Tag Archives: Marcus Flutie

And the winnerS are…

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the Jessica Darling series.  As a last minute bonus, I was also able to give away two copies of the first book in the series–Sloppy Firsts–as 2nd and 3rd prizes!  Random.com selected the following winners:

Congratulations BOOKISH PATTY for winning the entire series!  You’ll really enjoy these books.

Congratulations are also in order for Debbie of Suburb Sanity and Heather of Book Addiction who each won a copy of the novel that started it all–Sloppy Firsts

Thank you to everyone who participated!  Let’s do this again soon!

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Dear Diary, Does anyone write longhand anymore?

journal-diaryIn 1981, Santa brought me a Hello Kitty diary; I was 7 and totally smitten with Hello Kitty (as evidenced by the infamous Hello Kitty Heist of ’81).  This diary began my 25+ year love affair with writing longhand.  Don’t get me wrong, we had a Commodore 128 and were hip to technology, but I loved to write by hand.  I used this diary (albeit sporadically) until 1988, recording all my pre-teen drama and foibles for my future self to look back on with mirth. 

When I went to high school, I stopped keeping a daily diary and graduated to the marble composition notebooks for vacation journals–notice the personalized one with the collage of pictures on the cover!  Our family vacations are chronicled from 1989 straight through to 2008 (though now I vacation with my husband).  I started using other types of journals because the composition notebooks didn’t weather all that well. 

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I love looking back on old vacations–especially with my family–because I wrote down the most august things that would have long since faded from memory.  A family vacation to Long Beach Island, NJ in 1991…I was a chronic overpacker even at the tender age of 16!

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Or how about a page (and doodle) from 2007’s road trip that took us to Livingston, Montana?

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My point is that even though I love to blog, nothing compares to keeping a longhand journal of my travels.  But I wonder if anyone else out there does the same?  Is writing by hand a dying hobby? 

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for the complete Jessica Darling series HERE.  Contest ends Monday, 4/20 at 10pm EST.

Review (and Giveaway!): Perfect Fifths

perfect_fifthsTitle: Perfect Fifths (Jessica Darling Series)

Author: Megan McCafferty

Genre: Fiction*; 304 pages

Publication date: April 14, 2009

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Rating: 4 Bookmarks**

Perfect Fifths is the final book in the Jessica Darling series.  It picks up three years after Fourth Comings; Jessica (now 26) and Marcus are reunited in a chance encounter at Newark Liberty International Airport.

After buying the first book on a whim a few years ago, I was lured in by the protagonist, Jessica Darling, a then-teenager from New Jersey.  Her acerbic wit had me laughing from page one.  She finds temptation in a boy named Marcus Flutie and their on-again, off-again relationship spans the series.    The good girl/bad boy conundrum spoke to me on a personal level and I was eager to find out how things would play out.

McCafferty tells her story using dynamic and credible characters who grow and change as the series progresses. The dialogue is realistic and the storyline is believable.  Sexual tension between Jessica and Marcus runs high, creating suspense and frustration for the characters and readers alike.

The first four books are written journal and letter-style from Jessica’s point of view.  As readers, we’re limited to seeing plot events and characters as she does, which colors them significantly.  I found myself wanting to kick Jessica in the shins on several occasions because she didn’t make the decisions I would have.

In Perfect Fifths, McCafferty switches to third-person omniscient point of view and we finally(!!!) get to see into the mind of enigmatic Marcus Flutie!  Marcus dispels some of the myths that have been perpetuated in the previous books and we learn the motivations behind some of his past actions.

A new character is introduced and is reminiscent of young Jessica.  Minor characters from the other books resurface and play bigger roles.  McCafferty brings the story full-circle, tying up all of the loose ends.  We get resolution with Jessica’s friends and, of course, with Marcus…though it may not be what readers were hoping for.

I couldn’t put the fifth book down and stayed up reading it until 2:30 in the morning.  Then I re-read it twice more, savoring the story and interaction between the couple.  It was such a pleasure to take this literary journey with Jessica, Marcus, and the whole cast of characters that Megan McCafferty crafted.  This series belongs in your TBR pile.

And now on to the CONTEST!!  Simply leave a comment below and you will be entered to win the entire Jessica Darling series–all 5 books!  The deadline is 10pm EST on Monday, 4/20 and a winner will be chosen at random.  ONE entry per person and this contest is open to everyone–even international friends.  Good Luck!!!

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Many thanks to Megan McCafferty and Crown Publishers.

* This series is sometimes classified as YA fiction but the books span 10 years of Jessica’s life, ending on her 26th birthday.  The series deals with sophisticated themes and the nature of the story lends the books to a wider audience.

**To fully appreciate this particular novel and all the references and entendres, the books should be read sequentially.

Shameless Promotion: The Jessica Darling Series

firstsLong 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.