Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Book Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

These books came out after I was an adult, but before I started reading YA again, so even though they were wildly popular, I missed them! But I might have anyway as they were about a teenager (at least the first couple) and yet were published as adult books. That's sometimes the appropriate way to go--when the subject matter is really adult--but that's not the case here. It's more just that YA market was so in the toilet when they first came out that the publisher probably thought that classification would doom the books.

But my publisher has now bought the whole series for reissue, and we're publishing them as young adult, which feels SO MUCH more appropriate. In this first book, Jessica Darling's best friend has just moved across the country, leaving her to deal with some very second-tier friends. But she both writes Hope letters and writes in her journal (that's basically what the novel is--those writings) to get through it. Her ditzy older sister is getting married. School has the usual drama. And Marcus Flutie, who she and Hope most definitely Do Not Like starts turning up everywhere Jessica is. Which is weird. And it would be so awkward to tell Hope about for Reasons. 

There have been minor updates to the books to make sure they're not offensive, but otherwise they keep their delightful super-late-'90s vibe. This was so true to what high school felt like that I couldn't read it in big chunks, as I couldn't take my anxiety ratcheting up to that level! Man, we should all be so grateful we're not dealing with the drama, trauma, and angst anymore. Actual teens will find the book so relatable and realistic, albeit without cell phones if they can imagine that. I'm eager to see Jessica go on with her life as the series tracks her through her mid-20s which is pretty unusual.

These books are being reissued by Wednesday Books, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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