First & Thenby Published 13 Oct 2015
|First & Then.pdf|
|Publisher||Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)|
Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, 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 for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.
"First & Then" Reviews
I simply can’t measure the love I have for this book… well I guess I can, with these 5 stars I’m giving it, but I just don’t feel like it accurately represents just HOW much I actually loved this story. I couldn’t stop reading and ended up staying up way too late just to finish.
Can I tell you all a secret? I have never read a single Jane Austen book. Ever.
Okay, stop with the astonished looks. I will tell you this. I am not much for the classics. I told myself I was going to read more of them… I just haven’t.
I promise I will read them… or one… or something.
BUT the reason I’m saying that is because this book summary sells it as Pride & Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights.
Did you guys know I’m a bit of a sucker for sports related stories? First & Then kind of revolves around football… I mean it’s definitely a part of the story but it’s not the whole story.
Devon Tennyson is kind of drifting through her senior year of high school, she’s spent ages crushing over her best friend Cas, and once an only child, her house and life is now being overrun by her younger long-lost cousin’s presence.
I think what I loved most in this story were the relationships and the way they were explored. Devon and Foster are kind of forced into a type of brother/sister relationship which you can tell from the beginning that she kind of resents. Foster, for his part, seems nice and even a bit sweet, even though he’s a bit closed off about his emotions and feelings, but his life has been anything but nice and sweet. Despite his history I loved his protectiveness towards Devon and I really enjoyed their dynamic together.
Devon herself is totally my kind of girl. She’s funny and snarky and there were times that I found myself literally laughing out loud while reading parts of this book.
“Yeah. Lindsay. You know.”
Oh I knew. A cute nickname was the first mile marker on Gag Highway…
High school parties are breeding grounds for idiotic people with too much drama and not enough sense.
Of course there is a boy… or two. I mentioned Cas, Devon’s best friend earlier, and I honestly really loved their ease together and their friendship. I thought I really liked him… but then something happens at the end that really just crushed me. I’m not telling you what it is, you’ll figure it out when you read it, but let’s just say his swoon factor dropped exponentially.
The second boy is Ezra… Devon has Ezra pegged as a huge asshole when she realizes that they are the only seniors in a freshman gym class together and he treats her like crap. Oh… Ezra is an all American football player… best on the team and going to the college of his choosing. But he’s not the guy everyone has him pegged as and I really, really enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. My only complaint… more kissing please! LOL
Overall a wonderfully told story of love and friendship, family and loss, and finding the things that drive you. And yes… it’s my understanding that fans of Austen will recognize the references while reading… even if I didn’t.
Put this one on your TBR list now… pre-order it and then wait patiently by your mailbox because you NEED to read this one as soon as you possibly can!
I liked this, but I didn’t love it. I have high hopes that Foolish Hearts is going to be the perfect Emma Mills book for me and I can’t wait to read it!
This is about football. I DID NOT KNOW THIS BEFORE I STARTED. The blurb barely hints at football being a Big Thing and the cover...dudes, that cover does not say football. It says arty soliloquies and midnight cupcake snacks. Needless to say: I don't sport. So this wasn't the perfectest book for me. Buuuut it WAS STILL GOOD in many respects so I'm going to break it into a list. Because lists are awesome.
THINGS I LIKED
• The characters were really, really well written. They were so dimensional and complex! And while I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator, Devon, I really loved all the side-characters. And there are an enormous host of them. But somehow, in just a few words, the author wrote them all exquisitely and interestingly!? So GO for having zero character cliches in this book.
• The romance was adorably complex and interesting. It's not overly romantic, because Devon isn't actually sure WHO she likes. Her best friend is Cas, but Cas likes this other girl, and Devon is interested in Ezra but he's about as welcoming as a brick wall so -- complexness ensues. I enjoyed it because it wasn't intense and passionate, but it was feelsy and I WAS ROOTING FOR MY OTP SO BAD.
• Devon has this cousin, Foster, who has moved in with them because of Complex Family Issues, and he was a real sweetie. Kind of dorky? Kind of in need of protection? Kind of more capable than everyone gave him credit for?!
• The writing was a delicious creation of sensibleness and details. I like that! Most books I read seem to head for the whimsical or hilarious zone -- this was neither. So huzzah for refreshing.
