Second Helpings (Jessica Darling #2)
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.
There's a Reason Everyone Loves This Series
What I Loved:
I will do my best to refrain my flailing and fangirling in this review, but it's going to be really difficult, because this series gives me so many feels. SO. MANY. FEELS. Seriously, if you like contemporaries at all and are not easily offended, then you really need to read the Jessica Darling series posthaste. Second Helpings follows Jessica through her senior year of high school, and had me even more on the edge of my seat than the first one.
As I mentioned in my review for Sloppy Firsts, I love Jessica. She is so well-characterized that I feel like I know her up and down. I can tell you her strengths, her weaknesses, and how she fails to see herself properly, as most people do in high school. Jessica grows up a lot in this book, learning to go for what she really wants and to see herself more objectively. In Sloppy Firsts, Jessica did a lot of things to please others, but now she's focused on herself.
One thing (out of many) that I love about this series is that it's so obvious that Jessica doesn't know what she wants. Though, from my perspective, I can tell the right choice from the wrong one, I know Jessica so well that I understand when she missteps. She works out her difficulties in her journal, rehashing them over and over again, trying to process her feelings, particularly about boys. Relationships are confusing, and it can be really difficult to tell how you actually feel about someone, especially if they're also your friend. McCafferty shows that all teen relationships don't last forever, and that romance isn't easy or found at first sight.
In my previous review, I mentioned that I was still a bit unsure about Marcus Flutie. Let the record show that I am no longer unsure. Before I got too far into Second Helpings, I was shipping Jessica and Marcus something fierce. Basically, in book one, he didn't really overcome his sketchy past enough to be someone I could really endorse as a hero, but, by now, he's made good, now using his talents for good rather than substance abuse. He and Jessica have such a strong mental connection, and chemistry like whoa. Also, it's hilarious how, for two forthright, honest people, they have a huge amount of trouble admitting their feelings for one another.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Though I've decided not to rate down for this because I just loved this book so much, this edition had a surprising number of typos. Also, that ending was mean. Just mean. I am very afraid that I will not like the next book, mostly because I have no idea what will happen and I have nerves just thinking about all the bad, but realistic, decisions I will need to watch Jessica make. MAKE GOOD CHOICES, JESSICA.
The Final Verdict:
You should probably be reading this series. Do it. So you can flail with me. Please?
Lightyears ahead of the first installment
By and large, Second Helpings was a massive improvement over Sloppy Firsts. Where in the first book I found Jessica Darling to be needlessly rude and judgmental, in this sequel I was instead charmed by her ridiculous sense of humor and pleased by her obvious character growth from her sophomore year of high school. I think really, that this series is the kind one needs to see to the end, since otherwise the reader will miss out on the full effect.
Second Helpings dealt with Jessica’s senior year—college applications, figuring out what she really wanted to to with her life, and figuring out how to tell her parents that she didn’t exactly want to do what they wanted. Thrown into the mix is her awkward relationship with reformed druggie Marcus Flutie. Overall this was a book I felt much more strongly attached to.
From the very first scene to the last, I was completely in love with this book. Though it’s wasn’t instantaneous, I now count myself as one of Megan McCafferty’s (many) fans.
Strong Followup to Sloppy Firsts
Reader reviewed by Sara
From Publishers Weekly: Every day, I wait for that doomsday shoe to drop on my head and crush my spirit," laments New Jersey high schooler Jessica Darling. This hilarious, candid sequel to Sloppy Firsts opens the summer before Jessica's senior year of high school, when the precocious misfit is at a New Jersey academic enrichment camp whose competitive enrollment is belied by its acronym-SPECIAL. There, she meets Prof. Samuel MacDougall, a handsome writing teacher with "three novels, two works of nonfiction and one hot piece of ass to his name," who challenges Jessica to imagine the world outside of her native suburbia. She also runs into her former "crush-to-end-all-crushes" Paul Parlipiano (he's gay, of course), who introduces her to Columbia University-which she decides she must attend. Come September, Jessica works on her college applications, dearly misses her best friend, Hope, who has moved to Tennessee, and spends much of her time trying not to think about bad boy Marcus Flutie, who broke her heart last winter when he confessed that he only asked her out as an experiment. As her senior year progresses, Jessica starts dating Len Levy, her rival for class valedictorian, and becomes the subject of the school's new anonymous gossip rag. The material is typical teen fare, but Jessica is a captivating, intelligent, acidly funny-but always believably adolescent-narrator who is unsparing in her sketches of Pineville High "society" yet touchingly alive to her own vulnerabilities.
Favorite characters, quotes/lines: Jessica: she was just as sassy as ever though I didnt always really like the choices she made, it was important that she made them; Marcus: I was excited that he had a bigger part in Jessicas life and that we learned more about him. In Sloppy Firsts Jessica didnt learn near as much out about him as he did about her; Bridget: I liked the new Bridget - and her new boyfriend!
