Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publication: January 5th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
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.
I received a Digital ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Firsts is an honest, straightforward and thought-provoking book about sex and virginity. It tells about Mercedes and how she offers to have sex with virgin boys so to teach them how to give the perfect first time to their girlfriends. Sex in YA isn’t really something new. I believe some of us have read several books where some characters engage in such activities but with this book, it is kind of different-and unusual.
There were quite a few “firsts” that I have encountered in this book. It was my first time to come across a book with such a plot. Like I said, it’s very uncommon. It’s not for me to say that it’s one of kind since I’ve not read enough books yet but I can tell you that it’s something I haven’t read before. Although, I think it was too risqué for a YA book to have a 17 year old main character offer sex to boys she barely even know like it’s just a simple favor. But still, it worked. The synopsis alone screams “Read me!”.
Then we have Mercy, another first on my list. Mercy is an original, which is something that YA books should continue having,
not a cut out from a different book. My first impression about her is that she is stupid, reaaaaaally stupid! I almost wanted to yell at her because of the decisions she keeps making. But on the other hand, she’s strong, independent and smart. She is passionate about science and really loves to teach. If she can only see how great she is, she is more than just a girl who sleeps around. It shouldn’t even define her.
It was also my first time to read a book with a broad opinion about sex. It did not only revolve around what’s happening in Mercy’s bedroom but also Mercy’s friend, Angela. Angela does not believe in sex before marriage but when she learns that Mercy is not a virgin anymore, she becomes pressured into giving it up to her boyfriend (who was also giving hints that he wants to get in her pants). I like how this book implies that it’s okay to have different opinions sex and this shouldn’t affect the way you think about other people.
Now that I’ve mentioned it, Firsts also gave light to the issue of being pressured into having sex. It’s a sad thing to see how some characters were struggling with this issue. But what is more sad is that it happens in real life too. But what this book teaches us is that we shouldn’t give into the pressure and be wise.
Aside from the sex theme, there was also Mercy’s family issues. One of the things I’ve noticed is how Mercy calls her Mom by her first name. It confused me in the beginning to who Kim was but later on I realized that she is Mercy’s Mom. It became evident that they don’t quite have a good relationship. This leads to Mercy making unwise decisions. She sometimes purposely mess up things just to see if her mother would care, but in the end, she’s only causing trouble to herself.
Firsts will open your eyes to many things. Your bookshelf will be incomplete without this book. And if you still aren’t convinced, let me just mention that there’s a major shocker that I won’t tell you anything about. You just have to read it for yourself!
Check out FIRSTS’ book trailer!