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I Belong


Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

First & ThenTitle: First & Then

Author: Emma Mills

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages

ISBN-10: 162779235X (FierceReads)

ISBN-13: 978-1627792356 (FierceReads)

Reviewed by: Michelle

Synopsis:

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Quick & Dirty: An exceptional retelling of a classic, First & Then.

Opening Sentence: My college essay was titled “School Lunches, TS High, and Me,” and it was every bit as terrible as you’d expect.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I have been a fan of Emma Mills since she her early days of YouTube. Throughout the years, I gravitated towards her videos. I always felt she had something substantial to say, whether it is through a funny anecdote or through a witty song. When MacMillan told me that she was going to be published with a young adult novel, First & Then, I was ecstatic! And when I read the synopsis? It blew me away. Who wouldn’t want to read a Pride and Prejudice retelling from one of my favorite people?

First & Then follows the lives of Devon, her cousin Foster, and star running back, Ezra. Like many in high school, Devon is unsure of the direction of her future. She is sure of a few things, and one is her best friend Cas. But like in high school, things can change overnight. Now Devon finds solace with the last person she least expected. Cue romance theme music.

Devon is someone that I related to. I saw myself in her, in her goals and hopes. Her voice is well written, allowing for quick-wit humor and and a very loyal personality. Foster is adorable. He is my favorite. He is the guy you will always want to root for – no matter what. Ezra is the bright light with a courageous heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed the relationships formed between the characters. It was a good example that they had something alive and vibrant. The voices were wonderful, the pacing was superb, and I loved everything that happened with the pages of this story. Mills was passionate about this story, and it definitely showed. It was easy to bring myself in this world, put myself in the shoes of every character. And that’s a huge testament to Mills as an author.

It was refreshing to read a story that made me feel good from beginning to end. I laughed, I cried, and I definitely swooned. It was easy to become involved, to be invested. Mills made it simple to just read each page and enjoy.

Notable Scene:

He grinned. “I love you.”

I got into the car, half wanting to tell him not to say stuff like that and half wanting to say it back.

“Drive safe for real, okay?” he said before I could reply.

“Well, I was going to give it a go blindfolded, but I guess I could wait on that. For you.”

I knew that was just as stupid as Cas’s As long as you save me a dance. And I knew that sometimes around Cas my voice turned strange, too, some sort of gravel jumped into it, trying to sound cool and sexy and cavalier but really sounding just as idiotic as Cas had talking to Lindsay. But I couldn’t help it.

He rapped the roof of the car. “Night, Devon.” And then he shut the door, moved onto the curb, and watched me pull away.

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FTC Advisory: Henry Holt & Co./Macmillan provided me with a copy of First & Then.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  

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