Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on January 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 320 – hardcover & ebook
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.
*Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Okay, so it took me quite a while to sort through my feelings for this book. On one hand, I really applaud the author for skillfully handling typically touchy topics like teenage sex. On the other hand, I do have a few issues with the main character’s… decisions, which (to say the least), weren’t very sensible.
Before I go into more detail, here’s a quick rundown on what this book’s about. Mercedes isn’t your typical next-door slut. She doesn’t just take the virginities of guys, oh no. She actually helps them to ‘get their awkward, fumbling, first times over with’ by tutoring them about sex – in her bedroom, where obviously less tutoring happens – so that they could give their girlfriends the perfect first time. I know, messed up right? As you probably already guessed, it starts out pretty well at first and Mercedes actually helps these poor guys, but things soon start to get rough afterward (pun intended) when Mercedes’ best friend’s boyfriend (spare me) approaches her to make use of her ‘services’. Basically, drama ensues and fucked up shit happens.
When I first read the blurb of this book, a thrill went through me and I thought This is it. This is my book. It seemed risky, wild, and was bound to be a disappointment. I was intrigued. When I started reading it, I completely got sucked in and before I knew it, I was done – no more than two sittings later. Yep, definitely a page turner.
Even though Mercedes was annoying as hell and half the time I found myself wanting to jump in and shake her, she was such an interesting character to read about. I already knew how the story was going to go down – it was pretty obvious – but learning about her dark past and slowly getting glimpses of it just really pulled me in even more. Mercedes was so completely fucked up and genuinely wanted to do a favor to these boy’s girlfriends; she was frustrating, messed up and such a dynamic character. I really, really liked her.
There were also other characters like Zack and Faye who were just pure awesome. Zack was so cute, dorky, intense, amazing, utterly adorable… I could go on & on with the adjectives but you get my point. He was Mercedes’ Wednesday fuck buddy/lab partner who’s also into her, but Mercedes – who’s a bit of a control freak -keeps him at an arms length. We also have Faye, the new beautiful, brash, confident girl in school who made Mercedes question her sexuality. She was pretty shady at and I admit I didn’t like her at first, but she eventually grew on me. Especially at the end after shit went down and she helped Mercedes without thought for the consequences she herself will incur.
Another thing I love about this is how it seems very superficial at a glance, but in reality, there are hidden principles of morality, friendship, and sexuality to be found. The writing also contributed to this; it really helped move the story along & had me completely hooked.
Overall, I’d like to say that Firsts was an amazing debut by Laurie and I absolutely can’t wait to read more of her books in the future. The writing was flawless and the character were drenched in realism. I can’t recommend this book enough, so make sure you get your hands on a copy. Preorder it now before its release in January!
Rating: 4 fish