From mega-bestselling author Megan McCafferty—author of the beloved Jessica Darling series that The Wall Street Journal called “Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker”—comes a hilarious love letter to the magic and heartache of middle school friendship.
Sophie Dailey is NOT looking forward to starting middle school. For one thing, she doesn’t look like other kids. Instead of trendy tank tops, she wears high tech shirts that block UV rays. (Sun protection is serious business!) And she definitely doesn’t sound like other kids either. (She can’t say “holla” or “hot take” without making a weird face.) Needless to say, this is probably why her best friend, Ella, ditched her for Queen Bee Morgan.
Sophie is comfortable with who she is and doesn’t want to change. But she’s also pretty lonely without Ella. Even worse, Morgan seems intent on making seventh grade miserable for Sophie, and Ella doesn’t bat an eye at the bullying. Then a new girl moves in next door to Sophie. Kaytee Ray is everything Sophie is not: fashionable and super-confident.
Sophie can’t believe Kaytee wants to spend the last days of summer with her. Determined to keep Kaytee as a friend, Sophie lies about her social status, claiming to be besties with Morgan and Ella. As long as Kaytee attends Villa Academy—a private school on the other side of town—she’ll never find out her first friend in New Jersey is a loser.
But can any friendship built on lies survive seventh grade?
“McCafferty (the Jessica Darling series) effectively captures tween speak and the allure of social media while exposing its inauthenticity.”–Publisher’s Weekly
Twelve-year-old Ella has everything she needs to take seventh grade by storm. She’s still not 100% sure why cool, confident Morgan has chosen Ella to be her newest sidekick, but Ella is flattered by the attention, even if it means giving up some of the things she’s always loved, like fantasy novels . . . and her former best friend, Sophie. But life as Morgan’s best friend is trickier than Ella imagined. And the more demanding Morgan becomes, the more Ella starts to wonder if she made the right choice.
“With wit and more than a little hairspray, McCafferty dives into the 1990s with this snappily written self-empowerment novel set beneath the fluorescent lights of a suburban New Jersey mall.” – Publishers Weekly
New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.
The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans…
Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.
Thank you to Kelly Jensen at Book Riot for her gorgeous essay about what the Jessica Darling series meant to her growing up. This was so much more meaningful than the standard cut-and-paste-the-press-release book announcement. I cannot be happier that the 20th anniversary of the publication of SLOPPY FIRSTS will be commemorated with reprints of the entire Jessica Darling series by the wonderfully talented team at Wednesday Books.
The new edition of SLOPPY FIRSTS goes on sale May 4, 2021. SECOND HELPINGS launches on July 6th, 2021. The rest of the books will follow over the rest of the 20th Anniversary year. The whole series has been updated to reflect 2020 sensibilities, but the essence of what makes Jessica Darling special is unchanged. Oh! And there’s a beautiful forward written by blockbuster author, producer and the not-so-secret Mrs. Marcus Flutie, Rebecca Serle.
This reprint wouldn’t have happened without the enthusiastic support of my readers all these years. I cannot wait to introduce Jessica Darling, Marcus Flutie and the world of Pineville, New Jersey to a whole new audience.
Twelve-year-old Ella has everything she needs to take seventh grade by storm, from the perfect outfit to the perfect new best friend. She’s still not 100% sure why cool, confident Morgan has chosen Ella to be her newest sidekick, but Ella is flattered by the attention, even if it means giving up some of the things she’s always loved, like fantasy novels . . . and her former best friend, Sophie. Ella feels a little guilty about ditching Sophie, but middle school is no laughing matter, and Ella knows that it’ll be safer in popular Morgan’s shadow than by Sophie’s side.
But life as Morgan’s best friend is trickier than Ella imagined. Everything has to be perfect, from their “on brand” selfies to the videos they record of them singing. And the more demanding Morgan becomes, the more Ella starts to wonder if she made the right choice. But Sophie already has a new best friend, leaving Ella feeling more alone and out of place than ever.
So when Ella discovers a new activity that she’s really good at — a hopelessly dorky sport that Morgan has forbidden her from pursuing, Ella has to ask herself what matters more: popularity . . . or staying true to herself? But does she even know who she really is without loyal Sophie by her side?
“This current and relatable novel will resonate with middle school readers, especially those who have felt the pressure to create a perfect social media presence. A fine purchase for middle school collections needing more contemporary fiction around complicated friendships.”–School Library Journal
This announcement has been a very long time coming. Many, many thanks to Rebecca Serle and Dan Farah for your passion, creativity and tenacity. And to all the die-hard readers who’ve assembled dream casts for nearly 20 years: I hope we find the perfectly imperfect Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie too.
Introducing TRUE TO YOUR SELFIE, my new middle grade novel with Scholastic.
I love these timeless characters asking a very of-the-moment question: “Friends for life? Or friends for LIKES?” So excited to share this story with tweens and tweens at heart. On sale February 4, 2020 but pre-order any time!
Congratulations to the Newton High School (Elmhurst, NY) Pioneer Players for the first-ever public high school production of SLOPPY FIRSTS. I laughed! I cringed! I’d happily sit front row center again! If you’re part of a high school drama program and are interested in putting on SLOPPY FIRSTS, email megan[at]meganmccafferty[dot]com.
Join me for Princeton Public Library’s TEEN BOOK BASH, where I’ll be moderating a panel of six incredible authors (Claire Legrand, Emily X.R. Pan, Anica Mrose Rissi, Nisha Sharma, Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison). If you like listening to authors talk about books, this is definitely your jam.