Jessica Darling, our narrator, is someone I immediately identified with. She's intelligent, engaging, cynical, and sometimes crazy, which made for a hilarious and thought-provoking read. Her voice perfectly captures what it's like to be a teenager in high school, especially one from a small town, and I really enjoyed watching her slowly reevaluate her opinions and preconceived notions about her classmates and her town throughout the course of the book.
Before reading Sloppy Firsts all I knew about the story was that Marcus Flutie was practically everyone's book boyfriend. So imagine my surprise when he was introduced as a "dreg" and a "Krispy Kreme" - or a drug user with red dreads who was certainly not my type. Thankfully, Marcus evolved as a character, and managed to make me appreciate his unpredictability and intelligence, even if I'm still not quite sold on him.
The secondary characters in Sloppy Firsts are just as interesting as Jessica and Marcus, and I really enjoyed watching the "Clueless Crew" and other stereotypical, high school archetypes grow into something other than the labels they were given. High school relationships aren't the only facet that was explored, however; Jessica's parents are present, flaws and all, and equal time is devoted to exploring their relationship.
And can I just say how well McCafferty treated the topic of sexual relationships in high school? Instead of perpetuating the virgin/whore dichotomy that is seen way too much in YA fiction, sex was discussed in such a frank and open way - and given that this came out in 2000, that's pretty impressive.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sloppy Firsts. Although I just started this series, I have a feeling that it's going to be one of my new favourites.