Title: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Genre: Teen & Young Adult – New Adult
Rating: 5 Stars
Pages: 320 (Hardback)
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.
I first came across Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn when looking through ‘bookstagram’ trying to find inspiration for my next read. As soon as I read the blurb I realized this was it, Firsts is the debut novel of author Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and it sure didn’t disappoint!
Looking into the book as a whole, my rating conclusion of 5 stars was easy to come to. Firsts had all the components of a great book, firstly it was unlike anything I had come across before due to it’s main protagonist having sex with virgin boys in order to make sure they give their girlfriends a good first time. Which is obviously the complete opposite of the standard boy meets girl or love triangle I often find featured in YA romances. Therefore this automatically set it onto a different level but additionally to this I also found myself sympathizing and relating with the main protagonist Mercedes. It is as this moment it is worth pointing out that Mercedes character has received rather mixed reviews, some really don’t like her character however for me I loved her. Mercedes is simply a misguided teen, she truly believed everything she was doing was for the best, she thought she was going to save these girls from experiencing the trauma that was her first time. It is evident how much she truly cared even about the girls who she did not know by how she makes the boyfriends promise to tell them how beautiful they are and how they must buy their favourite flowers. Not standard roses but ones which represent their girlfriends, ones which show they truly love them and listened to them to know what it is.
Some may call her ‘deluded’ but Mercedes is heart warming, looking at the novel as a whole you realize the extent she has been through from her experiences with Luke and her home life with her family. It isn’t hard to understand her thought process which pushed her into thinking teaching virgin boys how to have sex so they could make it a memorable perfect experience for their girlfriend was a good idea. Ultimately this novel is a journey in which she must find herself, Mercedes’ world comes crashing down but this is what is needed for her to realize what she is denying herself; true happiness.
In terms of form and language, I found Laurie Elizabeth’s Flynn’s writing easy to digest and fall into, I had no issue finding myself fully immersed into the story and as the book is written in First person through Mercedes perspective it allows us to view her character on a much deeper level as she experiences each aspect of the novel whilst divulging into her own personal thoughts and feelings.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the cover because you can learn a-lot about a book from looking into the cover art…– Personally I love it, I love the purple colored tones of the image as a whole and within the title. The background image of the bed is a nice addiction to the cover as it is obviously a pinnacle part of the story and the legs and crossed converse which feature also seem to be Mercedes’, the converse is her normal shoe choice. Looking into body language the slightly crossing of the feet can be construed as being a slightly shy or flirty gesture which is ultimately Mercedes’ character, she is almost a Jekyll and Hyde like character. Not because she has this murderous alter -ego but one side of her takes control and is confident whilst the other side is really rather shy and desperately wishes for a strong parental figure to help her along the way. It stands out, it’s eye catching and its bright.
Firsts to me was a roller coaster of emotions, I sympathized with Mercedes, I wanted to shout at her for pushing Zach away and putting herself in such positions but I also found heart warming and funny moments within her interactions with both Faye and Zach. The book is within a Young Adult Genre, I would say it really suits readers over the age of 14, based on its Sexual Content. If you are also a big fan of New Adult Novels, this is also a great read as it is unlike any other Young Adult Romance.
Firsts is more than just a romance, it delves into serious content through the character of Charlie and his bordering Abuse, he blackmail’s and terrifies the life out of Mercedes for his own personal gain, this element of the story adds tension and makes the book suspenseful as we itch to read faster to find out what will happen next. Firsts also considers teen sexuality and the impacts of their actions as well as issues such as bullying which Mercedes herself experiences towards the final chapters of the book.
There is so much going on throughout the 320 pages and because nobody likes a spoiler sue I will leave it there therefore I won’t reveal too much of the story! Just know that Firsts features romance, suspense, sexual tension, heart breaking moments as well as the loss and gain of friendship. 100% worth a read!
To find out more about Firsts and Laurie Elizabeth Flynn herself be sure to check out the following links;
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!