Let's Talk!: Firsts by Laurie E Flynn

Friday, January 8, 2016

Firsts

Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Pages: 320
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: January 5th 2016
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.

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and not altered by that!

I remember when I first read the synopsis for Firsts and really wanting to read it immediately after and I knew I wanted to get my hands on this book. Glad I tried so hard to get an early copy of it BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD. I really enjoyed Firsts. It was funny, heartbreaking, and I really love the group of characters this book has. For anyone who likes the quirky contemporary with a unique group of characters, definitely try Firsts!

The main character, Mercedes is definitely an interesting one, considering what she does. She cares about other people but also cares about herself. She is smart, funny, and is a really great person when it comes to faking confidence...which is totally okay. What I really love about her is her character development, how much she grows throughout this book. Laurie was able to include some great character development within Mercedes and all I'm going to say was that I love the person she ends up. Other than the main characters, the secondary characters were just as fabulous as Mercedes. The two other characters mentioned in the synopsis, Angie and Zach, are two very different characters but are both so awesome. I love how they contribute to the story and how strong of characters they are. The other secondary characters not mentioned...well let's just say they're just as great characters. ;)

The plot is also something I really want to talk about because, it's a very exciting one. Obviously, there was going to be drama with Mercedes, her hobby, and "her system that falls apart." There were so many ways her system could have fallen apart and the way Laurie writes about how it falls apart and how it happens itself is just glorious. It gave such a huge twist to the book and really brought out a new side to Mercedes, which I loved reading about. I loved reading about how she was handling it all and how she was forced into new situations and that also really brought out who she could and couldn't trust. As if the actual plot wasn't great enough, the ending was just as well done. It wrapped this story up very nicely, tied up all loose ends, and best of all left me satisfied with Mercedes' story! Really liked Laurie's writing as well.

The one tiny thing that brought down my rating was how reckless Mercedes was when it came to having sex with people and helping them get over their first time. I mean, a lot of this book wouldn't have happened if she had been more careful and strict about who she let into her bedroom. I mean, yeah, she can do whatever she wants but there were at some points where I asked myself "Shouldn't she *insert thing here* before she beds this person?"

I gave this book 4.5 stars because I fully enjoyed this story with it's awesome plot and characters but the main character's carelessness tipped down the rating just a bit. 
So many things to talk about for this book but let's start with one of the most surprising aspects of this story, Charlie. I always knew one day he was going to find out about Mercedes and what she did, I just really did not expect him to be the reason why everyone found out on what she did and in such a surprising way as well. It was just so brutal and I honestly wanted to jump into the book and punch the guy because he was just pure awful. And it's not even like Mercedes did anything wrong to Charlie, he was just a possessive jerk. I really hoped someone would have roughed him up a bit but the ending he got is good enough.

Two characters I am really sad about not being able to mention up there in the non spoilers section is Zach and Faye, who are two really interesting characters. I really love how they both stick with Mercedes after everyone found out about her services and they really got through the whole situation together. There were some times when I really debated on whether they would get together, but in the end, their love for Mercedes really saved her!

Speaking of Faye, I really loved how Laurie made Mercedes bi. She was open to both genders and it really was different to see that not only was Mercedes attracted to Zach, but she was also questioning whether she would eventually get together with Faye, which is so different from normal YA reads because normally, characters would see a girl best friend as a good friend of theirs. Freaking out about almost kissing with this friend who is a girl is not typical unless the character is confirmed gay, which she isn't. I just loved the different aspect the bi-sexual-ness brought into this story and I am grateful to Laurie for including it.

Okay okay, one more thing. The story behind Mercedes' first time, with Luke and how he basically had raped her when she was thirteen, was really surprising and heartbreaking to read about. I am around the age where Mercedes's got raped and I cannot even image on what she had to go through. The terror and trauma of being raped, then impregnated, that's horrible. The topic of Luke was always dropped around throughout the book and knowing her story helped me understand why she was doing this and why she wanted everyone's first time to be perfect.