Friday YA: First & Then by Emma Mills

Only child Devon Tennyson has had her world changed. Her cousin Foster has come to live with she and her parents and now she has the little brother she never wanted. Her safe world has turned upside down and changes are on the horizon, her safe crush on her best friend Cas is pushed to the back burner by first, her cousin Foster, and second by all star quarterback Ezra. Being teamed with both of them in her P.E. class starts a chain of events that changes her world.

I have read one other Emma Mills story, Foolish Hearts. Whereas that novel was different than this one, there was one similarity that I enjoyed seeing adapted again. Both of the female main characters were plodding along and their young worlds got shook up. In First & Then the catalyst is her cousin Foster. His childhood circumstances were heartbreaking and whereas Devon was empathetic, it took Ezra befriending Foster for her to see the big picture and open her heart to enfold Foster into her life.

Devon’s love for Jane Austen is mentioned quite a few times in this novel and you can’t help but make Pride & Prejudice comparisons. Especially between Ezra and Darcy. Her view of Ezra as a snobby standoffish jock was similar to Elizabeth’s of Darcy. As with Pride and Prejudice, when Devon’s crush Cas is actually falling for another girl, it is Ezra who quietly steps in to make her feel good about herself. Albeit in a quiet, non communicative way. I really couldn’t wait until they got past all of the miscommunications and red herrings that were thrown into their path. A sign of a good story and the reader being invested in the relationships for sure!

If you enjoy YA contemporary’s with a hint of romance this novel is the perfect fit for you. Devon is a great leading heroine, but beware, Foster steals the show in this one. He is adorkably cute. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions From around the Blogosphere

This is a story of love and loss, friendship and family, the high school experience. It’s also about a town and it’s love for football and tradition. It’s about the effects of drunk driving and addiction on the lives of those left behind. It’s a beautiful story of a girl who becomes less judgemental, more assertive and finds love.” My World of Books

“First & Then is a very cute, lovely, heartwarming, funny story about friendship and family, and figuring out what you want in life, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary YA, especially if they’re a bit sick of the large doses of romance in that genre.” The Reading Hobbit

Click this link to purchase!* First & Then

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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Friday YA: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

At a “Last party before Senior year starts” party, Claudia has escaped to the restroom where she is the unwilling witness to favorite couple Iris and Paige’s breakup. Caught in the act, Claudia tries to stay out of the rather mean girl Iris’ way, but ends up getting paired with her for a school assignment. Iris is not over her breakup and hates Claudia for witnessing it so isn’t the greatest partner for a project and surprise!… they fail. In order to get extra credit, their teacher makes them try out for the school play A Midsummer’s Nights Dream. There, Claudia’s world is upended. She meets a flirty boy, makes new friendships, and discovers a whole world outside her comfort zone. Oh, and she totally gets William Shakespeare.

I was totally surprised by Foolish Hearts. The premise wasn’t that unusual, but the author did a great job of capturing the flavors of new friendships, betrayal and first love. Claudia was used to living in the secure world she knew. Best friends with Zoe, the girl she grew up with, she never needed any other friends. Going to an all girl school, while Zoe remained in public school, Claudia was content with her world, but it was time for a shakeup. When she witnessed Paige and Iris’ breakup, she feels bad for Iris, even though she’s really hard to be around. When they both start work on the school play Claudia becomes the friend that Iris never wanted. I really loved how Claudia just kept going back for Iris’s abuse and saw through her mean girl act.

Gideon is the class clown, but the clown everyone laughs with and not at. He is uber popular, cute and an all around nice guy. The dialog between Claudia and Gideon was written so well. Even though it was PG-13 it was clever and full of wit, I found myself smiling at the great energy these two made together. He was not all surface charm and had hidden depths that came out as the story developed. This made Gideon multi dimensional and even more enjoyable to read.

There was a lot of drama in this high school romance, but there was also a lot of fun. The story and dialog was intricate and I got totally wrapped into the plot and characters forgetting that I am not the target reader for this type of book. That is a true compliment to the author. She made me forget my age! (If only more books could do this! LOL) Truly, Foolish Hearts had a great story that was easy to love and characters that learned and grew as the story moved forward. The name Foolish Hearts was apropos for the amount of relationship drama featured in this book, but I think it’s also a play on words to the relationship drama found in Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Maybe the author should rename this book Clever Hearts instead! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Foolish Hearts

Click this link to purchase! Foolish Hearts

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am an Amazon Associates member and receive a very small stipend if you were to purchase this book through the above link.