ARC Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn10:00
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published January 5th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin
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 received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.
Firsts had a real 'Easy A' vibe about it: if you liked that movie, you should love this book. The MC, Mercedes, had an awful first time having sex, and has decided to help others to have a perfect first time. How? By sleeping with male virgins, so that they can give their girlfriends the 'perfect first time'. This had all worked out very well, for a long time. However, the guys start spreading the news of what's happening, and more and more boys are trying to meet Mercedes. She knows that if it ever gets out what she's done, it'll ruin her life. And, things turn a bit sinister when one boy, who happens to be her very religious best friend's boyfriend, decides he won't take no for an answer.
Things are further complicated by Zach, the guy Mercedes has been sleeping with for months now, wants more than just their regular Wednesday meetings. When the new girl, Faye, becomes friendly with them both, Mercedes feels something she hasn't in a very long time - jealousy.
What I really loved about this book was that it had serious undertones, underneath the main story. When people find out about Mercedes and the virgins she's been sleeping with, who do you think is the one ridiculed, the one shamed? Not the guys. The old adage says 'it takes two to tango', so why, in today's society, is it always the female member who is shamed? Slut-shaming is a serious thing, and is so unbelievable sexist. that it doesn't bear thinking about. Yes, Firsts is a story, but if something like that happened in real life, I don't think anything would be different.
The romance in the book was as sweet as anyone would want. With just the right amount of angst and fluff, it was everything you need in a YA contemporary. Zach was the best love interest for Mercedes, and I loved how the book ended - everything was wrapped up very nicely.
Firsts is a book that I've wanted since I discovered it, and it did not let me down. I am honestly in love with these characters, and Flynn's writing - there's no doubt in my mind that this was an amazing debut, and I'll definitely read more of her work in the future. I can't recommend this book enough, and would say that everyone needs to get their hands on a copy. Pre-order it now!