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January 11, 2016

Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Title: Firsts
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: January 5, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Source: We both received copies on Netgalley from St. Martin's Press! Thanks to them. 
*Audris and I are doing a joint review of this book since we both received an e-ARC.*
Pages: 320
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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 absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-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 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.

This was a total let down, and I honestly had such high hopes. I was expecting some sexy times, some serious times, and some great characters. Instead I got none of that and a whole lot of boring. I found the main character, Mercedes, to be rather frustrating. She sleeps with these guys to help them give their girlfriends the perfect night, the perfect night she never got. To me this is doing more harm than good. I think most girls would rather their first time be special, even if it's awkward as well, than having your boyfriend essentially cheat on you to make it perfect. Nope. That's just not how I roll. So you think, well she's obviously also doing it because she enjoys it. Well, yeah, but she's in this inner turmoil because she feels guilty about how many guys she's sleeping with, but she keeps doing it because she's "helping" these couples. How frustrating is that?!

The pacing of the book was also a problem to me. I was halfway through and I still felt like nothing had really happened. It all got a little too repetitive and I had no idea where the story was going.

By the halfway point I was also totally uninvested in any of the characters. I didn't care what was going to happen next. If this had been a thriller or an action book, and the lives of the characters were in play, I wouldn't have cared if any of them died. Especially not the main character. She wasn't relatable and I didn't understand her choices at all. There are some things that happen in the story where she comes off as a gullible person but in the back of her mind she knows what's really going on and she just doesn't want to accept it. Those were the moments that probably bothered me the most. You can't be that oblivious to what's happening.

The romance is so uninteresting. Mercedes is kind of stuck in between two love interests but she's wishywashy about both of them. There are several time where she says "I don't know if I'm more mad that so and so is paying attention to so and so or vice versa". I hate that she has Zach, her friend who cares deeply for her, in this uncertainty. She holds him at a distance but doesn't want anyone else to be interested in him.

In the end we know there's going to be a fallout, but what I wasn't expecting is what her friends do for her. It's like covering one disastrous choice with another equally disastrous one. Why??? That's the only thing I can ask at this moment. Why did this happen? Why did I read this? Why can't these characters make better choices?

The very, very, VERY end had some redeeming factors for me. I did start caring for Mercedes a bit and I was kind of happy for her. This wasn’t enough to take it up to many stars, but it brought it back from a 1 star. 

I wasn't planning on picking this book up when I did. Audris was reading it and I could tell that she wasn't really a fan of it so I knew that I had to pick it up so I could read it along with her and see what she was talking about with my own eyes. I agreed with basically everything she had been texting me the last few days. I thought the main character was extremely annoying. It was hard to read in her point of view because there wasn't much I liked about her. Also, the plot wasn't really that interesting. As you can probably tell from the synopsis, this book gets repetitive. It's the same thing, five, six, seven times in a row. Same thing, different guy. It got frustrating after a while.

While I was reading, I wasn't really sure what my final rating would be but I knew it wouldn't be the highest. However, I did end up giving this book a higher rating than I thought I would when I began reading. One thing I did enjoy was the end and although I had tons of issues with out main character, I am hoping for the best for Mercedes. I know I couldn't stand her during the majority of the book but I did like her at the *very* end. Overall, I was expecting a lot more from this book. I was really looking forward to reading this but it just fell flat for me. Basically, I agree with everything Audris said. Our opinions were a total match for this one! 

Unfortunately, this one fell flat for us. Have you read it? If so, what were your thoughts? Are you going to be reading it? Let us know!



    I have been feeling like such a black sheep because literally everyone has been praising this book, and I just didn't like it at all. :(

    I was actually really bummed out after reading this book because it had a lot of promise. I just felt like it was so hard to see Mercedes, a once strong girl, crumble and fall like she did. I also had a lot of issues with the Charlie thing because I felt like Flynn missed a really great opportunity to teach teens about the legalities of it.

    1. SAME! I felt like I didn't read the same book everyone else read. There was so much potential and it just all went terribly wrong to me.