In McCafferty’s third Jessica Darling novel, Jessica goes to college and finds the world is not exactly her oyster.
When last we left the always-journaling and too-smart-for-her-own-good Jessica (Second Helpings, 2003, etc.), she was leaving the stifling confines of her high school in Pineville, N.J., and launching herself into the adult world—via Columbia University. Unlike high school, where her smarts and antisocial nature somehow didn’t keep her from being pretty popular, Jessica’s college experience has been less than she desired. This is firstly reflected in the fact that her journals, which previously reported on most every development in her minutely observed life, now focus on the breaks and summers that punctuate her three years at Columbia. A directionless psychology major, Jessica spends most of her time obsessing over why she isn’t succeeding as she assumed she would, as well as what’s going on with her sometime-boyfriend, Marcus, the reformed bad-boy to whom she lost her virginity. While Jessica is struggling to make new friends and keep in touch with old ones, Marcus is attending a Buddhist college on the West Coast, making him even more aloof and hard-to-read. In Second Helpings, Jessica was just too good to be true—too smart, too witty, too up on every trend. Now, life is throwing her a lot of curves, and she comes off seeming more mature in her actions and in her writing. The conclusion is uplifting but realistic, with no white knights appearing in Jersey.
Surprisingly mature and witty novel that should snag more than a few adult readers who well remember their college years.