ARC Review: Firsts

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Publication Date: January 5th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: None
Format: e-PUB
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4 Stars
Buy it here: Amazon 
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.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Griffin for granting me access to this title in exchange for an honest review. 

The buzz surrounding this book has been very loud lately, so I had to read it for myself to see what all of the hype was about. I also heard that it was controversial, and it sure was. But it is the kind of controversial that needs to be discussed in today's society. 

Mercedes "Mercy" Ayres is a senior in high school specializing in helping girls have the perfect first time with their boyfriends. How does she achieve this? By sleeping with those boyfriends. She helps them get all the awkwardness out of the way so they can give their girlfriends a stress free romantic time. She is able to do this because she has an absentee mother that does not care what she does with her time. Mercy relies on absolute discretion so that nobody will get hurt. But we all know that not everyone will be keen on keeping this secret….

Firsts is the type of book that really made me think. I must say that I did not care for Mercedes at all. I understand that she went through a traumatic incident when she was younger which caused her to perform this service, but it does not fully excuse her. She lied to her so called best friend for over a year, and does not think that her actions will have consequences. For one, who keeps a diary of all of their sexual exploits under the same bed that she brings the guys in?! That is a disaster waiting to happen….

I did like Zach, her friend with benefits. He was so cute, but honestly I felt like he was too good for Mercedes. Trust is such a fragile thing because it can easily be broken but he kept on loving her despite the fact that she had hurt him. 

To me, Faye was the best part of the book. She was such a wonderful character. I loved her attitude about everything, and how badass she was. In YA we rarely see strong and positive female friendships so her interactions with Mercy were amazing. 

Now, on to the controversial aspects of Firsts. This is a book about sex. It's also a book about teenagers having sex and cheating on their significant others. Not everyone will like it, but unfortunately this is the reality of the world we live in today. Slut shaming was also prevalent here when the big event happened. I saw it coming a mile away, and even though it was predictable, I am happy about how it was written so that maybe some teenagers reading it will take note. Actions come with consequences, and they are not always good. 

Laurie's writing is wonderful and made the story feel so real. The teenage voices were also very realistic and relatable. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and the message that Laurie was trying to convey. The ending was a little too sweet for my tastes. It seemed like everything wrapped up a little too easily. Everyone seemed to get their happy ending. I wish there had been an epilogue that showed us what the characters were up to months later. We never really found out what happened to the villain of the story, and I think that would have been good to know. 

I really hope people use this book as a learning tool for life. Although it is fiction, events like these happen all too often, and it needs to be talked about. 

Firsts was a wonderful debut from Laurie and I hope to read more of her work in the future.

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