When I finished this book I felt: I think I liked this book more than Sloppy Firsts because I felt like I knew Jess better she was an old friend instead of an acquaintance. Jessica was closer to my age in this book too and I could relate to her even more than before. Yay!! for Marcus! Definitely one of my favorite guy characters of all time!! Im excited to read Charmed Thirds next.
Other books to read by this author: see past post
I would recommend this book to: teens and their moms!
Reader reviewed by lia
I loved this book more then the first one. On this book Jessica Darling 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 cant seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew. To top it off, Jessicas parents wont get off her butt about choosing a college and her sister Bethanys pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.
She is having a lot of stress with parents and stuff but i loved her relatitonship with Marcus. I loved the book and Marcus as well.
Still honestly straighfoward
Reader reviewed by Natalie
The sequel to Sloppy Firsts takes place during Jessica Darling's senior year of high school. She spends part of her summer at writing camp trying not to think of Marcus Flutie, an ex druggie turned genius, who broke her heart last school year. She is learning not to htink about Marcus by dating Len Levy, geeky genius turned rockstar hott, applying to colleges, and learning to deal with yet another school year without her best friend Hope. The novel takes the form of Jessica's diary, so we are privy to her innermost thoughts--many of which concern Marcus--an obsession that has followed her around since we last saw Jessica in Sloppy Firsts. Jessica is a great narrator--funny, sarcastic, poignant, heartbreaking, and even at times infuriating. She is honest about everything which makes you laugh out loud!
Second helpings. YAY
Reader reviewed by bria
OOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGG. i love this book. It was WAY better then the frist, and the first book was great. the book made me love marcus even more, even if jessica starts dating len, she belongs with marcus. i love the fact that jessicas crush to end all crushes,paul, turns out to be not quite what she expected. I still feel that the jessica darling novels are for the older teenagers because of the great use of confusing vocabulary. I suggest every teenage girl read this book. its very good novel.
Jessica's Back and Better Than Ever!
Reader reviewed by Stephanie
WARNING: you might not want to read this if you haven't read the first book.
Oh well. Suit yourself.
The year 2000 ended on a mixed note for Jessica. She got her period back and renewed her long-distance friendship with best friend Hope, sure, but she lost her close friendship with Marcus Flutie, the boy who broke her heart. Picking up in the summer before her senior year, Jessica attends a summer writing program with stereotypically goth/emo writers and decides to attend Columbia University. However, her parents won't let her go anywhere near the Big Apple, and September 11 also affects her decision.
Meanwhile, Jessica's trying to be a good girlfriend to Len Levy, her rival for valedictorian and also Marcus Flutie's best friend. Which means that He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned is around. A lot. And still sending mixed messages. On top of that, Marcus works at the "old fogues" home where Jessica's grandmother, the spirited and beloved Gladdie, lives. Will Jessica be able to experience some semblance of a happy ending to her high school years?
As with the previous book in the series, SECOND HELPINGS is a deliciously funny account of high school. Adults will be glad they don't have to go through the ordeal again, while high schoolers will want Jessica as their best friend. Megan McCafferty's books are well on their way to immortalization.
Reader reviewed by Val
Well, firstly I like Leah whom I happen to be friends with read second helpings instead of reading sloppy firsts but I regret it as well because you find out alot in te seocond book and its one of those novels where if I had to read sloppy firsts I'd have to read second helpings because it would leave me with a bitter feeling because lets just say sloppy firsts doesn't end how everyone wants it too. There the third book coming out called Charming thirds so look out for that and those who don't know about second helpins well,it's the story of a senior named Jessica Darling who is trying to get over the shock of having the popular, really handsome supposed druggie who it turns out THIS IS A SPOILER SKIP TO AVOID READING........
in the first book sloppy firsts had ben bet to take out the smart kid in school. But, she's not like dorky or anyhting and yeah he finally tells her just when there about to ummm... well yea and she gets upset. She goes to school and has to dealw ith him but she finds she can't control herself around him and throughout the novel realizes theres more to Marcus than meets the eye!
I'm ready for my third helping please!!!
Reader reviewed by Leah
I didn't read Sloppy Firsts, but i stumbed upon this book and decided to read it. Now I wish i had read sloppy firsts. This book deals with the ever present problem of swallowing your pride and just admiting that you still love this person, or keeping your dignity and never speak to them again. Jessica Darling is a senior in high school and deals with the troubles and turbulations of hating someone you love, what college to go to and getting your dad off you're back.
a great second
Reader reviewed by sara
THis book was good except for one thing.I didn't like that there was so much bad language and sex references.Other than that it was a great story of the typical high school just like the first one.I don't think you could ask for a better sequel.
A first-rate sequel!
Reader reviewed by LJK
In this sequel to Sloppy Firsts, Megan McCafferty brings back Jessica Darling and all of friends (and not-friends) for their last year at Pineville High. Jessica's best friend, Hope, is still far away, so Jessica must negotiate college applications, the end of her running career, her sister's pregnancy, and, oh yeah, Marcus Flutie, with only her "like, best friend" Bridget to guide her. This book is hilarious, and sensitive, and moving, and just plain terrific. I don't know how I will survive the wait until the release of Charmed Thirds in 2006.