Review: First & Then

Posted December 4, 2015 / Book Reviews / 7 Comments

Review: First & ThenFirst & Then by Emma Mills
on October 13th 2015
Also by this author: This Adventure Ends, Foolish Hearts, Famous in a Small Town, Something Close to Magic
(272 pages) • GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble

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.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

my thoughts pinkTHIS BOOK WAS THE CUTEST. It took me a little while to get settled into the plot and the characters for some reason, but once I did… oh boy. So perfect. This is definitely one of my favorite books this year based on sheer cuteness and readability. I read this in basically just a couple of sittings over the course of two days because I was determined to finish and feel all the things.

Devon’s annoying younger cousin, Foster, moves in with her family after basically being abandoned by his mom. Come to find out, he’s a great kicker and is invited onto the football team. Their family feels progress and grow slowly throughout the book, as does the romance between Devon and SOMEONE. I’m keeping this sentence spoiler-free but you may be able to guess by the end of the review. Sorry, not sorry.

I will also totally reread this book, and that’s a big honor. So far the only books I’ve reread are Sarah Dessen (duh), the Harry Potter series (double duh), and books I read a long time ago because I wanted to finish the series. To have a random YA contemporary (non-Dessen) be thrown in as a worthy reread is kind of big deal.

Perfect things are perfect
    • between Devon + Foster (seriously, the way they warmed up to each other killed me)
    • between Foster + Ezra (what a fucking adorable friendship. I can’t)
    • between Ezra + Devon (mmmm what a slow burn, with a hint of hate-to-love)
    • between Devon + Jordan (platonic guy-girl friend feels for the win)
  • The future and lack of certainty about college that Devon felt was totally real to me. I had lived my whole life wanting to be a teacher and then decided junior year to go into Marketing. I figured I would make more money and I was pretty good at it. I definitely regret that choice now and fully remember the confusion I felt in high school.
  • I LOVED FOOOOTBALL. I think the Friday Night Lights comparison is moderately true, as long as you take that to literally mean “high school football games.” It wasn’t to the same level as the show, but it was still enjoyable.
  • The totally platonic relationship between Devon and Jordan was a lot of fun. I liked him as a character even though he kind of felt like a random addition without much of a purpose, aside from popping up at opportune moments. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see that kind of guy-girl we’re-really-just-friends thing going on. (Don’t get me started on the whole Cas thing.)
  • Most of the miscommunication and drama that inevitably happens in a YA contemporary felt pretty realistic to me. I didn’t find it overly angsty or irritating.
  • I actually laughed out loud on multiple occasions.
Didn’t work for me
  • At one point, Devon is told to invite her friends somewhere… but there’s really no mention of who her friends are besides Cas. Does she have girlfriends at all? That part was really underdeveloped.
  • Yeah, I’m not a Jane Austen fangirl. I pretended to read a book or two of hers in high school but I didn’t. I’m not a classics person in general but I would like to give her books a try. Alas, the Jane Austen connections and references went over my head. They were mentioned somewhat frequently (every couple of chapters or so). It wasn’t a bad thing; just something that didn’t resonate with me personally.

feels from friends pink

rating breakdown pink

Plot & Premise
Writing Style
Pacing & Flow
Feels or Swoons
Addiction Level
Overall: 4.5

7 responses to “Review: First & Then

    • I would say that the football element isn’t really strong, either! There are people who play but it doesn’t feel like every scene involves a football game or anything. I love football but know nothing about P&P and this one worked for me! 😉 Could go both ways!

  1. I’m right there with you with not being a Jane Austen fangirl (I was just never really introduced to her and I’m not someone who goes out of my way to read classics!) I actually did not really get ANY feels regarding Ezra and Devon, however I loved the fact that Jordan was there (if randomly) to be an attractive guy (which Devon acknowledges) but is just a charismatic and charming friend. Because, hello, it is possible to have platonic guy friends in high school whom you never have romantic feelings for. And UGH CAS SO MUCH RAGE. However, perhaps he served a purpose in the Jane Austen reference way?

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