Long before Stephenie Meyer dreamed up her vampire heart-throb, Edward Cullen, there was Megan McCafferty’s tempting-yet-forbidden Marcus Flutie. I first met Marcus in 2001, while browsing in Books-A-Million in Florida. He was tucked away in the pages of a novel with a splashy cover that featured a pair of legs and an origami-style folded note—the kind you passed to your friends back in high school.
I picked up the book and read the plot blurb and author’s biography. McCafferty’s a fellow New Jersey resident and Sloppy Firsts was her debut novel. On a whim, I bought the book and returned to my parents’ house with few expectations.
Two hours later found me poolside and engrossed in a realistic and intelligently written novel about Jessica Darling, a teenager from New Jersey. The novel was written in the first person, journal-entry style. Like Bella from Twilight, Jessica’s love interest seems to be a dangerous and ill-suited match. It’s a classic case of good girl falls for bad boy.
I’m hesitant to categorize the Jessica Darling series (for there are four more books that follow Sloppy Firsts) as YA just because Jessica is a teenager at the start of the series. She is a dynamic character, maturing and changing as the novels progress. By Perfect Fifths, she’s a working woman in her mid-twenties and we’ve seen her through high school, college, her first job, and new job that is almost custom-made for her. These books hold appeal to a wider audience than just the YA crowd.
Her friendships and romantic relationships develop and transform as she ages her relationship with Marcus faces one frustration and obstacle after another. Can the couple relationship nirvana. Will it happen in Perfect Fifths? You’ll have to wait until April 14th to find out! (I’ll be reviewing it here next week.)
To pass the time, you can try reading a book that falls between genres, as the novels in this series do. I would suggest reading them in order to get the full scope of Jessica’s feelings and the landscape of her relationships: Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, and Fourth Comings.
You can also pop over to Megan’s blog to see what she has to say. She’ll be signing copies of Perfect Fifths on April 14th in (where else?!) New Jersey at Barnes & Noble Princeton Marketfair from 7:30-8:30pm. After that, she’ll be in NYC, Stamford, CT, DC/Metro area, and LA. See her page for event details.