Archives

First & Then – Emma Mills

First & Then – Emma MillsTitle: First & Then by Emma Mills
Publishing Info: October 13, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 21, 2015

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.

bookreview1

Admittedly I haven’t read any Jane Austen but when “Friday Night Lights” is thrown into a book description, you better believe my ears have perked and my interest is caught! I’m actually not a huge football fan in general but the football games throughout from freshman to senior year were a big part of my high school experience so I really hold some nostalgic feelings for them! Naturally, by the time I got around to reading FIRST & THEN, I was very excited!

The first thing that stuck out to me about the book was the characters. Devon is the protagonist of the book and I both related to her and had a hard time connecting to her all at once. She’s a senior and keeps getting pushed to figure out what colleges to apply to and what she wants to do with the rest of her life and really has no clue. I really enjoyed seeing that theme because that’s exactly how I felt in high school. I knew I was going to a community college for two years to save money because I got a scholarship but I hadn’t the slightest idea what sort of career I wanted or how to set up the rest of my life at eighteen so I really connected with Devon on that level quite a bit! I thought Emma Mills did a great job at setting up that range of emotions for Devon and how hard it was to have that pressure from people. Where I didn’t connect was that Devon didn’t really care — I was an avid student and I enjoyed school, working hard to get good grades. Devon wasn’t a bad student but she has more of a general apathy towards school so while I was able to latch onto the idea of the book, it was actually sort of hard for me to connect with Devon on that level. I think I kept trying to make my connection with her more personal but that wasn’t quite working out so it took me a while to warm to her.

It was also a toss-up for me on the overall themes of the book. It wasn’t quite Jane Austen meets Friday Night Lights in regard to the plot… and yet it was. Usually when you hear mash-ups, I feel like they’re both plot-related but Jane Austen is actually a big part of Devon’s life and is referenced directly many times throughout the books so it’s not just a Jane Austen-feel. For me not having read any Austen, it actually sort of made me disconnect instead of pulling me in. I’m probably in the minority in that respect (not having read any of her books) so the references were both lost on me and made me feel more disconnected from Devon. “Fright Night Lights” really just means “high school football” but I really did get that feel from FIRST & THEN. I liked how prevalent football was throughout the book but it also didn’t take over the entire plot.

I had a bit of a hard time connecting in the beginning, possibly just because I wasn’t really similar to the characters and their situations weren’t very similar to my own. I think with contemporary novels, I tend to try to relate and put myself in a character’s shoes and I didn’t get a good “fit” until halfway through the book. The ending, however, I felt very connected to and there were so many instances that really mirrored my own experiences. It was a bit late to make up for the beginning but I was really glad that I finally started to pick up on all those lingering feelings and really start to feel comfortable with the characters as well.

The romantic plot of the book, I thought, was great. I won’t spoil anything but it was a great theme of “you can’t always get what you want” but Devon finds a place in her own life — with home, friends, and love life — and she does a lot of growing up seeing how much better things turned out after she didn’t get what she wanted. I did a lot of learning in regards to that message throughout high school and college so I really enjoyed watching Devon’s journey to discover those things for herself!

For a while, I was worried that I wasn’t going to connect with FIRST & THEN but I ended up being overwhelmed by all of the emotions towards the end of the book so it really balanced out to a very solid read. I think so many readers will enjoy this and be able to see pieces of themselves in the characters. I can’t wait to read more reactions and reviews! view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

first & then GR updates

character_breakdown1

Devon // Character Obsessions: Jane Austen, her crush, surviving high school.
Devon was kind of a hard character to get a read on at first! It wasn’t that she hated school but she just didn’t really care for it and had no idea what she wanted to do for college or if she wanted to go at all, so I guess I felt a little lost with her for a while when she was feeling lost. I really started to get along with her better towards the end of the book but I was having a really hard time getting a read on her in the beginning!
Foster // Character Obsessions: Marching to the beat of his own drum, routines, football.
You know what, I think all of the characters were just hard to get a read on. I really ended up enjoying Foster’s character but I couldn’t quite tell what was up with him. It was clear that he was very different from Devon but was it different in a way that implies lack of all social awareness? Was it that he didn’t care? Was it a little of both? Was it because of something that happened to him? I guess the answer is maybe all of the above but it was interesting to figure out Foster while getting to know him instead of being directed told why he is the way he is. I guess it was a tad confusing but also very natural the way it unfolded.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Football. I don’t watch professional football but this reminded me of my high school days a lot. I loved the football aspect!
Left Me Wanting More: Character accessibility. I kind of felt like everyone was a little closed off and it took me a long time to warm to quite a few of the characters… but the good news is that I did connect!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was a really fun book! Like I said, I had a bit of a hard time in the beginning trying to get a feel for the book and the characters but I absolutely loved the end! Balanced out to be a solid read for me and I know others loved it too!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE FIRST & THEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

