Second Helpings

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Before reading this book, you should probably clear your schedule.  I can’t tell you exactly how long to clear if for, that depends entirely on how fast you read.  You see, when McCafferty leaves you with a cliffhanger (the ending of Sloppy Firsts), she is going to make you wait.  You will have to make it through the first section of the book where Marcus only appears Voldemort style, referred to as “He Who Shall Remain Nameless.”  Then you’ll have to suffer through the games and missed opportunities.  In my case, this just makes me read faster, because I am simply not one for patience or anticipation.

As in Sloppy Firsts, I will strongly caution anyone who has issues with books about sex or drugs to stay away.  My enumeration of potentially offensive events dropped off severely in the later chapters because I started to think that anything that possibly could be done had been done and any swear that could have been uttered was, so I stopped trying to write in tinier and tinier letters to squeeze it all in my notebook. In case you need the blow-by-blow and not just my personal X rating…

Sex, Nudity, Dating – People have sex, lots of it, sometimes we are privy to the details.  People spend a lot of time wanting to have sex or otherwise being “horny” when they are not having sex.  One girl tries the whole “born again virgin” thing.  The issue of Jess’s virginity is raised quite frequently.  Because of her virginity, people sometimes call her a lesbian.  At one point Jess has a roommate whom she refers to as a porn queen.  This girl engages in various sexual acts.  Sexual acts mentioned throughout include, sex/screwing/banging, hand jobs, blow jobs, “slurping”, frottage, people’s hands roaming under various undergarments and masturbation.  Birth control is at least covered, there’s a whole sex ed class, with accompanying information (like the female condom).  STDs are regularly mentioned.  Jess worries that she was an accident, a hole in the condom, a missed pill, a misplaced diaphragm.  Jess finds a teacher at camp attractive.  The book has homosexual characters.  Necrophilia, porn, the Kama Sutra, pedophiliac priests, cockblocking and erotica are mentioned.  Someone is called a “choad.” Girls who are highly sexual active are referred to as hobags or skanks (or variations thereof).  Lesbianism is mentioned: in reference to Sappho; in looking like a “bull dyke” and as being a “muff bumper”.  A character has a lot of douche products.  Breasts, breast size, fake titties are all mentioned.  An adult, married character is pregnant and various pregnancy related things are mentioned; a breast pump is given to her at a baby shower.  A girl worked as an underage escort.
Profanity – “screw” used and conjugated, ” jackass,” “prick,” “hell,” “goddamn, damn/dammit,” “fuck” conjugated and in the form “clusterfuck,” “ass/asshole,” “suck,” “bitch,” “bullshit/shit,” “Jesus Christ,” “God,” “pussy” used in various forms, “bastard,” “whiggaz,” “crackas,” “towel head” used in reference to Middle Easterners.  The bird is flipped.
Death, Violence and Gore – Again, we’re reminded of Hope’s brother’s death from drug use and Jessica’s family’s loss of a baby due to SIDS.  There is the death of an elderly character (funeral included).  The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center occurs during this book.  A character’s father died of a heart attack (prior to this book).  Jess reads the obituaries and reads about death by lightning strike, lung cancer and drunk driver.  Suicide is mentioned in that teenage overdramatized way, but not in a serious way, although the method of suicide is twice listed: carbon monoxide poisoning, or jumping into a gorge.  There are a few fights between characters, with slapping or “bitch slapping” if you will.  A character is kicked in the balls.  Students call in bomb threats to school out of boredom.  A character says he’ll “get a gat” if people bother another character.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – There is absolutely underage drinking and drug use in this book.  G13 THC, which is extremely potent marijuana is mentioned.  Hope’s brother died from an overdose, but evidently he “shot up” and Marcus never did drugs like that, he just got high.  Several characters smoke or smoked.  At least one character used crack.  Jess’s mother pops Valium to deal with grief.  A character went to rehab.  Jess and another character take Ecstasy. Jess says if she needed an athletic scholarship she’d use performance enhancing drugs.
Frightening or Intense Things – Mostly what’s written above, although eating disorders do make an appearance.


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2 Responses to Second Helpings

  1. PLW says:

    Yes, but – given all those things you mentioned, should one read it or recommend it? Did you like it?

  2. Mrs.N says:

    If you have an audience that is okay with the content it is a fabulous look at high school angst. I have trouble slowing down when I’m reading the Jessica Darling series, so eager am I to find out what happens next.

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