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Sloppy Firsts

(Jessica Darling #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  34,909 ratings  ·  1,936 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 Darli
Paperback, 280 pages
Published 2001 by Three Rivers Press
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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)
Samantha I would suggest this book series 15 & up…moreI would suggest this book series 15 & up(less)

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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
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Trina (Between Chapters)
Video full series review (spoiler free)-

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
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
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Re-read 9/20/17: So upon re-reading this for
Throwback Thursday, my rating has gone down from 5 stars to 4 stars due to some pretty problematic elements that exist in this book (slut shaming, slurs, cheating, etc.). These are things that I didn't notice back when I first read this book about a decade ago and tbh I'm a little embarrassed that I have recommended this book to so many people since then. WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID: I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and I love Jessica and Marcus (and
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Georgia Nicholson and such
Shelves: ya, 2010, fun-and-dumb
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),
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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. ...more
Sep 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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!
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.
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 book is 100% chick lit. The plot is not original, as is the case for 99% of the genre, but-the characters sure as hell are.

Jessica Darling is, upon first glance, your typical honors-heroine. The kind that is supposedly brainy and cynical and usually g
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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’
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.
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014, ya

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.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I feel slightly disappointed with this book, I had such high hopes going into it, I’m contemplating whether I should read the rest of the series or not now.
YA Reads Book Reviews
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
This is one of my favourite YA books. I've always loved Jessica's cynicism, and the mystery of Marcus Flutie. And I totally love the ending. Even though I've read this book so many times, I think I will always continue to enjoy it. It's funny, it's cute, it's relatable.

Edit 11/18/16 - Just to expand on my kind of paltry review, this is one of my favourite books, period. I love the way it's written, not just the journal format, but Jessica's voice. Megan McCafferty wrote a teenage girl in the ea
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Megan McCafferty writes fiction for tweens, teens and teens-at-heart of all ages. The author of eleven novels, she’s best known for SLOPPY FIRSTS and four more sequels in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series. She's got two new books coming out in 2020: TRUE TO YOUR SELFIE (MG, Scholastic, 2/20) and THE MALL (YA, Wednesday Books, 6/20). Described in her first review as “Judy Blume ...more

Other books in the series

Jessica Darling (5 books)
  • Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2)
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