Second Helpings Book Poster Image

Second Helpings



Readers will devour fun, surprisingly rich sequel.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Not applicable

Lots of sex talk, including an oversexed roommate, characters for whom sex "doesn't seem to mean anything," and the main character (who shares the name of a porn star) ultimately loses her virginity.


Lots of naughty talk


The narrator mentions products such as Cap'n Crunch and Baby Ruth.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking; talk of a character who died of an overdose and another in recovery; Jessica takes Ecstacy at a party.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book contains plenty of raunchy language and mature sexual material, including Jessica Darling's "lust" for her writing teacher, heavy public displays of affection at school from a class couple, and the narrator's own first time.

What's the story?

After a summer writing camp, Jessica Darling returns to her high school with a new goal: to free herself from her New Jersey suburb and attend college at New York City's Columbia University. But first she has to survive a senior year seeing Marcus, her ex-love, fake popular girls, and a surprising breakup. She's also censored by the school administration for a controversial editorial, and must face the release of a fictional book written by an undercover student and based on her school (including a character very much like her). The events of Sept. 11, 2001, and parental pressure even threaten her big-city dream. Will Jessica be brave enough to go after what she wants?

Is it any good?


Readers who didn't catch Jessica Darling in her debut (Sloppy Firsts) may have trouble catching up here, but they still will find this book a fast, fun read. It also imparts an important message about listening "to your inner voice when it speaks up." It's easy to relate to funny, smart Jessica, whose list and emails to her best friend pack personality into her senior year confessional. Readers may not believe her '80s fascination, but they will enjoy her self-deprecation, and her smart insights about high school life and growing up. Other characters, while often stereotypical (the jerky jock, the shallow popular girls), add humor and prove what "an outsider among the insiders" she truly is.

The plotting is straightforward, and careful readers should be able to guess what happen to star-crossed Jessica and Marcus, where she will go to school -- and even who is writing the snarky gossip column. But readers will still enjoy cheering her on along the way.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the sexual attitudes presented, and how they match up with your teen's point of view. Does it seem like a rare thing to be a virgin while a senior in high school, as Jessica is? She discusses the pros and cons of abstinence-only education with other classmates. What's your opinion?

Book details

Author:Megan McCafferty
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Three Rivers Press
Publication date:April 22, 2003
Number of pages:368
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17

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Adult Written byjess7756 February 4, 2009

this book is awesome!!!!!!!

this book is an awesome book... it basically tells life as it is... theres nothing irrelevant in this book that a teen shouldnt know... it is pretty much a part of life that almost every girl goes through... and boys as well... i recommend this book to anybody that is mature enough to understand what life is all about in the real world... in the eyes of a girl...
Teen, 17 years old Written bystarinatstars03 February 26, 2010


Jessica Darling is just your average teenager, well besides her ivy league smartness. I think that McCafferty deals with a lot of real teen issues that are happening today. I think it would be beneficial for all teens to read this. And whether parents would like to admit it or not, these things are happening at ages as young as 11 or 12. I recommend this for readers thirteen and up, but not because of the minor drug use or the profanity, or even the sexual mentions. The reason i picked the age 13 and up is simply because i think that some of McCafferty's humor would be wasted and would go over some childrens heads. (Note: I'm not saying all because there are some very sophisticated pre-teens out there.)
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byZarashen September 21, 2010

Perfect for teens

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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