FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Friday, January 22, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
Song I Played While Reading: Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran
Rating: 4.5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criterion: he has a to a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect time, the kind Mercedes never had herself.
Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her mother isn't home nearly enough to know about Mercedes' extracurricular actives, and her Auber-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 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 own reputation- and find out where her heart really belongs in the process.
I don't judge people. I mean I do, but I don't. I lightly judge people sometimes by what they wear or say, but it's not a forever thing. I'll laugh internally to myself, and then get over it. But when it comes to serious things, or personal things (like what a person does with his or her own body) then I'm judgement-free. As long as it doesn't interfere with my life, then I say to everybody "You do you." That's the way my mom raised me. It may seem unconventional to some people, but whatever.
I knew FIRSTS was going to be the kind of book someone either loves or hates. It deals with two extremely touchy topics: cheating and slut-shaming. This could have easily turned into a train wreck, but Flynn was poised and in control, steering the plot of this story along a course that is a sad reality for some girls. Sex is such a tight-lipped thing in this community, and I think that needs to change. Not only does FIRSTS shine a light on a girl who enjoys sex and is comfortable with her body, but it also flashes onto a girl who is waiting until marriage. I loved seeing this parallel play out and thought Flynn composed it beautifully, which just enough of harsh reality to make it relatable. It's okay to enjoy sex! It's also okay to want to wait! And it's also okay to not want to have sex. It's your body. Do with it as you please.
Mercedes was an incredible character, and quite possibly my spirit animal. She was both the quiet girl at school and the confident queen at home. This was a huge deal to me because I always see these characters who are either portrayed as a sex goddess, whip smart and always flirting and being loud, or the shy girl, who likes school and doesn't go out. A character isn't just one personality. They're a compilation of both sides, and I like how Mercedes was this brainiac who had a whole drawer full of sexy lingerie.
The supporting characters were so incredibly important and precious, I could not get over it. Zach and Faye were the dynamic duo, helping Mercedes through the hardships without a second thought for themselves. Thats the kind of friend that I am, so I loved seeing the representation. Course, I don't think I would have gone as far as they did, but still. Friendship was a huge factor in this story, and along with the dynamic due we had Angela, who was so the polar opposite of Mercedes, yet vital to her growth. I loved seeing how deeply our main character cared for Angela and her beliefs. It's so, so important to respect boundaries, and FIRSTS portrayed this to the T.
I cried way to many damn times while reading this book, mostly because my heart was shattering for Mercedes and the shit she was getting, but also because I thought it was a good idea to have Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran as my song???? Like???? I DONT EVEN LIKE TO CRY, YET I MADE THAT DECISION. IT'S ALMOST COMICAL.
Overall, if I could make it rain hearts and stars on Laurie Elizabeth Flynn for the rest of her life I would. She's absolutely brilliant, and you need this book in your hands ASAP.
"It's funny how giving up control can actually end up putting things back in place."
"I give her a tight-lipped smile. It hits me, how important numbers are to everybody. Jillian needs a seventy. I lost my own virginity at age thirteen. I slept with fourteen guys. Charlie wants to celebrate two years with Angela. The Bad Actor deserves less than zero.
But the only number that's important to me right now is seven.
Seven is perfect."
"I can control what happens in the chemistry lab. There's a formula and an equation, and I know exactly what the reaction will be when I mix on thing with another. Life, not so much. Love, not at all. No matter what elements you combine, you really have no idea what happens next.
It's scary not knowing what comes next.
But not knowing might also be the best part."
"Zach reaches across and wipes my cheek with his thumb. "What are you saying?"
I smile through quivering lips. "I'm saying I want to eat spaghetti with you."
at 12:00:00 AM