Thursday, May 26, 2016

First and Then by Emma Mills

Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I loved this book. It was the perfect, light, romantic contemporary to get me through a very busy week. It’s exactly what I needed. I had gotten the book for review not too long ago. Mostly, I’d been wanting to read it because I’ve seen it on a few YA Jane Austen lists. Though, I was told by a couple of bloggers to expect it not to be a retelling of anything Austen. This, I admit, did help in my enjoyment. If I thought it was a retelling, I’d be trying to make connections that weren’t necessarily there.
I loved all the Jane Austen connections though. The main character is re-reading Sense and Sensibility throughout the story. She’s constantly comparing her relationship drama (mostly a crush on a best friend) to that of the dramas of Austen. There’s a very Austen/Pride and Prejudice moment when the male lead (not actually the best friend) writes a letter to explain his side of the story. And I loved this. I loved how very Darcy he seemed (because I’m so in fiction-love with Darcy). I’m also in love with this guy. He reads Jane Austen to have something to talk about with the main character! My heart melted.
Mills did a fantastic job of transforming the Austen-style class system (based upon income) into a teen popularity hierarchy (based upon football). I wasn’t entirely sure I’d enjoy the football component because I’m not a football person at all. However, I loved all the drama it brought. Really, I found the whole lifestyle of the town to be so interesting. It was so based on high school football, and I actually found this fun to read about.
The relationship drama kept me interested. There were a couple of big Emma type realizations for the main character and I loved that she was able to see her own flaws and her own misjudgments. She wanted to be better, not to be the girl who pined for the guy who so clearly didn’t return the feelings. She didn’t want to only think of herself when her new brother/cousin was going to be adopted by her parents. And she wanted to care about things and get into a college. She wants to be a better person. This makes her so likeable to me.
I also love that she doesn’t know what she wants to do in college. There’s this whole scene where she’s talking to a college counselor and she pretty much admits to not being good at or particularly fond of anything. Her counselor of course told her she’d have to join something to get into a good school. That whole not knowing what you’re good at thing, seriously resonated with me. I remember feeling that exact same thing when I was teenager, surrounded by people who all seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing. Also, who can’t relate to a crush (that isn’t returned)?
I loved how critical Devon is too. Again, very Emma. She had just the right amount of sarcasm and wit to keep me fully entertained through out the whole thing. Devon was such an Austen type character. The romance was amazing, and very Austen too. As you can tell, I loved making Austen connections. I also, surprisingly got into the football part of the story. There was some serious family drama that meshed well with the relationship drama. And overall, I just ate this book up. I give it a 10/10. I want more.


  1. This sounds lovely Nori - and coming from a non-contemporary reader, that's a big deal LOL! The reviews I've read for this one were all positive so I'm tempted to add it to my tbr shelf :) Glad you enjoyed it so much!

  2. Ohhhh i saw this book a lot around instagram but didn't know what it was about. The cover also doesn't give much away ..... but the idea of the plot sure sounds amazing..... And you have definitely helped make up my mind about getting this... I will definitely buy this one asap.

    Great Review :)
    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex