GoodReads Summary: “Knowing that I’ve just done something that will take decades off my parents’ lives with worry, you’ll excuse me for not getting into the fa-la-la-la-la Yuletide spirit this year. . . . The only difference between Christmas 2001 and Christmas 2000 is that I don’t have a visit from Hope to look forward to. And Bethany has already packed on some major fetal flab. Oh, and now Gladdie doesn’t need to ask a bizillion questions about my boyfriend, because she’s already gotten the dirt from you know who.”
Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.
With keen intelligence, sardonic wit, and ingenious comedic timing, Megan McCafferty again re-creates the tumultuous world of today’s fast-moving and sophisticated teens. Fans of Sloppy Firsts will be reunited with their favorite characters and also introduced to the fresh new faces that have entered Jess’s life, including the hot creative writing teacher at her summer college prep program and her feisty, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother Gladdie. But most of all, readers will finally have the answers to all of their burgeoning questions, and then some: Will Jessica crack under the pressure of senioritis? Will her unresolved feelings for Marcus wreak havoc on her love life? Will Hope ever come back to Pineville? Fall in love with saucy, irreverent Jessica all over again in this wonderful sequel to a book that critics and readers alike hailed as the best high school novel in years.
My Thoughts: So this book is obviously the best of the series. No, I haven't read them all yet... but it's just obvious. If it was 1998 and the Jessica Darling series was N*SYNC, Second Helpings would be Justin Timberlake, in all his curly-haired, bleach blond glory. I really can't put my love for this book into words. I felt like my heart was exploding when it ended, in both a good and a not-so-good way.
Jessica is obviously growing up. That was one of the main factors the allure of this series. Most books--and series, for that matter--you get a glimpse into a small fragment of the character's life, perhaps spanned out over 4 or 5 books. With Jessica, we get to read about her teen years through her twenties. I love that. I love seeing the growth and progression of a character.
Jessica is still doing her own, crazy thing in Second Helpings. She teeters between mature/immature and I love it. She does stupid things and says things that cause facepalms. Is that not all part of growing up?! I love that Meg Mc lets her main character make mistakes and pay for them. I am pretty positive I said something similar about Natalie in Not That Kind of Girl. I think Jess, Nat, and I should all hang out, because I've been down that road as well.
And holy &*(&)W% MARCUS. Their relationship is so painful and wonderful all at the same time. It's PAINDERFUL. The almost/kinda-love triangle was almost nonsensical at times, but Meg Mc drew my sympathy for each of the parties involved. Gosh, if only all love triangles could be this redonkulous and well-done.
When I closed this book, the way I felt can only be described as the equivalent of drinking a glass of 4 of bad, boxed wine while flying on a magic carpet: I was a little queasy, but MAN DID I FEEL GOOD.
Also... (minor spoiler that doesn't actually mean anything at all until you read it in context) YOU. YES, YOU melted my heart. That is all.
Series: Second Helpings is the second book in a five book series.
Source: I purchased this book.
Published: Three Rivers Press, 349 pages (April 22, 2003)