Book: Jessica Darling’s IT LIST #1: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty
Source: Free ARC from publisher at BEA (Thanks to Jen who lent me her copy, because I missed the book drop.)
Release Information: September 3, 2013 from Poppy (imprint of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Summary (from GoodReads): 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 she did.
4. That knowledge would change everything between us.
5. And there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
It’s the first day of seventh grade. Is Jessica Darling doomed for dorkdom?
New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty’s hilarious series opener will have you laughing, cringing, and cheering for Jessica Darling as she learns that being herself beats being popular, pretty & perfect any day.
Thoughts: I am not exaggerating when I say I cried when I learned that this book would exist. The Jessica Darling series is one of my all time favorites and it is one of two books that I finished reading before leaving NYC after BEA. It’s middle grade so it is a quick read, but Jessica’s voice is still in-tact. She’s a little less angry, but she is just as smart and funny and anxious. I’ve never read a middle grade like it and I think a lot of middle grade girls will be able to relate it and will NEED to read it so that they won’t feel so alone. I also think it’s a great intro to Jessica for anyone who hasn’t read the YA series and that long-time fans of the series will LOVE this look into Jessica’s past.
For the most part, if you’ve read the series, you won’t get any big surprises. We know a lot about what happens to Jessica because she spends a lot of time thinking about and mocking her high school social dynamic. However, watching Jessica go through those painful middle school experiences is hilarious. Plus, it is fascinating watching what is happening through young-Jessica’s unjaded eyes.
I’ll be honest–sometimes I mix up my own life history with Jessica’s. Not with things that actually happen to me, but stories that are relayed to Jessica about her friends. I’ll remember something that happened to Scotty or Manda and it will take me a good minute to realize that it didn’t happen to someone in my real life, but to someone in Jessica’s. So being able to watch these people, who feel so so so real to me, was amazing. I also loved meeting Hope, this girl who is so important to Jessica later and yet also absent for a good portion of the series.
Everything I said so far talks about my personal experience reading this book and isn’t particularly review-like. Well, Jessica Darling, in both the YA series and this MG, isn’t very book like. It’s so real, that it is an experience. It’s funny and insightful and wry and there is a middle school girl out there who NEEDS this book.
Moments I Loved: I loved everything about this novel, but if I hadn’t, seeing a young Marcus Flutie would have made up for anything. Plus, the shop teacher is hilarious.
WTF Moments: Manda and Sarah, especially when they tried to retaliate for not making the cheer squad. SO FUNNY.
Overall: I wish this book had existed when I was in middle school. It will save somebody’s life the way Sloppy Firsts saved mine.