Sixteen year old Jessica Darling is devastated when her best friend, Hope, moves away in the middle of their sophomore year of high school. Left with three very clueless quasi-friends, Jessica is full of angst. When a new student, Hy Wallace, arrives on the scene and works her way into the Clueless Crew, Jessica strangely finds herself feeling a bit left out. Scotty, who has had a crush on her forever, has moved on to other girls, and her own longtime crush on Paul Parlipiano seems to be going nowhere. So it’s no surprise that Jessica is feeling a little antsy when the school stoner, Marcus Flutie, asks her to pee in a yogurt cup so he can pass his drug test. She complies, and thus begins an odd relationship (and I use the term loosely) that Jessica is wholly incapable of deciphering.

Sloppy Firsts is the first novel in the five book Jessica Darling series, and it’s one that covers the hardest year of Jessica’s life- to this point. After Hope moves away, she begins keeping a diary, and that diary is the means by which the reader is pulled into the story.

I actually first read this book in 2007, then decided to re-read it this year so I could move on with the series. And honestly, I definitely loved it more the second time around (not saying I didn’t like it the first time, because I did. But I didn’t move on to continue the series then, whereas now I can’t wait to find out what’s happened with Jessica in the rest of the series).

One of the things I love about Jessica is that she is everything I wanted to be when I was in high school, but never really knew how to be. But she’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and she never pretends to be. She’s self-centered and angsty, and she knows it. She works herself up over the littlest dramas, but she knows she hasn’t really known much hardship. But she’s a talented track star, and she’s got the kind of snark and sass I only dreamt of having when I was that age.

I’d recommend this series for anyone who enjoys young adult books, particularly by Sarah Dessen or John Green (who, though certainly different, both came to mind as I was re-reading this book).

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