Title: Fourth Comings
Author: Megan McCafferty
Series: Jessica Darling
Previous Books in the Series:
1. Sloppy Firsts
2. Second Helpings
3. Charmed Thirds
Date Started: April 24
Date Finished: April 25
Format: Paperback from my shelf
At first it seems that she’s living the elusive New York City dream. She’s subletting an apartment with her best friend, Hope, working for a magazine that actually utilizes her psychology degree, and still deeply in love with Marcus Flutie, the charismatic addict-turned-Buddhist who first captivated her at sixteen.
Of course, reality is more complicated than dreamy clichés. She and Hope share bunk beds in the “Cupcake”—the girlie pastel bedroom normally occupied by twelve-year-old twins. Their Brooklyn neighborhood is better suited to “breeders,” and she and Hope split the rent with their promiscuous high school pal, Manda, and her “genderqueer boifriend.” Freelancing for an obscure journal can’t put a dent in Jessica’s student loans, so she’s eking out a living by babysitting her young niece and lamenting that she, unlike most of her friends, can’t postpone adulthood by going back to school. Yet it’s the ever-changing relationship with Marcus that leaves her most unsettled. At the ripe age of twenty-three, he’s just starting his freshman year at Princeton University. Is she ready to give up her imperfect yet invigorating post-college life just because her on-again/off-again soul mate asks her to… marry him?
Jessica has one week to respond to Marcus’s perplexing marriage proposal. During this time, she gains surprising wisdom from unexpected sources, including a popular talk show shrink, a drag queen named Royalle G. Biv, and yes, even her parents. But the most shocking confession concerns two people she thought had nothing to hide: Hope and Marcus. Will this knowledge inspire Jessica to give up a world of late-night literary soirees, art openings, and downtown drunken karaoke to move back to New Jersey and be with the one man who’s gripped her heart for years? Jessica ponders this and other life choices with her signature snark and hyper-intense insight, making it the most tumultuous and memorable week of her twenty-something life.
As much as I have loved books 1, 2 and even 3 of this series, I have to admit that four is a little bit out there. For one thing, it starts off weird. I thought for sure that we were getting things from Marcus’s POV and to find out that it’s actually Jessica’s POV as she writes a journal for Marcus kind of blew my mind. Once I got used to that idea, the next thing that is weird is Marcus and Jessica themselves. Apparently they aren’t happy together anymore and they both want different things from life. At first I’m a little bit miffed because here’s a couple that has literally fought to be together for over 600 pages by this point and they still can’t get their acts together? But then Marcus proposes and things get all turned upside down.
As with Charmed Thirds, I’m glad I read Fourth Comings now instead of when it originally came out. I get where Jessica is coming from. That post-graduation what the hell do I do with my life and degree now? phase is pretty much a given for most college grads. God knows I went through it until I got my part-time job a year and five months after I graduated. But to have that phase and then also try to figure out whether or not you want to marry the love of your life, when you don’t believe in marriage? I could not handle that. And despite the fact that I ship Marcus and Jessica together I kind of get why she said no.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. So as weird as this book was, I still think it was rather brilliant. It’s not Jessica really moaning about how life is unfair. She’s starting to realize that she has a lot of opportunities afforded to her and that might take her down some unknown paths. I’m curious to see where this leads her in book 5.
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