Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn


This was raw, honest and commendable. It was a book about sex, a book about a lost girl, but basically it's a book about the double standards that arrive when you mix those two things together.

Even with the open, honest subject matter, it wasn't perfect. I had some issues with it, both on a personal level and not--just as a critic. But each scene was written and handled very well, and I was grateful for that.

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.

Mercedes was a very unique character. With every fiber of her being, she thinks that she's doing something right and honest. But sometimes I became terrified reading about this girl who was so confused, that it made me physically ill at times. There were a decent amount of scenes that had me gnashing my teeth because she was making a mistake, a mistake that could tip into dangerous territory. I was afraid and nervous to say the least. But I enjoyed being inside her head because her life view is so different from my own.

I loved the subject matter, I really did. Sex is just a part of society, and it's a part of high school for a lot of people. We need to be open about the subject and create a dialogue--and Firsts is a novel that does that. But the relationships in this book were obviously messy. Mercedes is very confused about emotions and sex, and the way that she is sexually active involves her being deceptive from her friends and any future relationship that could develop. But I loved Zach. He was honest and willing to stand by Mercedes when everything fell to shit.

The writing was fine. I had more issues with the actual plot than the writing. Because there was one aspect of the book that I did not like, and I didn't think it was necessary to the plot at all. It felt like a huge mistake on the author's part. It seemed unnecessarily dramatic and coincidental. It was the root behind a lot of her decisions, which I didn't like. I wish could have been different, and not so violent or dramatic.

But I think this is a book people should read. It's graphic and honest in a way that is so unique and special and important.

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