When Readers first met Jessica Darling in Megan McCafferty’s novel “Sloppy Firsts” she was in the middle of her high school career and reeling from her best friends sudden move. Through the series Jessica Darling or J.D. Moves on from high school and into college. In this final installment “Perfect Fifths” J.D is a 26 year old professional who is trying to find her way through life as an adult. J.D’s life is drastically different than it was in the first installment but she maintains her cutting wit and sarcastic and angsty charm.
Megan McCafferty certainly has a knack for pulling the reader in and making them feel for the character. It is what made Jessica Darling, in all her sarcastic and angst-ridden glory, so lovable. Part of the charm to the entire series was the diary format in which it was written, sadly Perfect fifths fails to carry on with the format that made Jessica Darling so darling.
The omniscient narrator is a bit odd for the series and fails to flow as well as the previous books did, but readers are still invited into the minds of Jessica and her old flame; Marcus Flutie. What is glaringly missing is the shenanigans of her high school friends. They played a large part in making the first three books worth reading, but McCafferty’s decision to omit them, for the most part, from the final installment was a brilliant decision. While their characters are missed in terms of real action it gives a nod to J.D’s growth since her high school days as an angst-filled track star and aspiring journalist.
Jessica is still spunky, Marcus is still mysteriously wonderful and the relationship between the two still remains complex and intriguing. Those who fell desperately in love with Jessica and Marcus will not be disappointed. “Perfect Fifths” puts the final touches on the relationship that has dragged on since high school.
McCafferty, while she wrote an endearing novel, made one writing decision that will likely haunt her and readers for the rest of their collective days; a haiku/stream of conscience chapter. While McCafferty may have been attempting to try something new it is odd and out of the ordinary and will make most readers look at the book sideways. It’s only a small misstep on McCafferty’s part and it is not one that ruins the novel, it simply adds nothing to it.
In short “Perfect Fifths” is a must read for those who fell in love with J.D and Marcus all those years ago. It ties together the loose ends readers have been hanging to and lays to rest the saga of not-so darling, Jessica Darling.