Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Review: Perfect Fifths, Megan McCafferty

Perfect Fifths
Megan McCafferty

Official Summary:

Old flames are reignited in the fifth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series.

Captivated readers have followed Jessica through every step and misstep: from her life as a tormented, tart-tongued teenager to her years as a college grad stumbling toward adulthood. Now a young professional in her mid-twenties, Jess is off to a Caribbean wedding. As she rushes to her gate at the airport, she literally runs into her former boyfriend, Marcus Flutie. It’s the first time she's seen him since she reluctantly turned down his marriage proposal three years earlier–and emotions run high.

Marcus and Jessica have both changed dramatically, yet their connection feels as familiar as ever. Is their reunion just a fluke or has fate orchestrated this collision of their lives once again?

Told partly from Marcus’s point of view, Perfect Fifths finally lets readers inside the mind of the one person who’s both troubled and titillated Jessica Darling for years. Expect nothing less than the satisfying conclusion fans have been waiting for, one perfect in its imperfection. . . .

What the Pros Say:

PW: McCafferty writes strong characters with rich, believable inner lives, but the attempts at formal cuteness don't allow the book to properly flourish.

What I Say:

I have to preface this by saying that I was an enormous fan of the first and second books. I actually picked up Second Helpings first, because I'd bypassed the two books so many times in the bookstore that I was sure I wouldn't like them. I was just looking for another book to top off my stack, and Second Helpings fit the bill. But by the time I was finished with the last page, I was already running out the door to get Sloppy Firsts from the bookstore, unable to wait until the checked out copy was returned to the library to rewind and read the beginnings of Jess and Marcus's adventures.

I loved those books. Devoured them. Could probably have quoted from them. I felt like Jess was me, and, like every other fan of the series, wished for a Marcus of my own. But I've got to say that the third and fourth books just didn't quite work for me. I wanted Jess to have matured more, or maybe I wanted her to have matured less. The constant references to the first two books seemed jarring--they pulled me out of Jessica's adult life and felt like a rehash of the first two books. I know that the third and fourth books have their fans, I just wasn't one of them.

So I was slightly dubious about this last book in the Jessica Darling series. Not dubious enough to keep me from racing out to get it the day it came out, but definitely slightly doubtful. Luckily, I think this one finally lived up to my expectations. Maybe it's that I'm a little bit older, maybe it's just that this one was a bit more my style, but I really think that Perfect Fifths provided the "perfect" ending for the series.

One of the big things that made that possible was the departure from the diary style and the foray into a variety of interesting formats to get across the reunion between Jessica and Marcus. Then too, the going back over of old events seemed somehow much fresher and more organic; wouldn't two long lost lovers rehash their past upon meeting again, after all? I've got to say that this is definitely my favorite since the first two, and all fans should give it a try.

That said, if you haven't been a fan of the series before, I would definitely go back and start at the beginning--I have a feeling that this book would be much less enjoyable without a working understanding of the trials and tribulations that Marcus and Jessica have gone through in their relationship to get up to this point.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked the third one (I didn't know it was in a series), so I'll try to get around to this one!