Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Reading Level: Young Adult
Released: January 5 2015
Review Source: St. Martin's Griffin
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.
A teenager who wants to make other girls' first times special to make up for the secrets' she's holding close to her vest. Mercedes only wanted to do this for 5 guys, but then it became 10...which became 14. Feeling as though she was making other girl's first times with their boyfriends better, she didn't realize the damage she was causing herself. Zach is a nice boy, who actually likes her, but she won't let him get too close to her. Angela is her best friend who really knows nothing about her. And Faye is the new girl, who might be able to break her out of her shell. Mercedes only wants to not lose control over the situation, but in reality she's never really been in control.
I'm not sure I can express what this book did to me. It was one of the most frustrating books I've ever read. I almost didn't finish it. But I knew what I wanted had to happen, I knew Zach wouldn't turn his back on Mercedes no matter what. But for a good portion of the book there was so much tension and stress and anxiety over what was going to happen. But I wanted to stick it out. I felt like I owed Mercedes that much.
Mercedes is just a broken girl. Someone who no one has ever tried to pay attention to, and that was how she liked it. At least she thought it was. What a girl doesn't realize is having so many secrets will eat away at you. And no matter how good at keeping secrets you are, they will come out. The truth always gets set free, whether you want it to or not. And Mercedes not being in control of that is what made this book so ridden with anxiety. Honestly, good job Flynn. You got that emotion down pat...heck, I almost felt like I was back in high school with the secrets I was keeping from everyone.
I feel like every girl in high school who has "found their true love" should read this book - just for good measure. Not saying that high school sweethearts don't exist. I know for a fact they do. But usually the ones who last through high school are the ones who didn't think it, or flaunt it. Within Firsts all the girls who think they're with the love of their life have the relationship back fire. And those who are happy with who they're dating but know that things might get in the way, those seem to be the couples within this book who actually might make it. And I think this is a good message to bring to light. I know I've seen many of my friends heartbroken because their "soul mate" from high school broke up with them. But then they turn around and find someone even better. Such as Angela with Charlie in this book, she was madly in love with him but realize he wasn't treating her with respect.