all the amazing books I've read lately. This book just reminded me of my roots in reading, and really had me thinking about the way I've been choosing books. I forgot how much I loved books that got into my heart and not my panti
Megan Mann
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing

It's the day before seventh grade is about to start and Jessica is feeling pretty good. Well, at least until her much older sister, Bethany, comes home and says that she has the perfect guide to not only surviving, but flourishing, in junior high. It's her IT list and as long as Jessica follows it, she's guaranteed a fulfilling experience.

The list consists of trying out for CHEER TEAM!!!, finding and staying friends with the IT clique and choosing your boyfriend
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
It thrills me to no end that middle school girls are going to get to grow up with Jessica Darling. Somehow, this gives me optimism for the future. Like many of you, I did not read the Jessica Darling books until high school — well, for me, the were published in high school and I actually totally only read ‘Second Helpings‘ because of course, my school library did not have them. Sigh. ANYWAYS, needless to say, I eventually read the series in kind of a fever pitch a few years ago. Keeping with tra ...more
Abby Morse
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This Book grabbed my attention Idmeatly it keepes you on your toes and you don't want to put it down a lot of things surprised me now I won't give any spoilers but this book is great and is worth giving it a 5 STAR RATING. ...more
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, own
The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection is a fabulous start to Jessica Darling's It List series. Fans of the original Jessica Darling series will love this glimpse into pre-teen Jessica's life and mind!

Jessica Darling's It List series is very much middle grade. The writing is simple, the humor is aimed for younger readers, and the characters are not very mature. However, it totally works in this case. It's set in junior high and Jessica Darling and her friends a
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Being a huge fan of the Jessica Darling series (although the last half of the series couldn't hold a candle to the first two books), I was super excite to read this prequel. And I wasn't expecting anything of Sloppy Firsts or Second Helpings calibre, I was happy with what it was. A quick and easy glimpse into junior high aged Jessica, which is a good time to set the books, as you get to see the beginnings of her friendships with Hope, and the Clueless Two.

That's probably the best thing a
Alyssa Jacobo
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I currently finished this amazing book by Megan McCafferty called Jessica’s Darlings It List; The (totally not) guaranteed guide to popularity, prettiness, and perfection.

This book is the most relatable book that I have ever read, it’s so funny and very realistic. Sometimes when it’s quiet I can imagine the events in my head. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Jessica tries out for the CHEER TEAM!!!, that is one of my favorite parts because that’s when her old friend and best friend d
Kate LaChapelle
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Oh my god. I loved this book. The joy, the meetings, the slang, the loveliness.

For those of you who have not read the Sloppy Firsts/Jessica Darling series, I urge you to do so immediately, and for those of you who have already read the SF/JD series, you will understand my pure, unadulterated, utter, blissful, mondo joy at reading this book and re-entering the head of Miss Jessica Notso Darling.

I don't read a lot of YA that falls on the younger end of the YA spectrum, I feel like that is called
Kelly Hager
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love the original Jessica Darling books to a ridiculous and possibly unhealthy degree. This is a prequel to those books (which begin when she's in high school and follow her through to early adulthood) and our Jess is in middle school.

Middle school is pretty much an awful time for everyone, but certainly more uncomfortable than most for her, because she's so completely not a joiner and not someone who's effortlessly cool. (Is anyone, though?)

The best part of this for me is seeing Jessica and h
Abby Johnson
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Megan McCafferty is back with a prequel series to her excellent Jessica Darling books. Here, Jessica is attempting to navigate junior high with help from her older sister's guide to being on the IT list. The voice is just perfect - it's clearly Jessica Darling's acerbic wit, but a little more naive, just what I would imagine middle-school Jessica to sound like.

This is a series sure to win over fans of the original series and attract new fans. I devoured the first book and can't wait for
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Welcome to the Jessica Darling’s It List series, where we witness Jessica in her younger years as a middle schooler. Here, she enters seventh grade aiming to be “popular, pretty and perfect,” which has Jessica turning to her older sister, Bethany, for some top tips on how to survive and thrive. Little does young Jess know, the It List is going to change her life in ways she did not ask for!

