Wednesday, November 11, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': first & then

First & Then by Emma Mills



synopsis: 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.

full review under the cut! 

 I picked this book up looking for something cute and quick to read, and was mostly attracted by the cover and the line "Pride and Pejudice meets Friday Night Lights." I was not expecting to love this one as much as I did. Even through the first thirty or so pages, I wasn't completely hooked, just enjoying a nice, cute read. Then, suddenly, I was done. I didn't even notice the moment where I got sucked into what was happening,  just that it happened, and all of a sudden I was finished with this novel and wanting more.

That being said, I loved this book. I loved how the romance intertwined with friendship and changing family dynamics, and I thought it was paced nicely. The one thing that I will say about this book is that it fell into the category that a lot of other contemporaries do for me. I will reach the end of the book, and everything is resolving nicely, and then it ends abruptly. I always want a little bit more than the getting-together-and-kissing moment, and sometimes it frustrates me that there isn't another chapter, or at least an epilogue at the end of these types of stories. Which is the reason that this one is 4.5 and not 5 stars for me.

Aside from that small complaint. I absolutely loved this book!  It snuck up on me, how good it was, and I appreciate that so much. I feel like there was a lot of hype surrounding this book in the last month or so, and it definitely lived up to my expectations for it.

I loved the way the characters developed over the course of the novel. Devon, our amazing protag,  went from someone who was unsure of what she wanted for her life, and really someone who was unsure and indecisive about everything, to someone who knew what she wanted and did what she had to do to get it. I think that her development had a lot to do with Foster, not because he pushed her to do things, but because she felt like she should do them for him, both to set an example for him and also because she could where he couldn't always. (if that makes sense at all haha) As in, Foster didn't have a lot of opportunities before he came to live with the Tennysons, and Devon recognized this fact and it made her want to try harder, which I think was a really good thing for her. Also, how much of a dickhead was Cas to Devon? When he was talking about how everyone knew that she was in love with him and he didn't want to hurt her feelings, I was like "MOVE ALONG!!! Kick him to the curb Devon!!!!" UGH I'm so glad she saw the light and knew that she could do better than him. Even in the beginning, I was thinking that he seemed a little off to me, I just didn't like him and I was so glad when she began to see the light. I just liked how Devon really started living during this nove, not just going through the motions.

Foster was such a cute and amazing aspect of this novel. I loved him so much– especially for how he was able to be so open and loving to everyone, which I felt like helped both Devon and Ezra to show more of their feelings. I feel like having someone as honest and open as Foster in your life would have a huge impact on your life, but I also loved how he had his own struggles, things that Devon had to help him get through, so their relationship was truly like a sibling one, giving and taking, showing each other things even when the other didn't want to see. One of my favorite parts of the novel was how most of the football guys just accepted and loved Foster. The girls loved him too, which I just found hilarious because he didn't know how to handle it. The relationship between Foster and Ezra was adorable, one of the best aspects of this novel for sure. That was the moment where I was realized that I liked Ezra, when he was being so kind to Foster.

ALSO can we talk about Ezra?? I was smiling so hard at so many parts in this novel, mostly because of him and how dumb and cute he is. When he asked Devon to the dance, that was one of my favorite parts because of how stutter-y he was being, and then all the parts when they were having heart to hearts. HE READ JANE AUSTEN FOR HER?? Dreams. The letter that he wrote to the paper that was really for her? The part where he tells her that he isn't good with feelings while simultaneously stomping all over mine? GOD he was just so so good. Not perfect, obviously, because he needs to lean to use his words, but such a great Darcy-esque character.

I also loved the side characters a lot, especially Jordan and how nice he was to Devon. I really really enjoyed this novel, I think it was a great portrayal of a senior year type contemporary. I would definitely recommend it to you if you are looking for something that will make you squeal from cuteness, but also make you feel a lot of things for a lot of different characters.



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