Thursday, January 7, 2016

Firsts - Laurie Elizabeth Flynn || Book Review

Title: Firsts
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Source: Review E-copy from the publisher
Purchase: Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time - the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy - so far. Her mother isn't home nearly enough to know about Mercedes' extracurricular activities, and her über-religious best friend, Angela, won't even say the word 'sex' until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn't bank on Angela's boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn - or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes' perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation - and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

If this book is already reminding you of Easy A, the 2010 movie by Sony Pictures, then you aren't that far off the mark. Firsts is a head-on look at slut-shaming, promiscuity and what it means to fit in during high school. Coupled with a large helping of friendship mishaps, broken hearts and a headstrong protagonist this is that I couldn't put down. It kept me up until 2am and it didn't make me regret the lack of sleep it caused.

Mercedes is a character that I simultaneously loved and hated. She was frustrating and, despite her less than innocent bedroom habits, almost naïve about the ramifications of her actions. But she also really tugged at my heartstrings; a major factor of this novel is why is she doing what she is? and when Mercedes' big secret was finally revealed, it was honestly very hard to read. I really wanted to give her a hug at that point. It didn't change my opinion that what she was doing, sleeping with other people's boyfriends, was wrong, but it did go a long way in explaining the reasoning behind it.

Of course, and anyone who has already read Firsts will understand, my least favourite character was Charlie. His actions were absolutely inexcusable and I wish they had been dealt with differently. Although he did get some comeuppance from his peers, I wanted there to have been some firmer action taken against him, after all, without giving too much away, his actions could have definitely been classed as criminal. This is one of my only real complaints about this book; but I would've loved to see him apologise.

This is such a quick read, but it covers so many issues that I have no doubt will resonate with many young people. It's a story of a lot of things, but ultimately I saw it as a story of second chances. And maybe also the definite perks of owning matching lingerie sets.