When I Was YA: The Jessica Darling Series

Once upon a time, in the early 2000s, the YA genre was pretty limited. We had decades old Judy Blume books (which I am not knocking FYI), the saccharinely tragic love stories of Lurlene McDaniel (I never got to read them because they were always checked out) a few soapy series that put Gossip Girl to shame, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, (which wasn’t even shelved as YA at the time) and the magically pretentious works of Francesca Lia Block.

I read them all—except of McDaniel—with abandon, but I never saw myself on those pages. All of the teens were too worldly, too pretty, too troubled, too tragic etc. I never saw honestly rendered awkwardness, or anxiety, or anyone who ever seemed even a little bit real in those YA novels. That is, until I met the awesome Jessica Darling.

I recently started rereading these books and while, if I stumbled across them today there is a distinct chance that I wouldn’t like them (they’re kind of problematic…or like really problematic), I read them first at a time when I deeply connected with Jessica Darling. I mean I too had a best friend move away in high school, leaving me to form superficial connections with far inferior “social survival friends”. I also had a Marcus Flutie type dude who top up too much of my brain. But mostly I felt a kinship with Jess because like her, I overthink everything. In short the premise of the books was relatable AF.

The Jessica Darling series written by Megan McCafferty, (who’s also written the pretty interesting dystopian YA series Bumped/Thumped) introduces the world to Jessica Darling a clever, funny, moody, and definitely not always nice sixteen year old dealing with the devastation of her best friend moving away right in the middle of high school, the ups and downs of her feelings for her complicated first love, and her endlessly frustrating family.

I loved (and still love) Jessica because she’s real to me. She’s not “troubled”, but she is deeply flawed and tartly funny. Her problems are the same ones that many teens/young adults go through. It’s her approach to the world that makes her special rather than her circumstances. Her “adventures” are commonplace and everyday. Her friends and family are exaggerated in such an honest adolescent way which makes them hilarious and charming to the reader.

Very little in this series rings false which is why it’s such a powerful time machine for me. As a relic of the early 2000s it lacks the ubiquity of cellphones (Hope and Jessica email each other quite a lot, but very little if any cellphone action) we see today, that and references to Y2K really remind me of my teen years. But ultimately it’s the honesty and humor of the writing brings me back to when I was that age and that time in my life.

McCafferty treated her devoted readers to five installments that took Jessica from a teen in high school to a young adult dealing with her first job out of college. All the while she struggles with her family, friends, relationships and life in general in a way that while familiar is fun and engaging.

Today young adults and teens have a wide variety of unique characters and interesting impactful stories to choose from, but take it from one of your elders (me… I’m an old): READ THIS SERIES.

Seriously, go read… You, Yes You.


I did a bad, bad thing…

Waaaaaay back in June I began a “Book Buying Ban” that would end on my birthday (September 11th…Virgos amiright?!). All was going to plan, I was surviving on Book of the Month and Owlcrate and the fact that I work in a library and am literally surrounded by books all day everyday. I felt no reason spend my hard earned money on books I didn’t have time to read…

Then this week happened. Nothing particularly bad  happened, but I fell under a tough depressive episode and when that happens one of my coping methods is buying books. 

I look to books to take me away from myself when I get like this and when the books I have aren’t doing the job I find myself on Amazon with a cart full of books that spark the slightest interest, or in the middle of a Barnes & Noble arms loaded. 

I don’t do it often, but this week…well really the last few weeks…have been particularly tough. And well… this happened:

I broke my ban and bought a ton of books. I’m excited for the new additions to the family, but my wallet is sad.

Also, I know it’s no excuse, but my mental and emotional state have made it difficult to keep up with the blog, but I feel like I’m on an upswing so I should be back to posting regularly fairly soon!

Unboxing: Book of the Month Club

My August Book of the Month box came today!

Unfortunately there was no surprise extra this month BUT I am excited about the books!

The selection was pretty good this month. I ended up choosing the much anticipated YA novel Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert as my primary book.

But because I have no self-control, I chose Clockwork Dynasty as my extra book… I basically had to, it’s on LibraryReads top ten for August…

So yeah, it’s a mini update, but look at the pretty books!

An Overwhelmed Update…

Me… if I were an adorable stock photo.

Okay, so Monday feels like it was a million years ago.

I’m in the middle of a long stretch of uninterrupted workdays (no weekends for two weekends) so I’m a little behind on everything.

Some Quick Updates!

  • I finished reading Moby-Dick for the 33rd time! I don’t know why I can still read it and love it, I just can.
  • My Book of the Month Club box is on its way. So maybe an unboxing soon?
  • I’ll be participating in ARC August. Basically I’m drowning in advanced reader copies (ARCs) and so I’m going to join my fellow book bloggers (and booktubers) in prioritizing reading ARCs this month. I of course came to this decision AFTER I put together my TBR for August, but that’s why pencils have erasers, right?
  • I’m finally reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve been putting it off for a long time so I just decided to make it my non-ARC this month.

I think that’s it for now. Fingers crossed for a decent post on… Saturday? Probably Sunday.

A Slow Start…


Well, I overslept. I intended to be back at it by 8:00AM (four hours on four hours off) but that didn’t work out for me. Good ol’ Morpheus had other plans for your girl Katy. So now it’s likely that I won’t be getting started until noon today, which isn’t ideal, but what can you do?

Nothing but your best!

Processed with Rookie Cam

I’ll be kicking things back off with A Million Junes by Emily Henry. I read her first novel last year (The Love that Split the World) and mostly hated it. But I’m giving her a second shot because I love Magical Realism and if someone is willing to bring that flavor to the YA party, I’m willing to give them a second chance.

I’ll be back with another post when I officially start up again!


Hey there folks! I know I just posted a Newbie Book Blogger Tag post, and that I should space these things out, but I’m kind of bursting with excitement. There are so many wonderful bookish things on the horizon for me… and probably you too.

  • July Owlcrates are shipping this week! I finally treated myself to Owlcrate after two years of watching nearly everyone I follow on social media gush about the service. This month’s theme is ‘Wanderlust’ and based on hints, I have a strong hunch that the book is likely to be The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which is very exciting. It’s pretty much killing me to wait for it, because avoiding spoilers is something I am notoriously bad at… but I refuse to ruin the surprise.

Image result for owlcrate wanderlust

  • The 24 in 48 Readathon is this weekend! I have never had a schedule that lines up with the 24 in 48, but this time I actually have an entire free weekend to do it.  I’m busy putting together my most likely overly ambitious book list and thinking of what sort of caffeine I’m going to need to keep me going. I’ll be updating here, on Instagram, and on Litsy. If you’re interested you can still sign up here

  • I’m seeing Moby Dick at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago again next week. I mean… I saw it two years ago, and again three weeks ago (I wrote a review for The Northwest Herald) but it’s just so damned good that I couldn’t let it close without seeing it again. I LOVE Lookingglass, they do amazing stuff with adapting literature for the stage. I HIGHLY recommend checking them out if you live in the Chicagoland area.

Image result for moby dick lookingglass

  • I just got approved for an e-ARC of Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, which I will probably start reading as soon as I’m done writing this post.


  • And finally, the biggest most exciting–least bookish–highly anticipated thing is that Jodie Whittaker has been cast as the 13th Doctor on my beloved Doctor Who. My feminist heart is bursting with love over this announcement! I want to get in a TARDIS and travel to 2018 just so I can see her in action!

Image result for jodie whittaker doctor

I don’t know if this anticipation post is going to become a regular thing, or if it’s just a one off. I’m hoping to get into a rhythm of regular features and reviews mixed with more random fun posts.