16 February 2019

4/5 Stars for First & Then by Emma Mills

Do you know how REFRESHING it is to read a book about teenagers who ACTUALLY go to school and have home life??? (Yes, I am SUCH A TITA. I know!) It pains me to read YA books that revolve around partying and dating 90% of the time. I’m like,” Don’t these kids have homework? What about college applications? Why are their parents never home? Why do they have unlimited cash? Do you really wanna get so serious with that boy/girl so early? Why is there barely any adult supervision in this story?!” Taking out factors that make the story a wee bit realistic is such a cop out. I rarely enjoy lazy writing. 

Such was not the case with THIS BOOK. This has a balance of family, love, school, friendship, and self discovery. The presence of all those elements alone was enough to keep me reading. It seems impossible to have everything in a book, but believe me, this one is packed. I turned every page, eager to read what happens next. This is probably the quickest I’ve read all year. 

The only reason I’m not rating this a 5/5 is because, with how everything is balanced out, I feel like the story never really climaxed. It’s as if the book started and finished on a plateau. Each aspect of the protagonist’s life had a defining moment but none of it was as mind blowing as it should have been. I’m not looking for anything dramatic but at the very least I wanted to feel certain that THIS moment right here is what transforms her. 

Perhaps it was the way the protagonist, Devon, was written. She comes across as almost too cool. Never truly angry, never truly sad, never truly in love with her bestfriend as the summary suggests. Heck, never truly enjoying her first kiss. She was happy alright — and it made ME happy too — but it wasn’t electric. I know it’s not primarily a love story but the getting-together part shouldn’t be THAT muted down. Give me sparks, damn it!

In summary, First & Then is the perfect cutesy book. It’s sure to put you in a good mood but don’t expect it to make a lasting impression.

P.S. I used to diligently put book and author info on my reviews but I decided not to do that in Sab The Book Eater v4.0 because I am chill AF (or so I think). I'm making an exception here because I think it's worth mentioning. The author started off as a booktuber! For all you non-internet nerds out there, it's a Youtuber who mainly talks about books. Heh. Check out her channel: HUZZAH TAKE ME THERE!

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