Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Published January 2016
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself. Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed. When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process.
I've been intrigued with this book since the moment I saw it on somebody else's to-read shelf on Goodreads. The entire concept seemed fascinating to me - a story about a girl who spends her days helping boyfriends practice to give their girlfriends the best first times they could imagine. It's a bit of an odd concept to wrap your mind around, and to some people, it definitely is still viewed as cheating. It's...interesting to say the least, and I definitely recommend giving the book a try yourself, because it'll explain a lot of things about the situation without me having to spoil anything.
Mercy's character was definitely an interesting one. She had a rough home life growing up, and a pretty terrible first time herself, so she's made it her personal crusade to help teach virgin boys the right way to have sex so they'll be able to give their girlfriends the first time that she never had. (The book gets a bit graphic at times, just a bit of a warning for you squeamish and/or younger readers.) So, in a twisted way, she's trying to do the right thing for these girls, not just take their boyfriends and use them for sex.
(Minor spoilers ahead so skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) The only thing that really kept me from giving this book five stars was the fact that no matter how many times she said she wouldn't, Mercy kept making the wrong decision. In regards to the virgins, Zach, everybody. Obviously she's going to make a few mistakes, because if she did the right thing every single time there would be nothing to write the book about, but it got to the point that she kept making the same mistakes again and again, and it was so obvious that it began to get a little irritating. (Such as when she kept saying that a boy was the last virgin she was going to help, but then kept saying "oh, one more" ... it got to the point where she was starting to resemble a drug addict, expect with boys instead of substances.) That's really the only thing about this book that I wasn't crazy about.
I was also super shocked with her mother, Kim - I couldn't ever imagine my mother, or any mother for that matter, being so carefree about her daughter's sex life. As a matter of fact, if I ever even attempted to get away with half of the things that Mercy did, my mother would actually murder me every which was from Sunday.
Fay was a character that I liked in the story, because she was such a free spirit and a good person, even when she didn't know Mercy that well. She's the kind of best friend that we all aspire to be - even if she had to take some extreme measures to help Mercy at times. Her and Mercy's unconventional friendship was definitely the highlight of the book for me.
All in all, Firsts was an easy yet interesting read about trying to right your wrongs in some very unconventional ways. It definitely wasn't a story line that I've ever read before, so it was nice to read something refreshing and new. I'd definitely read more of Laurie Elizabeth Flynn's work in the future, because she has a writing style that I really enjoy and a talent for a plot that hasn't been seen before, which isn't an easy talent to have in a world surrounded by so many stories.
Long story short, I definitely recommend adding this book to your TBR and giving it a try if you're a contemporary fan!