Please note: Perfect Fifths is the final book in a five-book series. Spoilers will follow!
I know I’ve stumbled across a winning series when I fall just as in love with someone as another character does.
And in the final book of a decade’s worth of pushing, pulling, love and lust, I’m absolutely as in love with Marcus Flutie as Jessica Darling, our winning and caustic protagonist. Perfect Fifths didn’t disappoint me, the oh-so-desperately in love, and though I’m sad to say goodbye to one of my favorite series ever, everything I wanted to be resolved . . . was. Happily.
In the three years since Jess turned down Marcus’s proposal, the two have gone on to live very different lives — apart. Jess travels around the country with a non-profit program she helped develop and implement, and Marcus is set to graduate from Princeton before he goes on to graduate school. As Jess is barreling through Newark Liberty International Airport on her way to a wedding, she has a run-in — literally — with Marcus, her first and only love, and what follows are their conversations, recollections and reconnections over the span of just eighteen hours.
The most obvious twist in Megan McCafferty’s final book in the Jessica Darling series is that Jess is no longer our narrator. Now told in third person, we can get inside the heads of everyone — even Marcus, the eternally confusing, elusive and irresistable “hero” of the series. Getting a glimpse at what he’s been experiencing was really interesting, and I absolutely loved learning about his sweaty-palmed nervousness — even at 26 — around Jessica. Learning what he’s been up to the past three years, particularly concerning his half-hearted attempts at romance, was great. And made me heart him all the more.
Basically, I really felt something while reading this — and that doesn’t happen as often as I wish it would. Every emotion that I imagine I would feel running into my first love was right there, laid bare on the pages — which I turned as quickly as I could, desperate to make sure everything was going to turn out all right. References to early parts of the relationship and inside jokes were so fun to see, and I smiled as much as Jess probably would realizing Marcus remembered. I was also stoked to see one of my favorite lines from the series reappear in the final book, followed by the closure I’d been hoping for:
. . . I might never be able to forgive you for all the girls who came before me, nor myself for all the men who would come after you.
Though I know many in the reading community had decidedly mixed — or negative — takes on this one, I can’t honestly say I was disappointed in any sense. Anyone could see Jessica and Marcus belonged together, and it was all a matter of timing and patience. Marcus’s ability to wait for Jess, even when he wasn’t entirely sure she would come back, was a serious testament to his love for her. And the electricity crackling between the two of them was palpable, making even my heart beat a little faster!
And as I was finishing Perfect Fifths around 2 a.m., we suddenly lost electricity at my house. When my overhead reading lamp clicked off, plunging me into darkness, I barely hesitated before fumbling around to find and turn on my cell phone — and then proceeded to hold the eery blue light up to the pages as I turned them frantically. I had to hit the keypad every thirty seconds or so to keep my only light from being extinguished again, but it didn’t matter. That’s how addictive these books were for me — like the best kind of literary drug. After finishing Fourth Comings, it took my superhuman restraint not to devour this one whole — but I saved it, wanting to savor every moment.
And savor I did. If “my thoughts create my world” (another of my absolute favorite quotes from the series), I’ll continue to think about this one for a long, long time!
4.5 out of 5!