Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth FlynnFirsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by St. Martin's Griffin January 05, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Amazon US

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-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Mercedes Ayres has a secret. Well, she has more than one and they are all doozies. But it’s her biggest, longest kept secret that leads to her newer, less well kept secrets.  The secrets that involve giving herself over to virgin boyfriends in the hopes of teaching them a trick or two in how to please their loving girlfriends.  You see Mercy had a bad experience with losing her virginity and in her damaged, young mind, she’s rationalized that she is doing something for the greater good.

She’s not trying to steal anyone’s boyfriend. In fact, she’ll go above and beyond teaching them about sex and actually help them plan the perfect nights for their girlfriends.  It was only supposed to be a few times, a few well chosen guys, a little good will and paying it forward.

Until it became something more like a coping mechanism. An escape from her less than satisfying life and from her horrific memories.  Now, it’s become a danger to her safety, to her friendships and to a relationship that could teach her what love really is supposed to be about.

Firsts starts off rather slow and took me a handful of chapters to feel any type of pull from the story. Mercedes…was actually pretty annoying. She’s young and delusional, which was really frustrating for me.  She continually repeats actions and then regrets them and it had me wanting to pull my hair out.

Then there is a shift in the story. Two characters, two friends, become more prominent in the story line and I became invested.  A new friend and a long time fuck buddy turned it around for me.  I think because that was when Mercy felt like a real person to me. Someone with a life that people actually did notice her for who she really is.  She became more than just a shell, she became more than just an empty character.

It’s also when the story becomes more heartbreaking.

Firsts is Flynn’s debut novel and I think it’s a promising one. It’s not perfect in its execution and lacked some real character depth, but it’s a brave story to tell and deals with some very real issues.  It makes you consider the teenage psyche and how tragic and dramatic situations really can take hold and skew your outlook on life.


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