Part Two—During: Let’s Blame it on Byron

In the second section of Perfect Fifths, McCafferty gives us Marcus and Jessica’s unfiltered conversation, without the clutter of internal thoughts and second-guesses. After so much time spent apart in Charmed Thirds and Fourth Comings, so much uninterrupted dialogue between Jess and Marcus is refreshing. Clever banter during late-night phone calls brings Marcus and Jessica together in Sloppy Firsts, so it’s fitting that this exchange takes up a significant chunk of Perfect Fifths. But this conversation does not rely on Marcus providing a strange fact to prompt discussion, Marcus and Jessica now have a shared past and plenty of catching up to do.

I always find it surprising when Marcus doesn’t remember something about Jess’s past. He managed to remember details from conversations he overheard between Jessica and Hope when he was in a drug-addled stupor, but he can’t remember when Jess went to SPECIAL or their conversation outside Brandi’s office. The tongue kissing cousins conversation seems like such vital moment in the story of Marcus and Jessica, it’s astounding that Marcus has no recollection of it. Jessica claims that she only remembers this interaction because it was the first time she wrote about Marcus in her journal, which makes me wonder if she goes back and rereads her journals, or if the act of writing it down made it more memorable.

Stray Observations

  • Sometimes I have so much trouble keeping track of who’s talking.
  • Why is Jessica so reluctant to tell the story about Sunny?
  • I love that when Jessica exclaims “My high school crush-to-end-all-crushes almost had man sex with my ex,” (97), all Marcus can do is protest “almost?” (98).
  • Jessica’s clumsy attempt of faking her period is so hard to read! A “menstral tsunami in [her] uterous” (101), seriously? So embarrassing.

Though The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith doesn’t take place entirely in an airport, that’s where Hadley and Oliver meet-cute. Like Jessica, Hadley misses her flight and may not make it to a wedding—her father’s wedding to a woman she’s never met. She and Oliver start chatting in the waiting area and end up sitting next to each other on the flight to London and talking the whole way there. But what happens once they get off the plane?


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