Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher
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-kind young adult novel about growing up.
From the first moment I heard about Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, I just knew that I had to read it. When I started seeing what other people were saying about it, it just reinforced that desire to read the book. And now that I’ve read it, I can say that it was everything I hoped it would be.
Mercedes isn’t shy when it comes to sex and she’s willing to help those who need. Her one condition when boys seek her help is that they be virgins and that they treat their girlfriends right when they give them their first time. That’s all she asks for. The one thing she never had. No one has ever suspected what Mercedes is up to, and her system is working. Or it would be working if she had been able to stop after helping five boys, like she had told herself she would. But now she’s helped ten boys and her best friend’s boyfriend is seeking out her help. And then there’s Zach, the one boy who doesn’t want Mercedes’s help but actually wants her for who she is. Mercedes had a system and it was working. But now that it’s fallen apart, she isn’t sure how to handle all the fallout.
From the moment I first heard about Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s Firsts, I knew I had to read it. It sounded so different from other YA books out there and like it could be a very powerful read. It was certainly both of those things. And on top of that, it was absolutely my kind of book. I will say straight off the bat that Firsts won’t be for everyone. There are people who will read the synopsis and it will immediately make them not want to read this book. And that makes me sad on so many levels because this is such an important and powerful story. There were plenty of times when Firsts wasn’t easy to read. Because of the subject matter it dealt with. Because I wanted so much for Mercedes. And because the story was real. And I’m realizing as I’m sitting here, trying to write this story, that Firsts is hard to put into words. Especially because I don’t want to give too much away, since everyone should read this story the way I did: without knowing anything beyond the synopsis.
Mercedes is the definition of a flawed character. And she’s the kind of character that a lot of people are going to have trouble liking. But her imperfection is what makes her so perfect. And it’s what made Mercedes feel so real as I was reading. So it should go without saying that I loved Mercedes and all her flaws, and I wanted so much for her. Even though I didn’t agree with what she was doing, I understood why she was doing it. And it broke my heart a little. And it made me want so much for her. And I wanted so badly for her to realize that Zach was perfect for her and that he wanted her for who she was. And can I just take a moment to share my love for Zach? Because I really, really loved Zach. And for much of the book, I was just waiting for Mercedes to come to the same conclusion about him I had. And Faye was pretty much the perfect friend for Mercedes. Mercedes just had to realize all that for herself.
I can’t say enough good things about Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s Firsts. This is an important story that I fully believe everyone needs to read. It was real, it was heartbreaking, it was touching. It was just a perfect story where I’m concerned.