20 January 2016

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Series: No
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 5th 2016
Source: Bought

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.

First only made it onto my radar towards the end of last year, but as soon as I read the synopsis I knew I HAD to read it. A YA book that doesn't shy away from sex? Sign me up, please! Firsts follows seventeen year old Mercedes who helps virgins give their girlfriends the perfect first time - because it was something she was denied. Only the people Mercedes has helped know about her secret. She's managed to keep it from her absentee mother and her best friend Angela. But what Mercedes didn't expect was Angela's boyfriend to find out about her secret and demand a turn. She also didn't expect her "Wednesday friend" Zach to fall for her for who she is, and not what she can do.

To begin with, I wasn't a fan of Mercedes. I didn't agree with what she was doing as technically, it's still cheating. But, as the book went on, I began to understand why Mercedes does what she does for guys, and honestly, she believes what she's doing is right. Because of what happened to her during her first time, she wants to make sure that no one experiences sex for the first time like she did, and she wants to make sure that the guys give their girlfriends an amazing experience to remember. The other reason I ended up really liking Mercedes is because of how flawed she is. Her flaws made her seem like a real person I could relate to. Mercedes has made a lot of bad decisions, but that's what makes her human and that's what made me really like her character.

A YA storyline that doesn't shy away from sex was refreshing. Sex is a big part of growing up, so I don't understand why it's so taboo and hush hush when it comes to YA. So I really did find this storyline refreshing. Mercedes is sexually active, big deal! It was actually really nice to read about a character who is sexually active. The one thing that kind of ruined that for me was the fact that she hid behind her friends religion so that no one would find out what she was doing. She was promoting herself as a nun basically so that people wouldn't judge her. That's the only major thing I had to pick with this book.

Mercedes best friend Angela is a super religious character, but the one thing I loved was that she never came across super preachy. Generally, every time I've read a book with a religious character all they've done is shove their religion down everyone else's throats, so I loved that Angela wasn't a judgmental character. She was a really good friend and Mercedes was lucky to have her.

Faye was probably my favourite part of the book. Faye moved to Mercedes school during the year, and instantly thought of herself as Mercedes friend. Faye is funny, outgoing and mouthy. She's not afraid to say what she thinks and do what she has to do to protect her friends. She's actually a pretty inspiring character, even if she does make some bad decision. But again, she's human.

I felt so bad for Zach. He really, truly cares about Mercedes, but Mercedes is too wrapped up in helping other guys that she doesn't want anything serious and she risks losing out on such an amazing guy. He put up with so much from Mercedes, but he still stuck by her no matter what.

Flynn did an amazing job with the story. She managed to make me empathize with a girl who sleeps with other girls boyfriends and actually made me understand why she did it. It's still not something I can totally agree with, but by the end of the book, it didn't seem as bad as it did at the beginning. I also liked seeing the fallout due to Mercedes secret. It helped her to grow as a character, and begin to see what was staring her in the face all along.

Overall, Firsts was a very enjoyable read that's extremely controversial and definitely pushes the YA boundaries. It's a book that not everyone is going to enjoy, but in this case, it's one I really enjoyed and one I'd definitely recommend.


  1. The fact that this book is about sex is great, but I still don't think this would be something for me. I just don't like the idea that guys are losing their virginity with someone else; there is nothing wrong with having a bit of a messy, awkward first time. That is something you SHOULD spend with your girlfriend.. I also like that they portray Angela in a good light, because indeed, most of the time they end up being really judgmental and preachy.

    1. It's not something I would ever condone or agree with, but you do kind of start to understand where Mercedes is coming from with the way she thinks. Angela was one of the things I loved about this book. She was just normal and not trying to shove religion onto people, which was a nice change from the last few books I've read with religious characters in them.

  2. I can definitely understand your thoughts. But unfortunately I think the readers opinion of this book will depend on whether or not they can empathize with Mercedes. And I just couldn't. I didn't like the girl and there was never a point where I understood her. I'm all for a flawed character because that's what we all are. But Mercedes, man, she just didn't get it.
    The sex is the best thing. And why I ultimately didn't hate this book. More YA needs to incorporate sex because hey, teenagers have sex. Shocking....
    Great review!

    1. I think it will, and there was definitely a point in the book where I just clicked with her. But she's definitely not going to be to everyone's taste.

      It's totally the best thing about the book! It needs to be in it more because it's just such a natural thing and everyone is doing it at some point or other! It'd just make them feel a bit more relatable.