October 16th, 2013 by Nancy
The second after I read Jessica’s description of herself, I decided I would have wanted to be her friend in junior high — actually, I want to be her friend now!
When I first started junior high (ages and ages ago), I would have loved getting a step-by-step guide to popularity, prettiness, and perfection. Who wouldn’t?
In Megan McCafferty’s new book, Jessica Darling totally thinks it will be helpful when her practically-perfect-in-every-way older sister, Bethany, bequeaths to her the IT list: The Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection. But as you can see from the actual title of the book, Bethany’s guide (transcribed below) is totally not guaranteed and leaves a lot up for interpretation:
1. Wear something different every day.
2. Make the CHEER TEAM!!!
3. Pick your boyfriend wisely.
4. Stick with the IT clique.
Now, I don’t want to spoil the book too much, but finding out how Jessica manages each of these four instructions is totally worth the read. For instance, she does try out for the CHEER TEAM!!! and technically makes the CHEER TEAM!!!… but in secret. Especially after her tryouts end with her falling flat on her face.
So, what else besides failed acrobatics is in store for Jessica at Pineville Junior High? Well, there’s her two new friends, Sara and Manda, who act like best friends but sometimes seem like worst enemies. Jessica’s elementary school BFF, Bridget, hasn’t quite realized that she’s become pretty and popular overnight and has a serious beef with their school’s seagull mascot (that looks like a chicken). There’s ‘Smart Aleck,’ a boy in her Industrial Arts (aka wood shop) class, who Jessica thinks is terminally bizarre and totally messes with her head. And Jessica hasn’t quite figured out Hope, Sara and Manda’s friend — but Hope seems to have Manda and Sara figured out perfectly.
If you’ve ever walked through the halls of school and thought, a) “Does everyone have it figured out but me?” and/or b) “Is everyone absolutely nuts but me?”, then this is the book for you. And I can’t wait to see how Jessica figures it out — or doesn’t figure it out — in the sequel, Jessica Darling’s IT LIST #2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes & Faux Friends!
Bonus: This book is actually a prequel to a teen series, so if you’re old enough (13+!), check out the original Jessica Darling book, Sloppy Firsts.
Nancy also tried out for the CHEER TEAM!!! in high school and it was a disaster of similar proportions. Don’t ask.