secondhelp.jpg How telling is it that although I'm currently trying to read Stendhal's The Red and the Black, I've read two less-than-Stendhal books to keep the mind going? (Good in Bed, The Club Dumas) And I am excited that Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty went on sale this week? Second Helpings is the sequel to Sloppy Firsts, about this brainy New Jersey high schooler, Jessica Darling. The writing's a little precious and sometimes tries too hard to be trendy and sometimes it seems like a book for the model teenager (A-student, athlete, etc), but it becomes subverted as Jessica goes through the usual teen trials (boys, catty girls). Jessica doesn't take herself too seriously even though she's miserable at times, and Megan McCafferty injects such a great tone and spirit into the book. I totally identified with the idea that smart girls do get dizzy over the usual things, and for that, I don't feel silly that it's a book aimed at teenage girls.

Megan McCafferty's website. She's speaking at the Astor Place Barnes & Noble on May 21. I'll be there with the teenage girls. Yeah, now you dudes are paying attention.