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Estelle: Jessica Darling’s IT List (#1) by Megan McCafferty

Jessica DarlingJessica Darling’s IT List (#1) by Megan McCafferty ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Poppy / Little Brown
Pages: 240
Target audience: Middle grade / Jessica Darling fans!
Keywords: starting middle school, friendships, siblings
Format read: ARC from Shanyn of Chick Loves Lit. Thanks!!
Other books reviewed by MM: Bumped

Summary: Jessica Darling is starting the seventh grade, and she’s confident (?!) that with the help of her older sister’s list, she will be the talk of the seventh grade.

It’s official. Jessica Darling has joined the ranks of two of my lifelong favorite middle grade book heroines: Anastasia Krupnik (Lois Lowry) and Alice McKinley (Phyllis Naylor Reynolds). I have read and re-read the quirky books about Anastasia and Alice’s lives so many times; they are two literary characters that I feel I know so so well. And now Jessica Darling? It’s like a dream come true.

It’s always a little nerve-wracking when an author decides to revisit a popular literary icon (yay!) and transport them back in time a little bit. But Megan McCafferty can legit do no wrong so I’m not sure if I was ever that worried. Maybe I was just concerned I would become Darling obsessed all over again and never read another new book until I got through the whole series.

(Truth: so hard not to pick up my copy of Sloppy Firsts, which I’m pretty sure has been winking at me since last week.)

Not only is the IT List totally funny, honest, and SO Jessica, but it does a few things that I love. As a middle grade book, it will introduce new kiddies to this series. And for all of us who have been dying since finishing Perfect Fifths and daydreaming about what’s going on with our favorite girl, we get the opportunity to learn more about the pre-high school Jessica and totally fall in love with her all over again.

Middle school was not the happiest time of my life so I could totally relate to how nervous Jessica was about starting seventh grade. The clothes, the friends, the lunch table antics, wood shop, staying true to her sister’s sparkling high school reputation. The pressure! The exclamation points!! AND THE CAPS LETTERS. (Amazing additions, let me tell you.) McCafferty does a great job of balancing several parts of Jessica’s life: she wants attention from her sister and will follow through with the IT List if that’s what it takes to get it and what about the best friend who becomes the popular one?

Jessica continues to be spunky, hilarious, super smart, and a very thorough thinker. (As she says, it’s totally her hobby.) It was hard not to speed through The IT List because it had such a confident rhythm. McCafferty’s writing is strong and she never forgoes Jessica’s voice and intelligence level even though it is being marketed as middle grade. It definitely has a timeless quality for the any-age reader. (Plus there is a Muppet reference and talk of Seaside Heights — two bonuses for me!)

Listen carefully and do what I say: buy this book and love this book. Because Jessica Darling is so back. (Even though a character like her never leaves us in the first place.)

P.S. Marcus Flutie.

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Big thanks to the lovely folks at Little Brown who are letting us give away TWO copies of THE IT LIST. Be sure to enter!!

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December 8, 2015 - 6:56 pm

Hi - I read the book and thought it was very good but can someone explain whar 3znuf 4eva is i have figured out that 3znuf is 3 is enough as in the three friend jessica briget and dori but still do not know what 4eva is

September 17, 2014 - 9:00 am

Jessica Darling's IT List 2 by Megan McCafferty - […] Add to Goodreads |  Buy on B&N | Review of IT LIST #1 […]

September 18, 2013 - 3:09 am

Alexa Y. - The fact that you referenced Anastasia Krupnik has me SOLD on reading this book. Seriously, I loved her — and because you loved her AND Jessica? I’m definitely going to be checking this book out, along with the rest of the Jessica Darling books.

September 14, 2013 - 5:33 pm

Ri - The thing I love most about JD is how relatable she is. Whether its her witty or sarcastic thoughts or her trying to fit into reality while maintaining her true self, we’ve all been there. This series is one of few I never get tired of reading over and over and it makes me laugh everytime.

September 13, 2013 - 6:58 pm

Joli @ Actin' Up with Books - Jessica Darling made me fall in love with young adult characters as an adult. When the book first published, I was 24 reading a ton of chick-lit (books for “my age group” and books for Grad School, but once I read Sloppy Firsts, I wanted to read more books with characters like Jessica – young, fun, sarcastic, and REAL.

This is my favorite series EVER and I am so happy that Megan is giving readers a younger Jessica. I won a copy of this for my niece – I want this to be the book that makes her fall in love with reading, and I hope that I am lucky to win this one for me (if not, I’m getting a copy to read along with her asap).

Thanks for sharing your love of this book and the series and hosting this fantastic giveaway. Anyone who wins will be lucky to experience the awesomeness of Megan McCafferty and Jessica Darling.

September 13, 2013 - 6:57 pm

Vivian - I haven’t read any of this series’ books, but I’ve heard good things!

September 11, 2013 - 10:34 am

Jennifer Jensen - I haven’t read Jessica Darling novels before and only recently discovered them. Looking forward to reading them all! Thanks for the giveaway!!

September 11, 2013 - 1:48 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I’m TOTALLY going to pick this one up! My favourite Jessica was in the first two books, when she was silly and snarky — I found that she lost a bit of her snarkiness in the last couple of books. Plus, I like a good middle grade read now and then, so this one sounds just perfect!

September 10, 2013 - 11:07 pm

Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books - I thought that the Jessica Darling series overall got a bit weaker as the series continued and Jessica got older. So with that logic, a story about an earlier Jessica should be good…I think? lol This sounds super cute and like a lot of fun, in all honesty. I regret the fact that I never really had a MG literary heroine. If I did, though, I can imagine Jessica being a fantastic one.

September 10, 2013 - 7:47 am

Maggie, Young Adult Anonymous - To my everlasting shame, I’ve only read the first Jessica Darling book. I KNOW! And I loved it so I don’t know why I haven’t read the others. Oh wait, Marcus Flutie. I can’t with his redheaded dreads!!

September 10, 2013 - 12:14 am

Bookworm1858 - If one has not read the Darling books, should one start with this book or read the original books first? I think I read Sloppy Firsts years ago and didn’t really connect with it but I want to give them a go again as someone who is far more up on YA lit now.

September 9, 2013 - 10:29 pm

Theresa M. - I love that Jessica, while being our protagonist and someone you want to see succeed, is a complicated, authentic individual that makes her easy to relate to, and I think most readers can see themselves in her.

September 9, 2013 - 11:58 am

Hazel @ Stay Bookish - I love love love Jessica Darling! Truth be told, I was a little disappointed that Megan McCafferty decided to do a prequel instead of another book that follows Perfect Fifths. Nonetheless, I cannot wait to explore and read about middle school Jessica! I’m glad she has kept her humor and spunk! Great review, Estelle! <3

September 9, 2013 - 11:50 am

Tammy - I got the free preview of this book on my kindle. It looks like a fun read.

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