‘Firsts’ by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
I had great expectations to this book. The plot-idea sounded appealing to me, and I thought the main character would go through some kind of development. But I was disappointed. After reading, I was so confused, and I was not sure what the book was actually about. It left me with more questions than answers.
January 5th 2016
St. Martin’s Griffin
17-year-old Mercedes may seem like a normal high school student. She does not have that many friends – actually you can count them on one hand.
There is her best friend, Angela. Then there is Angela’s boyfriend, Charlie. And then there is Zach. Well, Zach is not really a friend. He is Mercedes’ chemistry-partner and the boy she screws on Wednesdays during the lunchbreak.
Mercedes dreams of getting away from California and going to MIT in Massachusetts. But she has a secret. Mercedes lets guy after guy into her bedroom, so she can teach them to be good lovers. There is only one criteria the boys have to fulfill: they have to be virgins.
What was the book really about?
Actually, this summary was rather difficult for me to write, because I am not completely sure what this book was about. Yes, I do know that it was about Mercedes, a girl, who let virgin-boys into her bedroom, so she could make sure, they would give their girlfriends the first time, Mercedes never had herself.
But then a lot of other things were going on. A new problem kept getting introduced, and at one point I was not sure whether the book was about a girl sleeping with a bunch a virgins. Maybe it could also be about a girl who had problems with both of her parents or about a girl who started to doubt her sexual orientation. Or maybe it was just about a really fucked up teenager, who just happened to be the most miserable person on the entire planet.
And that really annoyed me. In the beginning I enjoyed how the writer, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, left a lot of traces about what could be going on. But as I got further into the story, it was like the writer could not decide on which trace to follow, so she had to write a bit about all of them, and I just did not like that. It made the story superficial, and that did not suit the plot.
Excerpt from ‘Firsts’
“She says she loves me. She says because she loves me, she just knows I’m going to rock her world.”
I nod. I understand this part. Melody sounds like every other girl, the kind who expects fireworks the first time. I know better. Fireworks don’t just happen. They need to be carefully arranged and then ignited slowly.
Which is exactly what I’m doing for Evan.
“But you don’t think you’re going to rock her world,” I say slowly. “That’s why you’re here.”
“Well, yeah,” he says. “She’s way hotter than me. And my friend, Gus—he’s still with his girlfriend because of you.”
I know exactly who Evan is talking about, except I remember him more by his nickname, the one I secretly gave him. The Crier. Gus was number six, the one who acted all tough and practically tried to instruct me — until he broke down and sobbed into my pillow afterward.
I brace my hands against Evan’s shoulders. “Well, you’re a lot farther along than some people. You’ve already seen each other naked. You got that out of the way. For some people, that’s the most awkward part.” I slip the straps of my camisole down my shoulders. “Like now. What would you do if I was Melody?”
“I’d tell you you were beautiful,” he says. “I’d ask if I could touch them.”
“Right and wrong,” I say. “You’re always right to tell a girl she’s beautiful. But never ask if you can do something. Be bold, because confidence is one thing you can absolutely fake until you actually feel it.”
Evan continues to stare at my breasts. He’s breathing heavy, and I can feel his erection through his jeans. Maybe Evan will need a Magnum after all.
Zach added on book-boyfriend-list
I really did enjoy two things in ‘Firsts’, though:
The language and some of the characters – especially the cute guy Zach. But let me start with the language.
The writer uses many great wordings and descriptions, which makes the text much more alive. For instance, I loved when the writer described being thin and young as the most valuables attributes in life. Some of the wordings made me smile and some of them made me stop reading and really think – and since the book is written from Mercedes’ point of view it also helped me get to know how she thinks – not only what she thinks.
Another thing I really enjoyed was how the characters were introduced. I felt like I got to know the characters very well, very quickly which made it easier to separate one character form another. One character I really liked was Zach. He was so sweet to Mercedes, even though she sometimes treated him like garbage. Zach got me through the book, and I definitely added him on my book-boyfriend-list while reading the book. He was willing to do anything for Mercedes, and he showed that through actions, which really appealed to me, because then it was not just someone talking about how nice he was and so on.
I hated the ending
Sometimes, I do actually read the ending of a book as the first thing.
But I did not do that this time and that was probably for the best, because then I most likely would not even have started this book. I am not going to spoil anything about the ending, but I did not like it. To be honest I kind of hated it, and I just had to get it over, like it was a math assignment. It seemed like the writer just repeated herself in the last few chapters and then suddenly the soppy, predictable happy ending was there.
However, I do think ‘Firsts’ could have worked. I did like the plot-idea, about a girl haunted by her past. And I chose to read this book, because the description of it sounded really appealing to me.
I expected that Mercedes would go through a development that would be difficult for her, but that just didn’t happen. What happened to her seemed too easy.
I do not really know if this book taught me anything – except from one thing. It did teach me that I like strong main characters, who go through some kind of development. And I believe that I can use that in the future, when I am looking for new books to read.