Monday, July 19, 2010

Can't Smile Without You

"'I've missed this,' Marcus thinks, 'I've missed you.'"

I want a love like Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie.

Happy Birthday, Marcus Flutie. Well, technically it was yesterday since it's after midnight, but whatever.

In honor of the birth of a fictional character I'm in love with, I'm telling everyone that you must read Megan McCafferty's series about Jessica Darling.

I started reading these while I was still in high school, the perfect time to read them and I find that I really did kind of grow up with Jessica Darling (not as much as I did with Harry Potter, but still). Her outlook on life is strikingly similar to mine and I really appreciate her as a character. Written diary-style (sans Perfect Fifths), you really get into the mind of Jess, which makes her become a part of you. She's raw and candid and real, something missing in a lot of books I read with characters this age. Jess is authentic, rather than generic.

Marcus Flutie is perfect. He's a mess, but so deep and...he's fascinating. I hope that one day I meet a boy like Marcus, even if we don't fall in love. Marcus could be my best friend and my lover.

Sunny steals the last book. You can find out more about her later, but she's a pleasant addition to the characters I love so much.

I was really sad when reading what I heard to be the final book, but Jessica's a grown up. Marcus is a grown up. She's done with college and has a steady job. She knows people getting married. In many ways I'm where Jessica is at the beginning of Perfect Fifths. I so very wish they'd make movies of each novel, but at the same time, I don't want it damaged by Hollywood.

GO READ THIS SERIES. It's not cheesy and stupid, it's smart and funny. It's sophisticated. It tells the story of a young adult without the stereotype of being a young adult novel. It's grown up and it's real. In some ways, it feels like McCafferty just made her name Jessica Darling for the sake of the novel, because I can't believe this reality came from a subconscious (though, after seeing Inception, I may be wrong).

It is a light, fun read, but it'll also touch you. I cried when I finished the final book because it was over. In an earlier book (I think Second Helpings), I wrote Jess's valedictorian speech down on construction paper and taped it to my door. This is a coming of age story in the best form and I hope anyone who reads it enjoys it as much as I do. I honestly can't imagine my life without Jessica, Marcus, Hope, Cinthia, Bridget, Percy and even Manda.

I wish I could go into more detail, but I don't want to ruin it. Just go check it out. They're in the Fiction/Literature section of Barnes and Noble or they can be found online: Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourthcomings, Perfect Fifths. All are worth it. Some more than others, but that differs per person. Perfect Fifths and Second Helpings are my two favorites, I think.

While J.K. Rowling may be the author that inspired me to write, Megan McCafferty is the author that's inspired me to not give up.

"Well, this will make a good happy story," Marcus says. "Whenever you decide to tell it."
At first Jessica nods in agreement, the top of her ponytail striking his chin with every head bob. But then she corrects herself with a decisive head shake. "We," she says.
"Whenever we tell it," she says. "Because it's
our story."

"Can't Smile Without You" by Barry Manilow; 1978


  1. i love this series. i would love to find a boy who would wear a shirt that says "you.yes you." or well i thin that's what it said. i loved the 2nd and 4th books.

  2. you knowww I already added these to my list!