First & Thenby Emma Mills
Published by Macmillan, Henry Holt on October 13th 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
I have not read Jane Austen. There, I said it. Phew… feels so good to get that off my chest! Have I lost my street creds now?
Does it count that I’ve seen the movies Clueless and Sense & Sensibility? Eh, it was worth a try.
Why am I even bringing Jane Austen up at all? Because of marketing. First & Then is being sold as a Friday Night Lights / Pride & Prejudice mash-up of sorts. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this movie/TV show and book/movie (respectively). Your enjoyment of this tale of finding love in the oddest places will not be diminished in the least! This book is straight up young adult romance with the typical side of light teenage angst.
Devon is just wrapping up her summer before her senior year. She is starting the new school year with an extra family member in tow, her freshman cousin Foster. Everything is A-Okay because she has her best friend/perpetual crush Cas by her side at all times along with a copy of one of her many favorite Jane Austen novels.
Except that there’s this pesky issue of her ‘future’ poking her in the side, bugging her to decide on what she wants to do with her life, or at least work on getting into a college. Then her freshman cousin Foster proves to be a prodigy at kicking for the football team. Devon feels compelled to protect tiny, scrawny, and peculiar Foster from the intimidating and experienced football players.
What enfolds is a sweet story of accepting people for their quirks and idiosyncrasies. Through Devon, we realize that sometimes people may be different or seem to do strange things because they cope with their lives differently. It’s a great reminder for teen readers (and adult) to see beyond quirkiness to the person inside 🙂
I LOVED Devon’s snark. Ms. Mills writes fantastic dialogue and I think that comes from her experience vlogging, or just a fabulous sense of humor. Devon is a pretty good character but what really seals the deal for me are the supporting characters. My favorite? Jordan, the “champion of my heart”. That guy is ALL charm and common sense!
Even though by the end I was still confused on some of the romances (who the heck did Lindsay really want?) I still adored this book. I devoured this in one day; it’s a quick, easy read! And I really believe this book is a great addition to any teen library collection for its positive messages.