Writing this blog, dissecting each section and chapter and character and choice, has often brought out what I don’t like about Jessica Darling. Sometimes it highlighted what I didn’t like about Megan McCafferty’s writing choices, but usually just what I didn’t like about Jessica. As much as I love her, she can really annoy me. McCafferty has even admitted that the longer she wrote Jessica, the more the character became completely separate from the author, to the point where McCafferty would cringe as she wrote out her reactions and decisions. But, what I’m trying to say, is that maybe this blog was too harsh in pointing out what I didn’t like about Jessica Darling, when, really, I love her, and the series, so very much. So, below are the top five things I love about Jessica Darling, one chosen from each of the five novels of the serious.
1. Jessica’s Job (Perfect Fifths)
Jessica travels to high schools, where she helps teenage girls find their voices and deal with various issues through writing. Could you make up a better job if you tried? I would take this job, even with all of the travel, in a second.
2. Jessica’s friendship with Bridget (Fourth Comings)
As Emily and I have been saying for weeks and months, Bridget is the best, best, best. It’s no surprise that Bridget and Jessica’s brunch, and Jessica’s description of their singular and important friendship, is our favorite part of this novel.
3. Jessica’s flaws (Charmed Thirds)
I really like that Jessica is flawed. Yes, it’s very frustrating to read and experience these flaws. But it’s also refreshing to see someone not be perfect or even great and have people still love her and depend on her and respect her. Not only is she not perfect, she doesn’t strive to be perfect. Jessica has always reminded me of Jo from Little Women, but Jo always agonized the ways in which she was too loud or pushy or impatient. Jessica just accepts her flaws, and I love that about her.
2. Jessica being You, Yes, You (Second Helpings)
Jessica and Marcus. I LOOOOVE Jessica and Marcus. Marcus was exactly the guy I had all of my crushes on in high school and college. And now, probably. I love reading books that make me swoon, and Jessica and Marcus make me swoon all the time, especially in Second Helpings.
1. Jessica hates high school (Sloppy Firsts)
The first time that I read Sloppy Firsts was when I was in the middle of high school and I was moody and angry and liked my friends, but didn’t like my friends. I knew I didn’t want to spend anymore time that I had to living in my hometown. I longed for everything to be different. I saw so much of myself in Jessica, and it was so refreshing to read that although some things got better, she didn’t change her feelings completely. And, most of all, I love that part of the reason that things get a little better is that she finds her voice as a writer, even if — or especially since — her writing mostly complains about high school.
I love reading about our favorite moody, stubborn, insensitive girl and I loved writing about her. Emily and I have decided to continue this project, even though the series is over, with a new blog, where we will read the novels of Rainbow Rowell. She is one of our favorite writers, and it seemed like everyone fell in love with her this year, with the publishing of her second and third novels, Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. Like Megan McCafferty, she writes about imperfect female protagonists, complicated and wonderful female friendships, young women finding their voices, and the swooniest of men. If you haven’t read any of her novels, immediately get them from the library (or buy them, I guess), so you can read along with us. We’ll post a link to this website once the new blog is up and running. Until then, thanks for reading all of the Jessica Darling series with us. And, thanks, Emily, for being so patient with me when I would forget to post. I might secretly and actually think that “Crocodile Lies” is a terrible song, but I want to sing it to all of you.