FROM THE COVER:
When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy – and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?
My rating: 5 stars.
Striking, vivid insight. Jessica is something unlike most characters: painstakingly observant and in tune to her surroundings, yet not abnormally so. But what she sees, and what she feels from what she sees, proves to be life-changing in the most thoughtful ways possible.
Case and point: Marcus Flutie.
Marcus is everything you want, even though you shouldn’t. For every near-perfect aspect he possesses, there’s also an imperfection. He is a character of poise or severe instability – there’s no middle. With Jessica, readers will swoon over his charm, no matter how wrong he may prove to be. Marcus is, if anything, an ingenious character.
The story itself is broken down into the months of the year. However, the pace is brisk, much like Jessica’s thoughts. The dialogue is fitting – neither weak nor strong. And Jessica’s family has such great personality and inclusion overall, which is nice when so many families get put on the backburner in other novels. McCafferty manages to incorporate all elements of Jessica’s life in a lovely way: family, friends and love.
EXTRA: The sequels are Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings and Perfect Fifths.