Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy 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, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive jock, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them–first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
With wit, heart, and humor to spare, First & Then is a contemporary novel about falling in love–with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.
I am giving First & Then 5/5 stars.
Oh how I could go on and on about First & Then by debut author Emma Mills! I received my copy of First & Then this month in my Uppercase subscription box, and it definitely looked like an interesting read. I had not heard anything about the book when I received it and briefly read the synopsis of it, before I put it into my TBR pile for a later date. I had planned on waiting to read it until I knocked out a bunch of other books in my TBR pile, but the night I started reading it, it was raining and made me think of the cover so I decided to read it.
I first want to talk about how I love the cover of the book, with and without the dust jacket on. I love on the dust jacket the rainbow colored raindrops that form a heart in the middle were the title is placed. It’s truly the use of a watercolor look to the colors that make it really stand out to me even more. I had expected that once I take the dust jacket off that the book would just look plain. I was happily mistaken, as for when you take the cover off, it is still covered in raindrops that are now a metallic silver and form the heart in the middle. I maybe strange, but little details like that can sell me on a book.
As for the story, I can’t help but love First & Then. I have to say, that it is my favorite YA Contemporary that I’ve read in a long time and possibly ever. In so many YA Contemporaries, I feel that the author rushes to the romance , but Mills did just the opposite. Yes, throughout the story you can see the budding relationship/feelings between Devon and Ezra, but she doesn’t focus on that and lets it build naturally as the story goes a long. The process of Mills took of developing their relationship felt real, especially given the characters. I mean you have Devon (a Jane Austin loving teenage girl) who is trying to find herself in her senior year of high school, I just can’t see a character like her rush into a relationship with the schools star football player.
Mills did an amazing job with the portrayal of Ezra the star football player. In most YA novels, this character is usually a pompous ass who we later on find out is this sweet kind guy who is miss understood. Granted Ezra is developed like that in certain parts, you see from the start that he is quite different. I found him to be a breath of fresh air in terms of being the star football player in a contemporary YA novel. I mean, the kindness and patience he shows towards Foster (most of the time) was not something I was expecting when I started reading, but was happy to see.
Personally to me, the only thing that could First & Then better would be knowing that there is a sequel coming out, that takes place a year after the events in First & Then. I mean it could be called First & Now. Emma Mills, if you see this you have my permission to use that title as long as I get the first copy of the book!
About the Author:
Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also co-creator and co-host of the “life skills” channel How to Adult.