Middle Grade Review: Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty

Posted October 6, 2013 by Lori in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments Tags:

Middle Grade Review: Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCaffertyJessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty
Series: Jessica Darling's It List #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 2013-09-03
Genres: Coming of Age, Family, Humorous Stories, Middle-Grade, Social Issues
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: ARCycling
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Move over, Dork Diaries! Jessica Darling, star of Megan McCafferty's bestselling Jessica Darling series for adults, is back in a hilarious new series perfect for tween (10 to 14) girls.

I hadn't even gotten to homeroom yet and I'd already discovered five hard truths about junior high:

1. My best friend had turned pretty.
2. She didn't know it yet.
3. It wouldn't be long before she did.
4. That knowledge would change everything between us.
5. And there wasn't a thing I could do about it.

It's the first day of seventh grade. Is Jessica Darling doomed for dorkdom?

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty's hilarious series opener will have you laughing, cringing, and cheering for Jessica Darling as she learns that being herself beats being popular, pretty & perfect any day.

Jessica Darling’s It List This book was completely adorable. A perfect middle-grade book for girls who like contemporaries. It was my first Jessica Darling book but I most definitely need to read her other series ASAP. Jessica Darling’s It List has humor, sass, and a very authentic tween voice with issues that most seventh graders can relate to. I wish this had been around when I was younger.

My favorite thing about this book, no question, is Jessica. Her voice was so authentic for a seventh grader, it was fantastic. She had a little bit of an attitude but was also a little naive. She didn’t completely understand why everyone was so concerned with popularity and doing certain things and wearing the cool clothes but she also knew that she didn’t want to be a loser or a ‘Not’. I remember having similar feelings in middle school of wanting to fit in and not completely knowing what I wanted or who I was. It’s a very confusing time with friendships and relationships and parents and school and I think all of those things were dealt with in a realistic way. It was definitely laced with humor and there are some situations that were exaggerated a bit to be funny but otherwise it was very authentic.

The thing that really stuck with me about this book is how so many of the issues that Jessica is dealing with throughout this book are issues that we all dealt with in middle school. In the beginning, Jessica just wants to fit in. She wants to make sure her best friend won’t leave her behind. She doesn’t understand the hierarchy of the school cafeteria or how important finding the right table is. She is overwhelmed and just wants to be liked. But does that mean she should be different than who she is? She has a few lessons to learn, that we all learned, and she comes through stronger and smarter. Our elementary school friends aren’t always the ones we stick with in middle and high school. Sometimes, we don’t wear the popular clothes. Sometimes our friends don’t like the same things we do. Sometimes we get stuck in classes we don’t want. And sometimes our life at home isn’t the way we want it. It’s okay to be who we are, even if that doesn’t make you the most popular girl in school. Those can be some hard things to learn and to a seventh grader they may seem like the end of the world, but we’ve all been there and gotten through it. And this book deals with them so well. It makes these important issues and lets the reader understand how important they are to Jessica, but it isn’t overly dramatic or annoying. It’s all very enjoyable.

Jessica Darling is a character I want to read more of and luckily for me, there’s a complete series for adults based on her. I will definitely be picking those up. Luckily for tween girls, Jessica Darling is an awesome character. She’s funny, smart, confused, nervous, and honest. It’s definitely a book I’ll be putting in my daughter’s hands when she is old enough. It was nice to read a book that wasn’t centered around romance but really was just dealing with growing up. There is a boy who she seems like she might be interested in maybe later on in the series and some characters talk about dating, but Jessica isn’t into boys just yet. She really only wants to figure out the whole middle school/friendship/family stuff. Also luckily for us, she’s determined to do it with humor. I can’t wait to read more about Jessica Darling and I would definitely recommend this to tween girls or anyone wanting a laugh while revisiting their middle school years.


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