• And while Devon wasn't a huge bookworm and the only books she reads appears to be Jane Austen...SHE IS STILL A BOOK FAN SO I LIKE THAT.
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE MUCH AT ALL (MY BAD):
• Devon is...a...boy's name...EXCEPT DEVON HERE IS A GIRL. Do you know how awkward it is to read several pages before working this out? I was getting excited because I thought it was about a BOY who read JANE AUSTEN and I was like "Woah, go dude!" So no. #awkward
• It's about football. Did I mention that?!?! It's severely footballish in the first 100-pages, but after that it merges into highschool and parties. The parties aren't "wild-let's-get-everything-drunk-and-scream-at-each-other" because Devon is NOT that kind of person. But still...I don't care about sports or parties and college applications miff me because that's not how it goes in Australia. SO YEAH. The actual story line just...was lost to me in a mountain of meh.
• Plus, while I admired Devon for being serious, slightly sarcastic, and not outgoing -- she was kind of boring to read about. She had no goals. That's kinda the point of the book. She doesn't know what she's studying, or what she wants in life. She has no hobbies. DUDE, HOW DO YOU EVEN LIVE?!?! (I am an emphatic hobby-person, clearly.) So I found her kind of 90% unrelatable because she just sort of flitted around without putting much effort into things.
• There is a Big Mystery behind why Foster came to live with Devon's family. It isn't explained. What is this?! I WANT ANSWERS.
• The plot and storyline are really very, veeeery slow. It's like 2:30pm as I finish this and I wish to nap. It's like a comfortable story and it's well written, like I said, but it ain't getting the heart pumping at all.
• Devon's relationship with [spoilers removed]
I'm half and half about this book, honestly! I LIKE. But I wasn't in love and I had a fair few snoozy moments. Although there was a particular description of french onion dip and chips that had me pausing and considering if I could fold myself into teh book and partake to wake me up. AND PLUS: these characters were adorable and amazing and I loved Foster and Ezra an enormous amount. It was a sweet story and I enjoyed it! But I'm not sure it was really "my thing".
Why didn't I realize this was a retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" in a modern setting? I would have picked it up sooner and I missed getting the author to sign it at a Fierce Reads event. *smacks head*
Quite easily one of the cutest contemporary stories that have similar personalities to the beloved Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, all told within a football town with an adorable little cousin to match. I pretty much devoured this in one sitting, even if I'm on a good contemporary kick at the moment. It's witty, adorable, and just downright sweet. Not only is it a love story but there's also friendship and family thrown in for good measure.
There's just something about the adorable main characters that are so heavily flawed yet you can help but love them when they make their mistakes.
Definitely one of my faves of the year :) and I would want to reread this over and over again just so I can get all the feels! Oh and that cover! If that beautiful but simple cover doesn't make you want to pick this one up, then I don't know what will!
"You don't want to make yourself different for anyone."
"What must it be like to have a path do clearly delineated for you? To have talent and a passion that guide your future like that?"
"When you love something, you can't be happy all the time, can you?"
"I should've been better. But sometimes all you can really stand to do is think about yourself. Sometimes it's the only way to cope."
"Just because you like hair and makeup doesn't mean you're stupid."
I'm sad I didn't enjoy this to its maximum potential, because I adore the person who wrote it. Emma is so hilarious and genuine and articulate in her youtube videos, and I've been watching her since middle school. Her book, however, I'm not a huge fan of. She's a talented writer because she's SO incredibly smart, but this book had no drive. There was no real plot to it, and it almost felt as if the wrong person was telling the story. It focuses heavily on a character that's not the main character, and reading about him from an outside perspective was boring. I found myself struggling to get through this (around page 100 I considered a DNF but pushed through). This book is filled with football terminology, football games, football players, football parties, etc. and I was extremely bored by that, as well. I see the potential in Emma's writing and characters, since some bits and pieces did come together to make a quite touching story, but this is one of those contemporaries that are just light and happy and angsty and I'm not a huge fan of them anymore, so I was just waiting for something more interesting to happen, but it never did.
I hear her newest one coming out later this year is really good, and so since I love her, I'm going to give that one a try as well! But this one wasn't my cup of tea.