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First & Then Hardcover – October 13, 2015
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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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
“With sporadic references to Jane Austen's famous characters and wickedly inventive language, Mills closely observes the social milieu of an American high school.... A fresh, smart, inventive, and altogether impressive debut.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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Is it possible to love a Side Character so much more than the MC's because that's what happened with this story? Jordan is literally sunshine and my favorite. Ever.
First & Then is said to be a retelling of a classic; not just any classic but Pride & PRejudice. And i find it to be a refreshing retelling. TBH had i not already known it was a retelling; i probably wouldn't have said this is a retelling but once you knwo you can kind of see the signs.
Something else that really sticks out is the way that the happy ending is open; you see the MC's grow and yes it's a YA Contemporary Romance so of course there's a romantic happy ending; but it leaves you wanting more for Devon's future. She has her sights set on a college but has trouble finding things special about her to pad her resume with. But it takes a visit to the college to make her want 'more', to want to push for more and excel, not just be average.
I would recommend this story for someone looking for a fun Contemporary retelling of P&P and fans of Kasie West or Francesca Zappia.
Love Love Love.
What is there not to love?
I am not a football fan and sadly, I have never seen Friday Night Lights. But I hear it’s good.
First & Then is a fabulous contemporary story of Devin who’s life changes drastically when her cousin Foster comes to visit. Devin is a great narrator. She’s nice enough to want to be her friend, but not a pushover. She’s sympathetic to her cousin Foster’s feelings, but still feels annoyed and sometimes embarrassed by his awkwardness, resulting in these two quickly taking on sibling roles more than cousins. And of course, who can’t relate to poor Devin’s ultimate crush on her best friend Cas. Star, handsome and not into Devin at all like that.
Foster is sweet and weird and my heart really twisted for him. He’s stronger than people thinks he is and I liked his development as a character the most. It starts with a new school, a new family and then new friends and expectations. His journey is handled with care and finesse.
Of course our Ezra is perfect for Devin, even if she doesn’t know it. Socially awkward, yet popular due to his athletic achievements, Ezra is abrupt and guarded and just plain grumpy. Mills adds nuances to Ezra’s character that makes him stand out as the perfect Mr. Darcy in her world, but also adds a touch of heart early on by playing into Ezra’s vulnerability at being a public figure.
The story is more than a Pride & Prejudice retelling. It’s heartwarming and charming, adding the excitement of homecoming and football and discovering family means many things to many different people. The characters all go through organic changes, allowing them to find their own way through the book, misunderstandings and all.
I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy so I can read it again!
(Also, that cover is eye grabbing! I wanted to read the book based on cover alone!)
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SETTING: Temple Sterling, Florida – modern day (fictitious, smallish town)
MAIN CHARACTERS:...Read more