BETTER OFF FRIENDS     CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL

GIVEAWAY

I’ve got an ARC of FIRST & THEN to give away along with my post! Just enter the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win! US residents only, please. Must be 13 years of age or older to enter. Giveaway closes on 10/7. 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: First & Then by Emma Mills | “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”

Welcome to the blog tour for FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be on the blog tour for FIRST & THEN! Macmillan and Fierce Reads have put together a really fun and creative blog tour and I’m totally thrilled to be partaking! Each blogger on the tour has been assigned a different senior superlative as the theme for their post and along with recommending some books to go with the theme, Emma Mills will be appearing on some of the blogs as well with her own post! My senior superlative theme is “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” — people/characters who have changed and grown the most. I have all of that and more for you today so thanks for joining me for the FIRST & THEN blog tour and I hope you have a lot of fun!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to talk a little about the book! I had a really fun time reading this one. I’m *whispers: actually not a Jane Austen fan* but I did see that there was a very strong influence in FIRST & THEN! I also loved how it really reminded my of my own high school experiences and that of many others: not sure what to do about college, feeling a bit lost about a major, and of course friendship and relationship complications. I ended up really connecting with the book and I think it’s one that many will enjoy!

Blog Tour: First & Then by Emma Mills | “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”Title: First & Then by Emma Mills
Publishing Info: October 13, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 21, 2015
Related Posts: First & Then

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.

GUEST POST FROM EMMA MILLS

For the tour today, Emma Mills wrote a little post for us all about how much she has personally changed since high school to fit with the designated theme of this blog tour stop! 

  1. I am much less terrified of public speaking! Back in the day, even talking on the phone made me nervous. But I’ve grown much more comfortable with communicating! 
  2. Admittedly, I’m a much better driver. I didn’t learn to drive on the highway until I was twenty, because the idea of it just stressed me out! One time in high school I accidentally got on the freeway, and it was like that scene in Clueless.  
  3. My palate has definitely broadened—back in the day, I was not terribly adventurous, food-wise!

I can totally relate to #2 and #3! Highway driving was scary in high school (but I finally convinced my parents that I could handle it) and I have a much more diverse palate now than I did when I was younger! Thanks to Emma for sharing some fun details for us to get to know her a bit better! 

BOOK RECS!

I also get to done one of my most favorite things ever in this post and that’s hand-select some books to go with the “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” theme! Today I’m sharing my favorite books/series for character growth. I was really excited to get this topic because character growth is something that’s really important to me and something that I appreciate. I feel like I’ve come a long way since high school —  no wait, since college — no wait, since even after college — and I feel like such a different person. Anyway, here are my favorites if you’re looking for some great character development and growth!

character growth contemporary

CONTEMPORARY

dystopian fantasy character growth

DYSTOPIAN & FANTASY

I feel like every single one of these authors excels at character development and growth. If you’re looking for a book where a character really comes to terms with who they are and changes themself for the better, you can’t miss with one of these books. Of course, each of these is really well done overall but the characters in them are just amazing and some of the characters I’ve connected most with throughout my entire lifetime as a reader. I’ve really come to cherish them and care for them along the way!

OTHER BLOGS ON THE TOUR

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the blogs on the tour! You won’t want to miss this one. Each blog has their own superlative theme and I know I’m personally going to check out each and everyone one of them because I’m so excited for this unique blog tour!

FirstAndThenBlogTourImage_9.9 (1)

GIVEAWAY

Of course we can’t let you go without a giveaway! Macmillan is offering one finished, hardcover copy for one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below! US residents only, please! Must be 13 years of age or older to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway