Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Note: this is the second book in the series but my review is spoiler free.

Second Helpings
by Megan McCafferty

Summary: 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.
I read the first book a long time ago (well, not that long - a year, maybe a bit more?), and I loved it. I've been dying to read the rest of the series for so long but kept putting it off - either because my TBR was too long to fit them in or,well, procrastination. I procrastinate even when it's things I actually want to do that I'm putting off. I'm going off on a bit of a tangent, sorry.

But basically, I loved this book too. It's one of those sequels that lives up to the expectations set by the first, it didn't disappoint me at all, and all the stuff I loved about the first book were still very much present in this one too.

Jessica Darling is awesome (although, damn her name and the fact that she shares it with a porn star--it made venturing into the tumblr tag for the books very...interesting). She can be judgemental, she's immature sometimes, she can be self-absorbed, she makes mistakes...and this isn't a very flattering picture I'm painting of her, but what it all adds up to is this: she's realistic. And I liked her anyway (not sure if it was in spite of or because of those character traits).

She had positive traits too (she's smart, she's funny, she's not afraid to speak her mind, to name a few), but the ones I mentioned are the ones that stand out because it made her seem like she could be someone I know, and not like she was one of those characters that was written to be liked to the point where it's like the author filtered out the flaws that would make her feel real. I loved the book more because of that.

I also really, really loved that the book shows that she doesn't see herself the way others see her. Because really, who does? And it seems genuine, it's not done in the Twilight-y way where the protagonist forever whines unconvincingly about how plain she is while tripping over all the boys that want to get into her pants as she's trying to get to her sparkly boyfriend whose perfection she feels she can never match (that made sense, didn't it? Almost? Sort of?). With Jessica, it just seemed very real and I liked that.

I love the other characters too. Some of them are a bit ridiculous at times, but it's also really clear that we're not seeing the characters exactly as they are, but how Jessica sees them. Her way of viewing people--while not always the nicest way to view people--is funny and interesting and it was done in a way that the reader doesn't necessarily have to agree with the way she views them, and it's rare for me to see that in books. Normally it seems like certain characters are written to be hated, like the author doesn't want the reader to make up their own mind about them, but it didn't feel that way with this.

Marcus Flutie...*happy sigh* he is such an ass. But in a good way? That probably wasn't the best choice of words. But basically, he is frustrating, he also screws up and does dumb things--and like Jessica, it made him seem realistic. He's also funny and sweet and lovely and smart and I'd very much like to keep him. I want these books to be movies purely so I can see Jessica and Marcus come to life on screen (but at the same time, these books are the type that would be so easy to get wrong and would need perfect casting to work and so I'm torn between wanting them to be a movie and wanting to hug the books to my chest hissing, "My precious!" at anyone who tries to make a movie adaption happen).

It's rare for me to actually like books written in a journal-like format, but Megan does it so well that I loved it. That's all I have to say on the writing part really. The only negative thing I can think of is that sometimes it felt longer than it needed to be--but that could've been because I stayed up all night reading it and as I was approaching both 5am and the end of the book, the stuff that didn't feel necessary got a bit frustrating because I was desperate to see how it ended (and to stop torturing my sleep deprived eyes but I couldn't put the book down).

The 9/11 mentions took me by surprise. They shouldn't have, but it just shows that the books really do stand the test of time--this one was published in 2003, I think, but set in 2001 and yet the book didn't feel dated while I was reading it.

This review is way longer than I intended, I went into it thinking I didn't have much to say about this one except for OMGSQUEEILOVELOVELOVEIT! but I guess I was wrong. I'd rate it 4.5 stars out of 5...or 5. Closer to 5. Let's go with 5.



  1. I keep hearing such good things about this series I may have to get it - you know since you're forcing me & all ;)

    1. Read it! :D

      I was so put off by the covers and titles for so long, but the books were way better than I expected.



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