Saturday, July 16, 2016

Review: First & Then

Title: First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Genre: Realistic fiction
Release Date: October 13, 2015

A Quick Introduction: Devon Tennyson is happy, right? Sure she's got a probably never-to-be-requited crush on her best friend Cas. Sure she has no idea what she's going to do after high school. But she's happy. Until her cousin comes to stay with them. Foster doesn't fit in, and doesn't really try to- and he also has a talent for football. Foster's newfound talent pulls new people into Devon's life and suddenly everything in Dev's life is changing- and she has to decide what it is that she wants.

Out of Ten: 8/10

Review at a Glance: Despite a poor first impression, this novel ended up really impressing me!

Review: This book, people. This book. I kind of thought I would hate this book. And then I did. And then suddenly I realised that, wow, actually I didn't. Like, at all. How's that for first impressions proven wrong?

But, Kelly, you say. This is a review, you say, we need more info. than that! Fine. Well, to begin with, I don't typically like realistic fiction. It is not my genre of choice, and I'd generally much rather have something with dragons. And to end with, I'm very leery about anything compared to Pride and Prejudice, because it bears the distinction of being one of the few classics I've ever wholly enjoyed. And in between things is the fact that it involves football and that there's a heart on the cover.

I am a judgmental jerk. It's true.

But, despite my leery-ness about all things compared to P&P, I was also curious, and so, when the library had First & Then available, I picked it up. And I hated it. I really did. For the first fifty or so pages I was fully prepared to drop it like a hot potato and move onto something with more magic and explosions. I really didn't like Dev- I found her pretentious and judgmental.

Then it was like a switched flipped. I still found Dev judgmental, but I felt like I just got her. She's judgmental because sometimes people are judgmental. And just because she was flawed, didn't mean I didn't come to like her. There were parts of her that started to seem very familiar to me... her struggles with feeling motivated to go above and beyond what was strictly necessary when it came to school were all too familiar.

Despite the lack of dragons, I found myself really enjoying Dev's journey. I liked watching her and Foster figuring each other out, her growing relationship with Ezra, and seeing her start reaching out to other people as well. It was very subtle development, but she did grow in a very real way, and I found myself quite proud of her in the end. The supporting cast was pretty great too, in the end I found that I really liked Lindsey, Emir, and Jason. I would have to see her regard for some of her phys. ed. classmates grow a little more, too, though she did make some strides on that front toward the end. (Okay, possibly I just would have liked another couple chapters...)

Overall, this book was such a pleasant surprise. I kind of want to say the start was shaky, but I don't think it was. I think my dislike of Dev in the beginning set her up to grow on me as the novel continued, and I'm really glad I pushed through my initial frustration.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Kelly!! I read this one last year, i mean, I DID like it a little? But I'm really not a football fan AND I've never read Jane Austen, so I felt like I was missing out on the wow factor here because of that.😂 haha. But I LOVED FOSTER HE WAS SO CUTE. And I thought the relationships were super well done. :') So it was still a good read for me! Even though I think P&P fans probably would appreciate it more, maybe?
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. I was a bit concerned about the football part (as a person who is very much not a football fan), but I did really like Pride and Prejudice when I read it. I know it's been described as a retelling of P & P but I didn't quite see it? There are parts that are vaguely like the story, but... it also isn't. There were things that did make it feel kind of like an Austen novel in the modern day, but it didn't really feel like Pride and Prejudice in the modern day to me. It's possible that the Jane Austen novel vibe made me more inclined to like it, though... I really liked Jane's style when I read P & P.