Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Review- Firsts (Laurie Elizabeth Flynn)



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.


My Review 

Firsts is a difficult novel to review. While I went into this expecting something light (think along the lines of Easy A with Emma Stone), it actually presented some hard to swallow topics. The writing itself was god enough to keep me reading, and the story was ‘entertaining’ for lack of a better word.

The idea of the book seemed a little far-fetched when I first read the synopsis, but the more I read the more I could see how a young person may get themselves into this type of situation. I’m not saying that it’s a common occurrence in today’s youth (although what the hell do I know, really) but I feel that many teens, male and female develop warped views of sex and sexuality. 

"Virginity is supposed to be something a girl gives up only when she is ready and feels comfortable, something a girl discusses at length with her friends and flip-flops over a million times in her mind before actually doing it. A guy is expected to be born ready."
- Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Firsts)

Now Mercedes, didn’t exactly go about things the right way. The issue I have with what she did, is not that she was having sex (or even the fact that she was doing it with other people’s boyfriends- although I highly frown upon that), I mean at least she was practicing safe sex…right? The problem in question is that she only thought she was doing it for herself, when really it was an escape, just like alcoholics use booze in attempt to gain control over an aspect of their life, Mercedes used sex. The truth is, she really had no control over it, and she was doing it for all the wrong reasons despite telling herself differently. Add to the fact that teen boys can’t keep their mouth shut after they get laid and you have a whole range of problems ahead.

The doorbell rings and I sink into a heap on the carpet. With any luck, whoever is down there will just go away.  But I’m just starting to think nothing goes away, no matter how deep you try to bury it. 
- Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Firsts)

In contrast to the heavy topic and the drama inevitably surrounding Mercedes once the shit hit the fan (because obviously it’s going to… no spoiler here), some really important themes around friendship and relationships are presented. Not just romantic relationships either, Mercedes and her mum’s tumultuous relationship plays an important part in many of Mercedes decisions, along with her lack of a father figure. 

Overall, this is an eye opening book. In a way it teaches us to be responsible for our own happiness, and that seeking solace through other means rather than facing the real issue is the equivalent to putting a band aid on a severed limb. 

My rating: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. I remember when I finished Firsts, I had such mixed feelings about it. In the beginning I liked Mercedes, she seemed strong, fierce even, almost as if she completely had things in control. Then we see how broken she really was, which wasn't the problem but it definitely went downhill for me. Some scenes seemed so far-fetched, I mean completely unrealistic, (maybe they could've happened, who knows with kids these days lol) but idk, I felt myself becoming disconnected with the story. I did end up still enjoying it though. I thought whatshisface was so cute, I adored how much he really liked her. Then she kept pushing him away and I kind of wanted to strangle her lmao. I do agree, this is a great novel that showcases friendship and self-discovery. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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