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.

I love these new covers. I hope you do too.

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.


Yes! It’s true. I adapted SLOPPY FIRSTS for a world premiere this March 16th-18th at Round House Theater, recently lauded by the Washington Post as one of the area’s best and most ambitious regional theaters. This is the 16th Sarah Metzger Memorial play to be produced and presented by RH’S Teen Performance Program, an incredible year-round intensive that puts high school students totally in charge of running every aspect of the show. (Well, with input from adult mentors Iike me.)

I spent my entire childhood and adolescence involved in local theater, so my young and dramatic self is SO JEALOUS. My grown up self is beyond thrilled for this creative, collaborative opportunity to bring life to Jessica Darling, Marcus Flutie and the world of Pineville High in a whole new way.

Tickets are available RIGHT NOW. I’ll be at every performance. For sure.


In my previous post I told you all about YA for NJ and how my donation for the auction is a one-of-a-kind ARC of SLOPPY FIRSTS all marked up in my own handwriting with stories behind the story including the 100 percent honest truth about the origins of Marcus Flutie. That is a pretty awesome prize for a die-hard Jessica Darling fan. Or a pretty awesome present for the die-hard Jessica Darling fan in your life. Which is perfect timing since THE HOLIDAYS ARE FAST UPON US.

Yesterday I read about A GIRL AND HER ROOM, a series of portraits by photographer Rania Matar. I’m fascinated by photography as it relates to the study of anthropology and sociology and I’m obviously very invested in the inner worlds of teenage girls so yeah, I love the idea of this book and what I’ve seen of it so far. (I don’t own it yet but THE HOLIDAYS ARE FAST UPON US so **hint**hint** to any family members who might be reading this.) Anyway, so I tweeted about this book and one of my followers @roxie_heartless asked about my teenage bedroom and I promised I would find and post pictures.

Here they are:

Jessica Darling Is New Jersey…And So Am I

Me and coworker, Kohr’s Frozen Custard, Casino Pier, Seaside Heights, NJ, 1992.

“When you take a summer job in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, the self-proclaimed Home of Sunnin’ and Funnin’, it pretty much guarantees that you will have no time for either sun or fun.” –SLOPPY FIRSTS

If you’re at all familiar with my work, you know that I poked fun at “Sleazeside Heights” more than a decade before MTV made it a national pastime. But the jokes run deep, people. New Jersey–and its beach communities in particular–plays a huge role in making Jessica Darling who she is and who she wants to be. Why? Because growing up on the Jersey Shore shaped me into the person–and especially the writer–I am.  Continue reading Jessica Darling Is New Jersey…And So Am I

My SLOPPY FIRSTS Playlist (Inspired by Forever Young Adult)

I’m so flattered that the lovely ladies at FOREVER YOUNG ADULT chose SLOPPY FIRSTS as their book club pick for March! I mean, there are many, many books and only so many months in the year. I love that new readers are just discovering Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie (SLOPPY FIRSTS came out more than 10 years ago, people, when I was so convinced of the superiority of the Backstreet Boys that I was totally blind to J.Tim’s many multi-talented charms) and I appreciate Forever Young Adult’s positive propagandizing.

What’s more, they put together an awesome Jessica Darling playlist.  Now I ALWAYS listen to music when I write and have been known to listen to the same playlist over and over and over again as I work. So what better time to share my personal* and incomplete** soundtrack to the Jessica Darling series?

*Offered without explanation.

**Edited to avoid repeats with the 4YA list and also because it would be way too long otherwise. Continue reading My SLOPPY FIRSTS Playlist (Inspired by Forever Young Adult)