on 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.
Firsts is a unique book in many ways, and not one I expected to like as much as I did. I am incredibly uncomfortable about the notion of teenagers having sex – I know, I know, it’s ridiculous, but it just feels… no. Go back to playing Pokémon. No, I know everyone is ready at a different age and that’s completely fine – I just don’t want to hear about it or see it. So when I saw the premise of this book, I was hesitant and curious at the same time. I wanted to see how such an idea would be executed.
It actually turned out pretty damn well.
Mercedes Ayres has everything under control – in the bedroom, that is. She guides guys through their first times, so that they can give their girlfriends the first time they deserve. As long as everyone keeps their mouths shut, this works really well for Mercedes. But when her control of the bedroom starts slipping, all the other aspects of her life start unravelling as well. Soon enough, Mercedes becomes a confused mess, not knowing what to do or who she is. Things get even worse when her secret might be coming out. How could she possibly get out of this mess?
First of all, I really appreciate the statement this book makes – that teenagers have sex too. Yes, even in YA. Generic YA usually only allows a bit of kissing and heavy petting, or they wait until the third book to have sex, after which they’ll be together forever. It’s kind of incredibly unrealistic. You’ll probably sleep with a few people and make mistakes and would like to take a few of those experiences back, but you learn through your mistakes, and I thought Firsts represented that notion really well. Apart from a main character who’s confident with her sexuality, there’s also the total opposite in the form of her best friend – Angela, a severely religious girl who wants to wait until marriage, but has her integrity questioned by her pressuring boyfriend. I really liked seeing how that played out as well.
I was a massive fan of Faye, the new girl at high school who immediately took a liking to Mercedes and who wasn’t afraid to speak up. She felt fresh and different and she felt inhibited and really likeable. Especially at the end, when Mercy’s world turns to crap. That’s when Faye really shines. Girl points!
The first two thirds of the book are rather enjoyable – first, seeing Mercedes in her element, and then watching all of it crumble to pieces around her. Watching her as she starts to question herself and her relationships. Then, around the two-third-point, there’s this guy who starts being a massive penis, and that’s when I couldn’t put the book down anymore and hadto find out how it was going to end. I’m happy to say that I found the ending to be quite satisfying, although I really wanted someone to punch the penis. In the penis.
This book was a surprise in a very pleasant way. I truly did not expect to enjoy it this much, but all the more kudos for it. In many ways, it was a first for me too. (Hahaha, see what I did there? I’m hilarious.)
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy