July 6, 2021
Macmillan Young Listeners
Blurb: Jessica Darling is in her senior year of high school, and things can’t seem to get worse: Her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continues to be a distraction she doesn’t need. Not to mention her parents won’t get off her back about choosing a college, and her older sister’s pregnancy is causing quite a bit of drama in the Darling household.
The second audiobook in Megan McCafferty’s critically acclaimed Jessica Darling series is fun, irreverent, and shows that being a teenager is never easy (or boring).
At the beginning of the month, I reviewed Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty (see my review) as part of the 20th year celebration of the publishing of the novel. As I was wandering around Netgalley last week as I unfortunately frequently do, I saw that Second Helpings, the second in the Jessica Darling series, was an available audiobook. Woot!
My first impression of Second Helpings is that there are some books that are just meant to be audiobooks and Second Helpings is one. Megan McCafferty’s writing is frequently funny and there’s something about hearing it read to you, dramatized, that really brings it to life. Katie Schorr is good. I can’t say that she does all of the voices wonderfully, but she is sincerely great at bringing Jessica Darling to life. And I love what she did with nasally Sara “OMG!”.
Second Helpings starts with Jessica attending SPECIAL, a lab for artistic students, where Jessica is taking a creative writing course. She falls in love with the teacher, who happens to be gay, much like her first love, Paul. Coincidentally she meets Paul when she goes on a field trip and he convinces her that Columbia is the school to go to. She’s enamored and set on applying. Even her teacher, who has now, via an accident, read her actual diaries, agrees that she has talent and should go to Columbia. But then 9/11 happens and Jessica is afraid to go to NYC much less deal with her parents who already have an NYC phobia even before 9/11.
We return to Pine Valley High with Jessica and an entire semester of happenings. During this year, Jessica tries new things, opens up her adventures, visits her wonderfully eccentric 90-year old grandmother, and spars with Marcus Flutie who she, and we, have never given up on.
Through the year, Jessica learns new things about herself, good and bad, and things about the people around her. This is sincerely a coming-of-age story of the best possible variety. There are lots of laughs, some tears, and lots to think about.
Second Helpings makes a great audiobook.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies