(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by St. Martin's Press on January 5th 2016
Genres: Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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 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 own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn's Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
Mercedes… or Mercy to her friends wants to help the girls at her school have something she didn’t… the best and most amazing first time they could imagine, and she thinks she’s found the perfect way to make it happen.
She coaches and guides the boys through that awkward first time, offering them tips and suggestions to make their girlfriends feel special and make that first time absolutely perfect.
From the very first page of this story I basically was waiting for the shit to hit the fan… because you know it will, because how does something like this … involving teen boys… remain a secret?
There are a lot of issues at play here… not just a lot of teenagers having sex. Mercy also has to deal with a very uninvolved parent… parents if you count the father who up and walked out of her life, and yes, eventual slut-shaming.
I’m not sure what I should say here. I get it… I understand why Mercy wanted to do this, but I also don’t think she really thought about what she was doing. The idea that everyone else deserved this and she was going to be the one to let them have it is all well and good, but what does it cost her each and every time she does it? Not to mention the drama that arises when the shit does hit the fan.
Ultimately, it was hard not to feel sorry for her in all aspects of her life. I really liked Zach but I was totally on the fence with Faye. I wasn’t sure ultimately what her role was supposed to be until the very end.
Firsts definitely pushes the envelope on a lot of different points and realistically portrays a lot of what I imagine kids are experiencing. I feel though that I sometimes lived a million years ago when I look at the issues kids are facing today vs the ones that I had to deal with all those years ago, so it makes it hard for me to relate… yet it scares me for what my child will be dealing with in 5 years as he enters high school!
Definitely an interesting read and one worth checking out if you are looking for a complex flawed character who truly grows from beginning to end.
Thank you to the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.