Published by St Martin's Griffin on 05 January 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Place(s) Traveled To: Rancho Palos Verdes, California
First Line(s): Tonight, I’m doing Evan Brown’s girlfriend a favor.
FIRSTS is the debut novel of Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and is a book that doesn’t shy away from some tough topics. For one, FIRSTS talks a lot about sex. Not just talk about it but also shows characters having sex. Which isn’t an uncommon thing for teenagers to do (even if parents would like to pretend otherwise) but its not a topic that is commonly shown in YA books.
FIRSTS is a raw book with a heroine that isn’t always the most likable. She thinks that she’s doing a good thing by sleeping with other girls’s boyfriends for their first time but its really just a cover up to hide the pain of her past. That part of the story was hard for me because I really despise cheating in a book and even though Mercedes felt like she was helping she was really just helping these boys cheat. So I didn’t always like Mercedes or her choices but I did like how FIRSTS portrayed her as both smart and pretty because all too often it seems like a character, or even a person in real life, can be only one or the other.
What I liked about Mercedes was how real she was. This is a girl who wants people to think she has her act together but she’s really just struggling to hold on. She pushes the people away who want to get close to her and draws in those who only want to use her. She feels like if she controls how much people around her see then the less chance she’ll get hurt. But life doesn’t work that way its messy and complicated and sometimes you get hurt and just as you hurt those around you. And despite all her best intention Mercedes did gather a good group of friends around her, Angela and Fayer….and also Zach. Oh Zach. I adored that boy and I loved how he saw Mercedes for who she was and not who she tried to appear. It was all these secondary characters that made me fall in love with this story.
FIRSTS is a book that is raw and it doesn’t really hold anything back. It shows a side of growing up that many people want to ignore that teens have sex and that teens can be cruel. But it also shows how caring they can be and the struggles that they face. FIRSTS is a fast paced read that is really well written. Flynn has a gift with narration and even as I didn’t always like Mercedes I did like her voice. Laurie Elizabeth Flynn is definitely on my author watch list because I can not wait to see what story she brings into the world next. And if you haven’t read FIRSTS yet then get on it. Its a hard book to describe just how great it is but it is. Take this from a girl that usually avoids books with cheating like the plague and yet with FIRSTS I couldn’t get enough of this world.
Thanks to Tiff from Mostly YA Lit for her help in choosing these read-a-likes!