Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Book Length: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
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.
There is no doubt that Firsts is an extremely sort after book, that synopsis alone begs you to read it. I found myself so curious about Mercedes, YA books are often portrayed from the ‘cheated on’ rather than the ‘cheater’--- just to clarify, this book in no way simply evolves around cheating, it’s so much more than that, it’s merely meant from a reading perspective.
Mercedes Ayres is a seventeen year old girl who takes it upon herself to ensure that every teenage girl has the perfect first time when it comes to sex, only her methods are a little unconventional… she sleeps with their boyfriend first. Regardless of the obvious kinks in Mercedes plan, she’s genuinely doing it in order for other girls to have a good experience and not just to sleep around; her fellow students deserve to have the perfect first, the one she never got.
This book was a real eye-opener for me, not only do we experience things ‘on the other side of the fence’ as people say but it’s surprising how your initial opinion changes throughout reading. From the synopsis I was intrigued but also a little weary of reading a book about a character who seeks out virgin’s who are already in a relationship and not just with random girls but fellow classmates. However upon reading you not only see why Mercedes chooses her unique method of help but also understand and feel concerned for her.
Mercedes was an interesting main character and while you don’t find out what exactly happened during her first time until later on in the book, her behaviour slowly reveals what she refuses to say. Mercedes was never having sex to just have sex; it was always about control, with a messy home life and basically living a lie at school, sex is the one thing she’s in control of.
Now if this had been a book that concentrated solely on Mercedes then I would have rated it much higher, however what usually makes a book for me actually broke this one- the romance. Zach is the good guy, the one who is in love with Mercedes and would do anything for her. Now bare in mind that Zach and Mercedes have been sleeping together for a while and he would obviously be the guy to finally treat Mercedes right but of course she wants nothing to do with relationships. Usually I like these types of romances but her constant dismissal of Zach was not okay, I felt sorry for him more than anything and angry at Mercedes, so when the predictable and eventual realization of feelings occurred I just wasn't bothered.
Overall Firsts was a great debut which provided a fresh and completely new reading experience, Flynn’s compelling writing demands that you throw out all of your preconception's and instead try something new; such as caring for a girl who would sleep with your boyfriend. There’s a first for everything, so if you're intrigued as I was then definitely give this book a try.