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. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite some time. I even took a trip to Barnes & Noble one day specifically to buy it and it was sold out! So I ordered it online and when it came, even though I was in the middle of reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, I picked this one up anyway and read it in about two days.
The description of this book made me think of the movie Easy A with Emma Stone which has a similar concept – except Emma Stone pretends to have sex with geeky guys to improve their street cred, whereas Mercedes really does have sex with these guys.
And have sex she certainly does. Almost every chapter through the first half of the book or more features a sex scene, so if that’s not your thing (not sure why you would look at this book if it wasn’t) then I would say this book is definitely not for you.
Firsts gets a bit darker than I was anticipating. I thought this book would be mostly fluff but there are some pretty uncomfortable scenes and certain chapters were a little difficult for me to read which I was definitely not expecting.
I’m having a bit of a hard time organizing my thoughts on this book. I sped through it, it kept my attention the entire time, and yet I just don’t know if I actually liked it. This sounds strange seeing as though I gave it 3.5 stars, so now I’m going to start thinking aloud via text:
I found Mercedes to be extremely irritating, and though the book was meant to evoke sympathy for her, I just kept thinking “How can she think this is okay?” She was selfish, oblivious, and well, irritating. “I’m going to sleep with your boyfriend and take his virginity even though you guys have been dating for a long time and that should be something special for you, but don’t worry – I’m doing it to help you, I swear.” That logic just makes no sense and for someone who is obsessed with chemistry because it follows a formula and always has a right or wrong answer, I would expect her to understand that what she was doing was wrong.
I didn’t like her best friend Angela that much and I honestly did not understand their friendship at all. They had absolutely nothing in common and Mercedes spent their entire friendship lying to her.
The shining light of this book came in the form of Zach. He was one of the only characters I actually enjoyed reading about and he was way too good for Mercedes. Not sure what he saw in her, actually.
The other thing I just couldn’t get past was how unrealistic the whole thing seemed. Without getting spoiler-y, Mercedes didn’t really have any experience with sex when she started this venture so I’m not really sure how she felt like she could be an expert. She has an entire closet full of lingerie and costumes, but she originally never wanted to sleep with more than 5 guys so why/how did she become so prepared? There just seemed to be a lot of flaws in the storylines in general.
Also – she really didn’t think people would find out?! COME ON. These are horny high school boys, yo! Of course they’re going to talk.
And finally: I just felt like certain plot lines were never really resolved. There was this whole thing with her dad that started to happen and then we just never heard anything about it again.
Okay, now that I got all that out I will say this: Firsts is a fairly quick read and it is engrossing and as I was reading it I felt like I was enjoying it. It was only after I finished and started to collect my thoughts that I realized all of the things that nagged at me.
I’ve read several reviews on Goodreads and I’m glad to see I’m not alone – but there are plenty of 4 and 5 stars from people who loved it.
Have you read this one? What did you think?