I’m still going backwards in my reviews. This is the second book I read on my way up the East Coast, and to be honest, I’m still not certain how I feel about it. But then again, there are books from years ago that I still don’t know how I feel about them, and if I wait to sort all of that out, I’d never write a review.
I got this book from NetGalley. It’s not the first book I got from them (Academy Girl was….review still to come), but this is my first review of a NetGalley book. The concept of this book is what caught my eye originally. A teenage girl with potentially a healthy attitude towards sex? Sure, let’s see how that goes.
Firsts by Laure Elizabeth Flynn
Expected Publish Date: January 2016
Mercedes “Mercy” Ayres has one of the most interesting hobbies a seventeen year old girl can have: she helps teenage male virgins have their first awkward time while giving them pointers so that their girlfriends can also have the perfect “first time.” This is an easy hobby to have, as her mother is an absentee mother at best and her father is not in the picture at all. She sets out just to help five, but at the beginning of the book, she’s helping out number ten. There is one guy, Zach, her Wednesday Lunch Plans, who is the only non-virgin she sleeps with.
As she continues to push past her originally set limit, Mercy spins out of control, unable to figure out who to turn to. When a new girl, Faye, comes into town, the reader can’t quite figure out if there is going to be a sex off or bitch off, or if Mercy is going to figure out if she is actually bisexual. Matters get even worse when her best friend’s boyfriend starts to pay her too much attention.
I’ve rapped my nails on the keyboard for a few minutes, and have decided that I’m not going to use this book review to discuss my thoughts on teenagers and sex. I don’t have kids and I’m no longer a teenager, so realistically, is it my place?
I liked Mercy in the beginning. Okay, well, I liked Mercedes, until it became clear that she was having sex do to the following:
-Wanting attention from her mother
-She had sex too young and it was the wrong guy
I don’t know; I wanted a protagonist who was doing her thing because it was no big deal to her, not because she’s literally a product of her surroundings. I mean, I get it. A YA book that’s pro-sex would be a terrible thing for society. But aren’t we all a little tired of the negative stigma around sex?
This book was a super easy read. I read it from roughly Virginia to New Jersey (so….6 hours?) I didn’t expect to get anything out of it really, but even then I was disappointed.
The character I did love was Faye, up until the end. I’ve only known one Faye in my life, and I had a really hard time not picturing her whenever I read her name. Faye (in the book) was much more what I was expecting — a very nonchalant attitude towards sex. Does she like Zach? Does she like Mercy? Is she just Jack Harkness in female form?
This book frustrated me. I don’t regret reading it (I would have probably picked it up eventually at a bookstore), and I applaud Flynn for taking a risk with the book. I just wish the risk had gone a little bit further. Instead, this book fell flat and predictable. If you are looking for a quick YA read, go right ahead. I suspect this book will end up on a banned book list at some point. All that said, the book is actually pretty well written and the characters are relatable. I would definitely pick up another book Flynn writes, as long as it’s another standalone book.