Jessica Darling, Ten Years Later

Ten years ago, I was shopping in a Books*A*Million with a friend of mine when a book glowed at me from a shelf maybe ten feet away. I’m not kidding. The book lit up and made a chiming sound that told my shy, bookish heart that it was a book for me and I should come fetch it right away.

That book was Sloppy Firsts, the first of of the Jessica Darling series, which starts out with an almost-16-year-old Jessica writing to her best friend Hope, who’s just moved. That was me when I was 16, moving from Georgia to Louisiana, writing to all my friends. So, even though I was was a bit older than Jessica in 2001, the first book and later, the rest of the series, seemed to eerily parallel my own experiences in that comforting, amazing way we all need from books when we’re younger (and maybe always).

So, when author Megan McCafferty sent out a newsletter offering interviews to 10 bloggers to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sloppy Firsts, I jumped on the chance and sent her 10 questions. And she answered them!

With no further ado, here is my Q&A with Megan McCafferty:

Q: What do you think the Jessica Darling of Perfect Fifths would say to the Jessica Darling of Sloppy Firsts if they found themselves trapped on an elevator together?

A: “Don’t worry. You’ll end up right where you’re supposed to be.”

Q: What did Sloppy Firsts teach you as a writer?

A: Everything about writing a novel! Before SLOPPY FIRSTS, I had never written anything longer than a 10 page term paper.

Q: What is your favorite/most memorable fan story about Sloppy Firsts?

A: I’ve kept the first fan email I received from a reader in Indonesia. It’s still so surreal to me that young women growing up on the other side of the world see themselves in this angsty suburban New Jersey teenager.

Q: Do you remember where you were the first time you saw someone reading Sloppy Firsts (someone who was not related to you)?

A: Yes. I was picking up my son from daycare in the Fall of 2003 and I saw one of the high school YMCA volunteers reading SLOPPY FIRSTS during her break. I was so tempted to point and yell, “THAT’S MY BOOK!” but I refrained.

Q: What is you favorite thing about being a writer? What is your least favorite thing?

A: My favorite thing is hearing from readers how much my work has meant to them. My least favorite thing is the business of selling books, and worrying about my future in it.

Q: What inspired you to write [new novel] Bumped?

A: Everything in BUMPED is inspired by real life. The initial idea was inspired by the Gloucester High School “pregnancy pact.”

Q: Who were your favorite writers when you were 16 years old? Who are your favorite writers now?

A: When I was 16, I didn’t read many books because I was a magazine junkie. So my favorite writers were on the staff of SASSY. Now I’m lucky to consider some of my favorite writers as friends, including Gabrielle Zevin, Rachel Cohn and Carolyn Mackler.

Q: Which fictional character (not one of yours) would be Jessica Darling’s best friend? And which her arch-nemesis?

A: Samantha Baker from 16 Candles. Which would make Caroline Mulford from the same movie her enemy.

Q: Is there something about Jessica Darling’s character or history that you’ve always known that hasn’t ever been revealed in the books? (People are complex! Even fictional ones! Especially fictional ones!)

A: Absolutely! Just like there are things about me that not even my husband of 13 years knows about. There are always unknowable aspects to everyone….

Q: What do you think the Megan McCafferty of July 2001 would say to the current Megan McCafferty? What would you like to say to 2001 Megan if you could?

A: 2001 Megan to 2011 Megan: “Are the Backstreet Boys still together?”
2011 Megan to 2001 Megan:  “Start paying more attention to Justin Timberlake.”

Megan’s newest book is Bumped, a dystopian novel about 16-year-old twins in a society where wide-spread infertility has made teens the most prized members of society.

You still have the rest of today to enter Megan’s Epic 10th Anniversary Giving Away of Rare and One-of-a-Kind Stuff contest, so check it out.

Here are the links for the other blogger-fans and their interview posts are so funny and creative, I feel so lucky to have been included amongst them:

Anna Reads


The Reading Zone

Stuck in YA Books

Book, Line and Sinker (with photos of the 5 Wonders of Pineville)

I’ll link to the other interviews as they go up. Enjoy!!




Filed under books, coolness, funny, pop culture, what I'm reading

5 responses to “Jessica Darling, Ten Years Later

  1. Great interview & thanks for linking to us! Hooray for the Sloppy Firsts Community!

    • emofalltrades

      I know! Thanks to Megan giving these interviews, I’ve discovered so many amazing cool bloggers who like books as much as (if not, somehow, more) than I do! Thanks for coming by, Sarah.

  2. great interview! i am a huge fan of the series, thought i’m closer to megan’s age than jessica’s. 🙂 i also scored an interview with megan and added a pictorial of marcus’s ‘pineville’ wonders–they do exist and i live about 15 miles from them.

    • emofalltrades

      Oh my goodness!! I love, love, love your interview, especially the photos of the 5 Wonders and your question about how Megan marketed her first book in the Age Before Social Media. Brilliant! I’ll put a link in my post and thanks so much for dropping by!

  3. Pingback: Today in #YAhistory: August 28, 2001 « Olivia Hennis

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