As you may already know, the new Jessica Darling book, Jessica Darling’s It List #1, is in stores right now! It’s a middle-school-aged prequel about Jessica as she starts junior high, guided by her sister Bethany’s it list — simple rules to help her achieve popularity at her new school. All of our favorites are there — the Clueless Crew, Hope, her family, and there is even an appearance by Marcus Flutie himself.
My favorite part of this book is the exploration of the relationship between Jessica and Bridget. As you know, I’m a HUGE fan of Bridget, so it’s no surprise that she’s my favorite part of this new novel. We see the dynamic between the two begin to shift in this book — Jessica feels left behind when Bridget’s new haircut and braces-free smile catapults her to the A-list in the junior-high social scene. Even as their friendship is changing, it’s nice to see Bridget and Jessica as BFFs, before Hope or Manda and Sara or boyfriends enter the picture. Their relationship here provides a greater context for the progression of their friendship in high school and college. Jessica claims that they are only friends because of location, but this novel shows that that is not entirely true. Their friendship is based on real emotion and genuine concern.
Although much of this novel is aimed at Jessica Darling lovers like us, I think that the friendship between these two is one that new, younger readers of the series will love. Jessica’s dislike of her friends in Sloppy Firsts was why I first fell in love with her, but maybe younger readers today will fall in love with the way she tries hard to keep friendships when they change.