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First & Then Paperback – October 4, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Devon Tennyson has always attended Friday night football games to watch Cas, her best friend and object of her affection. The only other thing Devon takes seriously is her love of Jane Austen's novels. She understands the world through Austen and happily aspires to Jane's biting wit. Devon's happy to avoid thinking about the future, but then her cousin Foster moves in. He's an oddball freshman and despite being a senior, Devon has to endure him in her gym class, in addition to having him in her home. The only other senior in the class is the school's Darcy-like All-American football star, Ezra Lynley. When a fluke reveals Foster's talent as a kicker, Devon finds herself spending more time than she'd like with both boys. The dynamic between Devon and Ezra isn't quite as prickly as Lizzie and Darcy's, but they have the requisite spats and misunderstandings that all opposites-attract couples must have. The frequent references to Austen may not resonate with some teens, but they will please budding Janeites, who will also find the familiar plot beats satisfying. As in the classics, Mills's debut gives equal attention to the heroine's familial and romantic relationships. However, Devon's growth isn't only relative to the males in her life; her development is related to but ultimately independent of Ezra, Foster, and Cas. VERDICT Readers looking for an innocent romance with a relatable protagonist will enjoy this Austen-inspired work.—Joy Piedmont, LREI, New York City --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"First & Then is like first love: profound and stirring, surprising and funny, and utterly delightful.” ―T. Michael Martin, author of The End Games
“A fresh, smart, inventive, and altogether impressive debut.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Readers looking for an innocent romance with a relatable protagonist will enjoy this Austen-inspired work.” ―School Library Journal
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Family relations is a very big part of this book and in my perspective it is portrayed in a way that complicated maters seem understandable. Personally, I identified with the book because my family is a little too alike the main characters family. I think a lot of people might relate to the book in more ways than one; whether that is with Devon's experiences, Fosters charming yet odd personality or any of the other characters interesting ways of being, I believe anyone can find something to relate in this book.
Like Cait said, this is a football YA. Like, football is a really huge thing in this town. The football players are given divine treatment. Okay, I get it. I like football. I watch the Super Bowl every year. I'm a Patriots fan. You know, the like. But there's all these statistics and centimeters and "if he kicks the ball too high through the goalpost, it'll be a foul, etc." Where I got all: "???"
Devon also has a crush on her lifelong best friend, Cas. Not that I get the infatuation. He flirts with every girl inexistence and displays Grade-A gross tendencies.
Ezra, on the other hand, is cute. Ezra is so cute. Gimme him immediately. I love him. He's already mine. He's one of the star football players. He's socially awkward and he and Devon are awkward together all through the beginning. The romance isn't rushed. There's no automatic instalove. I love the relationship he has with Foster as well. Ezra treats him like a little brother and my heart is too fragile. I wanted them to kiss more, but at the same time, I loved it?!?!
Devon's pregnant friend, Marabelle, is fiercely annoying. Okay, so you're pregnant, right? Why are you always at school parties? Are you not tired? She acts like she's literally the hottest thing around and she's pregnant and like, "Go home." But, if anything, that's something exceptionally minor.
My only problem, I felt the novel was rushed around the end. There was an accident, a quick apology, and a few kisses. I would've preferred something more solid, but that's just me. Nonetheless, I enjoyed 95% of the novel and the cover is gorgeous. An obvious recommend.
Devon Tennyson hadn’t planned on sharing her home and her life with Foster, a cousin she barely knew. She hadn’t planned on much, actually. It was her senior year and she still hadn’t really figured out what she was going to do about college. She hadn’t even found a way to tell her best friend about her years-long crush on him.
Whether she wanted them to or not, things were changing. She could no longer sit on the sidelines of her own unextraordinary life. She had a goal to aim for, a cousin who needed her, a best friend who needed the truth, and an infuriating but drop-dead gorgeous boy she needed to figure out. Even if she didn’t have all the answers right now, she would. She just needed to ask herself, “What would Jane do?”
Author Emma Mills created a positively delightful story with FIRST & THEN. It was heartwarming. It was amusing. It had moments that were bittersweet. It was immensely entertaining. It had a main character who was very relatable, who showed tremendous growth, compassion, awareness. It introduced a nice mix of secondary characters who were forthright or reserved, mysterious or open books, confident, arrogant, humble, lovable, detestable, and intriguing.
This is a story that will make you laugh out loud. It will make you empathize with what Devon, Foster and Ezra are each going through. It will make you root for Devon to discover what’s right in front of her, to become that better person she wants to be, and to have the kind of happy ending she deserves.
FIRST & THEN is a story about love, about loss, about survival, about being the best self you can be and accepting no less than what you deserve. It delivers everything you could want in a story in this genre and more. It’s a quick, enjoyable and rather remarkable read, that if I do say so myself is an absolute must.
Most recent customer reviews
Although this isn't taking the title of my favorite Emma Mills book, I did still really like it.Read more
What took me so long to read FIRST & THEN? It came out two years ago and I never even heard of it until a couple of weeks ago!Read more