06 November 2007

Diminishing Returns

Whoosh! Did you hear that? That's the sound of my home Internet connection actually doing what it's supposed to. After a few frustrating days, I finally got hold of a tech at Verizon and my browser no longer freezes every 15 seconds. Life is good!

Anyway, last night I finished the fourth book in Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series, FOURTH COMINGS. The series follows Jessica from high school, in the first and second books, through college at Columbia University in the third and in this book through life as a recent graduate in New York City. I expected to love and identify with this, being in similar shoes... but I didn't. I didn't even want to read it in one sitting like I did with CHARMED THIRDS.

I think that for me, my enjoyment of the books is related to where I am with regards to Jessica Darling. I read the first two books in 2003 as a freshman in college, and if I didn't look back on high school incredibly fondly, I had the nostalgia factor at least. But I didn't identify with Jessica as a fellow (if fictional) recent graduate at all. There's a scene in FOURTH COMINGS where Jessica goes to a job interview and, just when she thinks it's going well, completely sabotages herself. I saw myself in that scene, I sympathized, I thought it was done well--but there wasn't enough of that for me in this book. (Part of that has to do with the romantic storyline, which seemed believable except for the way Jessica acted in it.)

Of course, I'm not the target audience for FOURTH COMINGS, and I can definitely see how a middle- or even high-school reader would read about her life in New York and find a lot of meaning or inspiration in it. I swear I'm not just jealous of her incredibly cheap rent in the book. But I wouldn't recommend this to someone going through a similar chapter in her or his life--the humor is done extremely well, but this book just didn't speak to me in the way I was hoping it would.

So tell me, dear readers, what books do you most identify with right now?

Book cover image: Books-A-Million


Emily said...

i just thought that the 4th book (and the 3rd for that matter) totally lost the sparkle of the first two, lost the connection with reality, and got a little trashy, in a bad way. all the sex talk for me was really badly done, and marcus is a noncharacter, and jessica is sort of unlikable, and hope in person didn't live up to the hope of letters/IMs/phone calls in the previous books. disappointing, but i am sure if there's a 5th one i'll still preorder it on amazon. *sigh*

Ellen said...

you are exactly right -- both Marcus and Hope are kind of disappointing when we find out they are real people with real foibles. Well, Marcus we know is trouble, but he's a glamorized trouble-maker, which is way more interesting. Maybe it's easier to see when you read them back to back the way Book 1 Marcus became Book 4 Marcus, but give me a new Gossip Girl book any day.