Jessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection

Megan McCafferty, Author
Megan McCafferty. Little, Brown/Poppy, $17 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-24499-2
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013
Release date: 09/03/2013
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In this breathless prequel to the Jessica Darling series, the self-described “very witty, medium pretty, and a little bit zitty” protagonist starts seventh grade. Armed with extremely limited advice from her popular older sister (such as “Wear something different every day”), Jessica interprets these vague rules with some success. She befriends a group of girls determined to be popular and (technically) makes the cheer team, but Jessica doesn’t feel at ease with the course of her new life, especially when she and her suddenly beautiful best friend have a serious fight. Or when making the cheer team means dressing up as the school mascot, Mighty the Seagull. It isn’t difficult to pinpoint the book’s theme (Jessica’s woodshop teacher sings “Whoooooo are you?” when the seventh-grader wears a vintage The Who T-shirt on the first day of class) or predict how Jessica will change and grow. But readers meeting Jessica for the first time will be charmed by this authentic and funny girl who makes well-tread territory feel as new as a pair of first-day-of-school sneakers. Ages 10–up. Agent: Heather Schroder, ICM. (Sept.)
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