Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

First & Then
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Hardcover, 267 pages, Henry Holt and Co.
Genres: YA, Contemporary

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.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

My Review

Friday Night Lights combined with a Pride and Prejudice retelling? Count me all the way in. I was definitely looking forward to devouring this book, especially since I finally managed to actually read P&P last year. Thankfully, or not so thankfully depending upon how you look at it, this book did live up to that description.

The book starts by introducing the main character Devon Tennyson, who while seemingly average, was funny in a dry-humor kind of way. However, some of the relationships between Devon and the other characters, like her friends, love interests, and family needed flushed out. I wasn’t sure all of the time why certain characters liked hanging out with her or why a certain someone even had a crush on her. She was too distant and sometimes even abrasive to those around her.

Although Devon wasn’t exactly the most flushed out character ever, her cousin Foster is fantastic. I very much enjoyed how he instigated a majority of the book, and I wish the relationship between himself and Devon had gotten more attention. This would have also helped with the Ezra love interest thing because of Ezra’s insertion into Foster’s life.

Oh, and random note, there was some mild slut-shaming (this does get addressed in the book in a positive way though) and popular kid nonsense that I feel was overly done. It wasn’t terrible, but it was a little distracting at times. I just wanted to warn some people in case you are like me and find that displeasing.

The plot of the book was cute with no huge deviation from P&P. This meant you knew things were going to work out in the end, no matter what. Unfortunately, this did make the ending so very rushed (like all Jane Austen books, P&P ends too abruptly, so F&T does the same). I wanted so much more from Devon and her other half, so to speak. I really wish a sequel or another spinoff book in the same world revolving around a retelling of Austen’s other books was in the works. This would really help ease my need for more.

All in all, First & Then is a light and ridiculously short contemporary read. It’s about football and unrequited loves, family and loss, and even finding a place to fit in. I’d definitely say pick it up if you’re in the mood for any of that.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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