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.
Thanks to NetGalley for the Arc!
Okay, first of all (pun intended), this book is not YA! If you’re thinking about buying a good book for your teenager, this is not it! There is so much sex in this book that it practically borders erotica. Yes, I know how things are nowadays with sex being a common part of High School life, but that doesn’t mean we all need to give into the idea that teenagers are meant to be whores.
Firsts took a few serious topics- underage sex, negligent parenting, miscarriage, bullying, rape– and displayed them in the light of a cute and fluffy read. For some, this might make it easier to relate to such problems, but for me, it makes them seriously annoying. Most of these problems weren’t even addressed! The rape wasn’t addressed. The parenting issues weren’t addressed. The bullying was addressed in such an asinine manner that it would have been better off if the ‘victim’ was bullied to death, in my opinion. Then at least this book would have a lesson.
And Mercedes herself wasn’t a peach, either. Although I liked her for a good half of the book- even found her relatable- her character changes halfway throughout the story. It goes from “I’m a grown woman being independent and taking shiz from no one” to “OMG he/she smiled at me what if he liiiikeeeess meee? Do I like her? I don’t know what my feelings are!!” It goes from giving High Schoolers too much credit, to no credit at all.
Honestly, I can’t really imagine who would seriously love this book. Enjoying it is fine enough, because it did flow nicely and was interesting at a lot of points, but the main conflict? Either you’re a teenager feeling awkward at all the description, or you’re an adult feeling awkward reading about children getting it on. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned.
Either way, this one wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t for me.
It wasn’t all bad, though. One good thing about it was the way it portrayed friendship. Although at first the friendship was something like “I don’t know you but I like you and let’s be friends and now you’re my favorite person in the world and I’d die for you!!” later on down the line you get to understand those feelings. The way Mercedes was treated by her friends actually inspired me to be a better friend, making me willing to go through fire and brimstone to protect those I love. Which made it all the more annoying when Mercedes’s response to this kill-for-you attitude was, “woe is meeee… I’m so bad for everyone around me… I should just betray their trust and leave because their lives would be better without me… I’ll bet they’re trying to figure a way out of our friendship anyway… I’m so sad and no one likes me.”