I finally finished the Jessica Darling series! How about I sum up the last book and then give some thoughts on the series as a whole?
In Perfect Fifths, Jessica literally runs into Marcus Flutie in the airport. The two have been broken up for several years and end up spending the day (and night) catching up with one another. They predictably end up falling for one another all over again (if they ever fell out of love with one another, that is) and Ms. Jessica gets her happy ending!
The plot of this book was pretty much a romantic comedy movie and that is all fine and well. I was happy to see Jessica and Marcus growing up and communicating well. And of course, happy endings=nice.
What drove me crazy about this book was the writing style. McCafferty departs from the journal style she had used in the previous four books and gets all over the place here. We’re in Jessica’s head for a bit, then Marcus’s (all in third person). Then we get a whole bunch of dialogue without dialogue markers. If you are anything like me, in this part you have no idea who is saying what most of the time and have to count back to the last statement where it is obvious who is talking to figure out who is saying what 10 lines on. Then there are passed notes in haiku form. Which is just obnoxious and pretentious (I guess that is sort of Jessica Darling though). Then things settle back down in the end (third person again, if I remember correctly) and I was able to finally, finally enjoy the Jessica-Marcus thing happening.
I suppose a highlight for some readers might be that you get a peak into Marcus’s thoughts in this book. He has always been pretty enigmatic, so I guess in a way it was like, thank you Marcus for actually explaining what you are thinking, you sphinxy-minx, you. At the same time, though, I wasn’t all that in love with Marcus anymore. Sorry, Marcus Flutie, but you just seem to be overly analytical like Jessica and ugh, I think I prefer men who aren’t Jessica Darling.
This book gets a solid meh from me. I read it quickly and got into the ending. I liked the updates on everybody’s lives. (Who’d have thunk that Sarah and Scotty would be on baby number three at this point?) But the haiku and unmarked dialogue and the Marcus Flutie let-down left this one right in the middle for me. Read it to finish out the series and get all your loose ends tied up, but other than that? Meh.
As for the Jessica Darling series as a whole, I’m a bit disappointed. The books go downhill as the series progresses. There is much to enjoy about the books, as the writing is good and Jessica is usually pretty relatable. But the Jessica that I loved in the first book doesn’t age gracefully. And the more I think about Jessica, the more her pretentiousness annoys me. She likes to namedrop philosophers and is dead-set on Columbia because dear God, state university isn’t good enough for a smart kid like her. I would recommend this series, but maybe just the first two books. This is not a series that had me begging for more (after book one that is), but I enjoyed the characters enough to want to find out what happened to them… eventually.
Have you finished the Jessica Darling series? Would you recommend it?
I read/reviewed this book in conjunction with the Series Catch-Up 2012.