First & Then by Emma Mills

Title: First & Then

Author: Emma Mills

Release Date: October 13, 2015

Purchase: First & Then

Rating: 3/5

I received this book back in October in my Uppercase book box.  It is a debut novel by Emma Mills and the synopsis is as follows:

“Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy 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, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive jock, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them–first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

With wit, heart, and humor to spare, First & Then is a contemporary novel about falling in love–with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.”

I found this book to be a short and sweet high school novel about finding yourself and embracing who you are while also coping with the ridiculous drama that sums up the high school experience.

Mills obviously tried to base this novel off of the works of Jane Austen.  There are many Austen references throughout the book and Devon is painfully trying to be a character from her novels.  The funny thing is that she does end up being a character reminiscent to the heroines that Austen created, and her journey is lovable but also extremely naive.

I did not feel that this novel was groundbreaking in any way, instead it is much like reading a Sarah Dessen or John Green novel and revolves mostly around high school football.  Watching Devon’s cousin develop from a quiet, disturbed teen to a star football player was probably the most beautiful part of the novel, but I mostly found this book to be dull.  This could be because I am no longer in high school and I do think that current high schoolers would relate to this novel and the story it provides.  I gave it 3/5 stars because of the slow pace and unremarkable story line, but I do think that younger readers will benefit from the characters and will relate to them on a personal level.

Overall, I do not recommend this book for older readers because of the juvenile story line, but I do recommend this book for young adults because of the relateable factor they may be able to get out of it.
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