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Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, Book 1) Paperback – August 28, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 486 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Jessica Darling Series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"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 Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad's obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany's lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?
A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica's predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment--from the dark days of Hope's departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious "Dreg" who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don't have to go back and grow up all over again.

From the Back Cover

“Such a sharp, funny, poignant heroine, with an inner world we can all relate to. I love it.” —Sophie Kinsella, author of Confessions of a Shopaholic

Sloppy Firsts captures, in spare, truthful prose, the exquisite pain and ecstasy of being besotted by your best friend. The reader may flinch, but Megan McCafferty never does.”
—Emma Forrest, author of Namedropper

Sloppy Firsts is a spirited, down-the-rabbit-hole adventure in the madcap subculture of high school. With remarkable insight, tenderness, and wit, Megan McCafferty offers us a compassionate, clear-eyed tale of how a sassy young woman survives teenage-hood.”
—Laurie Fox, author of My Sister from the Black Lagoon

“Sloppy Firsts perfectly captures the turbulent roller-coaster ride that is being a teenager. This is an (at times) intimate, painfully honest peek at a girl’s coming of age. Getting to know Jessica was like meeting a new best friend. I miss her already.”
—Atoosa Rubenstein, editor in chief of CosmoGirl!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st edition (August 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609807900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609807903
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (486 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Megan McCafferty is working on a series of middle-grade prequels to the bestselling Jessica Darling novels. JESSICA DARLING'S IT LIST: THE (TOTALLY NOT) GUARANTEED GUIDE TO POPULARITY, PRETTINESS & PERFECTION and JESSICA DARLING'S IT LIST 2: THE (TOTALLY) NOT) GUARANTEED GUIDE TO FRIENDS, FOES & FAUX FRIENDS are available now. The third book in the series goes on sale in June 2015.

The original Jessica Darling novel, sloppy firsts (2001), was ALA Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, an ALA Popular Paperback, and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Its sequel, second helpings (2003) was also selected to the NYPL list, and was a Booklist Editor's Pick for one of the best novels of 2003. charmed thirds (2006) was an instant New York Times bestseller and a NYPL pick. fourth comings (2007) and perfect fifths (2009) also made the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, Booksense, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other national bestseller lists.

BUMPED and THUMPED were published in 2011-12 and described in Publisher's Weekly as "sharply funny and provocative...set in a world where only teens are able to have babies, and are contracted by adults to carry them to term." Megan also edited a short story anthology called SIXTEEN: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday (2004).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came across this jem at a local thrift store for only two dollars. I didn't even bother to read the summary because I was in love with the bright colors and the way the 'mouth shaped origami note' seemed to pop out from the very typical young-adult girl book cover that I loved to indulge myself in, so I bought it. The book sat on my shelf for months until finally deciding to attempt to read it. In the beginning I couldn't seem to get into the book, reading maybe two pages into it before giving up and re-reading something else I already knew that I loved.

However, when I started to read it, I could not stop. This story about a straight 'A' brainiac teenage girl was like an obsession. Her "diary" consisted of everything possible, including: a best friend who moves away and leaves her with a group of snobby and fake girls that she's grown up with but just can't stand, the boy who has grown up liking her that she sees as just a friend, her beautiful crush who doesn't know she exists, and the mysterious "krispy kreme" aka Marcus Flutie who keeps getting her into trouble.

The sarcastic comments are utterly hilarious and hit so close to home I for one knew I had thought freakishly similar things in my own daily life.

The angst and originality of the main character, Jessica "Not-So"Darling is one that I feel every girl can connect with and learn to love.

Without a doubt my favorite book in it's category.
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By A Customer on November 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Sloppy Firsts" is a novel that was a lot of firsts for me. As a seventeen year old, I have found in the past that I have had to read books like "The Fountainhead" and "Catcher in the Rye" in order to relate to a character in a book these days-because modern day writers have a tendancy to magnify what is either rare but interesting about teens that make the lead characters seem fake, OR they have teens worrying about things that real teens really don't have to worry about in the first place. But "Sloppy Firsts" is different. In it, the main character Jessica Darling is a human being; she's not perfect, she makes mistakes, and she's not a fake hug-you-every-time-she-sees-you type of girly-girl. She sees the world as it is, taking the good with the bad. It only took me about four hours to finish this novel. I won't call it a page-turner, because that doesn't do it any justice; it was more of a (I know this is going to sound cheesy)"self-discovery" thing for me. I mean, when I read it, (the day before yesterday) all I was looking for was SOMETHING to give me some comfort; I had no idea I would get so attached to the people in this book, and find myself relating to Jessica in almost every way. READ THIS BOOK. There is no way, no matter how young or old you are, that you will be dissappointed.
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By A Customer on December 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
SLOPPY FIRSTS is a great novel which I enjoyed reading very much. The narrator is Jessica Darling, a high schooler, who goes through many experiences and learns a lot along the way. What is Jessica to do when her best friend has just moved away, her dad obsesses over her high school track career, and her mom is too involved with her older sister's wedding to help her other daughter? Jessica must learn how to deal with all these things while tackling other problems which come her way, including her shallow friends, her relationship with one of her guy friends, and bad boy Marcus.
I found that SLOPPY FIRSTS told everything like it is. It reminded me of all of the problems that normal teens go through everyday. Jessica's experiences with friends, boys, and parents really sounded like an account of any teenage girl living in America today. It also dealt with many different issues at once, so that every part of the book was interesting. I couldn't stop reading it. There were so many situations where you wished something would happen and you had to keep reading to see what actually WOULD happen. In fact, I tried to put a limit on what I could read every day (needless to say, it didn't work because I finished the book in 2 days). I just found the whole book very interesting, and thought that the way it was told was very funny. I loved how Jessica was so sarcastic and comical with the way she described everything. This is a great book! I also agree with another reviewer who recommended THE LOSERS' CLUB by Richard Perez. These last two books are my favorite Amazon.com purchases for the year. Highly recommended!
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A Kid's Review on July 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book very much, after reading it I emailed Megan Mccafferty and she e-mailed me back, I thought it was really great of her. Anyway, back to the book, in my own words this book portrays the life of a "normal" teenage girl so accurately you almost have to wonder whether or not it wasn't written by a really 16 year old girl.Jessica's world is decribed wonderfully down to very littlest detail. As an avid reader, I have read most of the teen favorites, but I wouldn't consider this book a run of the mill diary format book about teen angst. This is because Jessica is intelligent yet not perfect, she has all of the traits that human being should have. For instance, she is blantantly honest with us in her"diary", yet she is very skilled at lying. Though she says she hates her body she is not vain, she is just dealing with normal everyday teen life. Yet, Jessica is purely fictional, I applaude Megan Mccafferty for her painfully honest portrayal of any real girl's life. I assure you that when you read this book, no matter what age you will feel like she could be your best friend, who knows?, maybe you'll see a litte of yourself in her.
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