Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Perfect Fifths" by Megan McCafferty

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...

I'd read the first four books about Jessica Darling and her life in high school/college, and while I enjoyed them, I wasn't really sure I wanted to read this last book. It's been quite a while since I read the fourth book, and if my memory serves correctly, I wasn't all that into it; it felt a bit tired, like we'd been there and done that. However, I thought I owed it to myself to at least attempt to finish the series, as so many authors these days seem to keep them going and going and going... sort of like the Energizer Bunny, and not always in a good way.

Imagine my very pleasant surprise at finding a much more mature Jessica literally running into the love of her life, Marcus Flutie - in the middle of an airport no less. Jessica has been working almost nonstop with her teen girls writing project, and while she still finds the work rewarding, she's grown very, very tired of life on the road. Adding to her stress is the medical crisis of one of her former proteges, one of the only ones she really got to know. Sick to death with worry, weary beyond her years, and trying to make her flight to officiate at her best friend's wedding, she slams right into Marcus, knocking them both for the proverbial loop.

Marcus has realized how much he is not over Jessica, something he knows the minute he hears her name on the intercom. After all, it doesn't necessarily have to be his Jessica; there's the porn star that shares her name, after all. He's done his best to get on with his life, but it hasn't been easy. And then Jessica runs smack into him, and all those old feelings come back to the surface - and fast.

This is a very different book than the others in the series, as all the action takes place in about 24 hours. And it was fun to read about the old "gang" from the series, too, almost like hitting a high school reunion (but in a good way, with me not having to worry about what they'll think of me, of what I look like now, etc). This entry is also much more mature than the others. Both Jessica and Marcus actually seem like adults now, and they both show their vulnerable side, a very adult thing to do. I liked the repartee between them, and I loved that we finally got to see into Marcus's mind this time; he's a lot more "normal" than he lets on, and it turns out he's a lot more sensitive, too.

Of course I was hoping for a happy ending, but what kind of reviewer would I be if I told you what happens? (the very worst kind, I think!) If you've been following the saga that is Jessica Darling's life, you'll be glad you picked this up. Even better is that this book can stand on its own; it's very universal in its themes of love and friendship and regret and hope. A most satisfying conclusion to this teen series.

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