Read the rest of my review on Bookbed.
Alize Flores
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book because it was dorky but cute.I fell in love with this book. I loved how Jessica is worried about her first day of middle school while her sister was the it girl at Pineville middle school. Now she has to follow her sister's It List to try to fit in at her new school. I would definately recommend this book to anyone who likes dorky books.I am most positivly EXTREMELY exited to read the next book. ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. I am a huge fan of the Jessica Darling series and I was initially
concerned about a prequel. It was a totally unfounded fear, Jessica is still the same character we love in the other books. I didn't realize how much I missed new stories involving these characters. Now I'm so excited for the follow up to this book!
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
What a fun story! This book takes you back to the seventh grade year of Jessica Darling and introduces you to all of the major players in the original series. It was so good to see a humorous Jessica that is not so cynical and jaded by all the years, as you see by the end of book 5. I still miss the diary format though...
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jessica darling it list is about a girl named jessica and she has a popular older sister that wants jessica to be popular too. jessicas sister gives jessica the "it list" but lets just say it didnt exacly help jessica. I would recomend this book to people that like Drama and comedy ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Reminded me of when i was in middle school. I guess I was not the only girl trying to find my way!
Isabella Torres
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Isabella by: My cousin
Shelves: favorites
I thought it was a great book about friendships and going though junior high. It was like a girl in junior high was writing the book. loved this book and would like all my friends to read it.
Erica Elwell
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super fun and sweet book about the perils and joys of middle school.

Book is written for middle school readers so fun and easy to read with nice short chapters and a plot that keeps things moving!

Jessica is a great female character! I love that while she falls into the trap a bit about trying to become popular she ends up staying true to herself. She experiences some crazy and semi embarrassing moments but has a great outlook and even if she doesn’t live what happened she appreciates who she has
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the first book in a quasi prequel series to McCafferty's other Jessica Darling books. I am a huge fan of the first Jessica Darling series and have reread them numerous times. I was nervous to go into Jessica Darling's It List because the cover screams JR HIGH!!! BFFs 4-EVA!!! and generally made me afraid that McCafferty's intelligent and funny writing was going to be toned down too much. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the humor was still there and that in such a short book McCaf ...more
Eve beinguniquebooks
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Starting high school is a big step, especially if you want to be popular like your sister was!

For Jess, her sister Bethany guides her with a list of things to accomplish to have a great school experience, she needs to choose a great boyfriend, join cheer group and make the right friends.

However, her best friend Bridget soon becomes everything the list needs, getting on cheer team, bagging a boyfriend and fitting straight in while Jessica realises that maybe being herself is best?

After all Jess m
Katie Lucas
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
The novel Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty is a fiction book. The novel represents life as a middle school student, it shows all the drama of middle school in just 240 short pages, and it leaves you thinking and feeling bad for poor Jessica. Before school, she was given a guide written by her sister, Bethany, written when she was the most popular seventh grade girl. The only four tasks on the list are: always wear something different every day, make the CHEER TEAM!, pick your first ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
I only read this book because I wanted to read the later Jessica Darling books. I think this is only the second middle grade book I have read in my adult years. I read Judy Blume’s, Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret a few years back.
I thought I would find this one to be cute and humorous, and that it would make me recall my middle school years. Not so. I don’t know if it’s because I can no longer relate to childhood drama or if it just wasn’t a good book. I found Jessica, her sister, and her
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Tweens & Diehard Jessica Darling Fans
How I Came To Read This Book: I received a review copy from the publisher.

The Plot: A Jessica Darling prequel, to put it simply. For the uninitiated, Jessica Darling is the star of a five-part series of books that tracks a young woman from the beginning of her junior year of high school to her mid-twenties. In a nutshell, Jessica is a bit neurotic, quite sarcastic and self-deprecating, and hopelessly entangled to one degree or another with a boy named Marcus Flutie. This book takes place during
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jessica Darling is starting middle school with heavy shoulders. Her older sister is the most popular girl at school from all times. On top of all that, her best friend is now attracting all of these boys and making new friends. But when her sister gives her he IT list for middle school, she thinks nothing will go wrong.

I really liked this book because it taught me so many lessons about friendship and school and I think every girl should read this book.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This is absolutely fine, but I guess I just can't really see a reason for it to exist? Jessica Darling was an absolutely new and vibrant edition to YA fiction, whereas we've seen plenty of these younger YA girl figuring out how to navigate friends, family, school, (and romance) from different authors. This is definitely a less Bridget Jones-y version than Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries, but it still doesn't really feel necessary. ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #28 - Jessica Darling's It List (#1) 1 2 Feb 01, 2016 06:53AM  

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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's It List (3 books)
  • Jessica Darling's It List 2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes & Faux Friends
  • Jessica Darling's It List 3: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Stressing, Obsessing & Second-Guessing

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