Firsts: A Novel

Hardcover | January 5, 2016

byLaurie Elizabeth Flynn

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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 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 own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn's Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

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From the Publisher

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...

LAURIE ELIZABETH FLYNN went to school for journalism and later worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris. She lives in London, Ontario, with her husband and her Chihuahua. Firsts is her first novel.

other books by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Soy tu primera vez
Soy tu primera vez

Kobo ebook|May 5 2016

$7.69 online$9.99list price(save 23%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 8.45 × 5.77 × 1.16 inPublished:January 5, 2016Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250075963

ISBN - 13:9781250075963


Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVE!!! I adored this book. Yes, Mercedes' views about sex are problematic; that's part of what makes it great. Firsts is an incredible look at a teenage girl owning her sexuality. Laurie so thoroughly explores the idea of good and bad as well as looking at how girls can end up with misinformed ideas about sex. I definitely think this book is intended for an older audience but it's also a great look at why discussion about sex are important with teens. The struggle of being a teenage girl is REAL and Mercedes learns that first hand. I highly recommend Firsts!
Date published: 2016-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Deep and Powerful Debut Novel ***SPOILER ALERT*** Oh man. This book went into situations a lot of people avoid, and it hit the ball right out of the park. Sex is an uncomfortable subject for some people. Not just teens, but also adults. I didn't know what this book was about until after I preordered it. I had seen so much talk and wonderful reviews about it on Twitter that I knew I had to jump in and see for myself what was so amazing. Sometimes Twitter lets me down for book suggestions, but this one was freaking awesome! I have a love for books that touch on subjects that make people squirm. Mercy was quite the character with a heartbreaking past. Near the end of the book when all is revealed about her past, I cried like a baby. You hear stories similar to Mercys all the time, and it's always hard to listen to. The thing is though that this is something that happens in real life more often than not. People tend to shy away from topics that they don't like, so it's nice to see it being brought to light. I got pregnant with my oldest daughter at the age of 17. I couldn't imagine how she felt finding out she was pregnant and then having him shoo her off like she was just a fly bothering him. I could feel the fear and loneliness she felt coming off of the pages as I read her story. Zach was quite the character. It takes a lot to stick around as a friend after a video of you is posted to the entire school, and you find out all the lies that have been kept from you. He stood by her, feelings and all, until the very end; Even after he was brushed off by her numerous times during the book. It touched my heart that when they did come together, he took the time to show her how it was to be in a relationship. An honest to goodness relationship. Relationships are not about sex. Some are, but in this situation at that age, you really need to slow down and enjoy the other person. It takes a real man to not take advantage of the situation. He knew what she had just walked out of, and he wanted to show her what a real relationship could be. There is a part near the end of the book with Angela when you know something might be happening between her and Charlie and I found myself being so scared for her. I didn't have a good feeling about him when we're first introduced to him in the book, and I know now after finishing that I had a reason not to like him. What a disgusting excuse for a human being. I have no problem telling people how much I absolutely detested his character. The best part of this entire book - Faye and Zach taking it upon themselves to try and focus the school on something more scandalous. Do I think it was the right way to go about it? Maybe not, but the good intention was still there in full force. You couldn't ask for better friends - The ones who are willing to take a bullet themselves to make sure you're okay. Everyone needs to have a friend like that in their life. I loved this book. From beginning to the very last page. Laurie stepped out of a comfort zone and took on something we should be talking about more in life. But Sarah, should we be openly talking about sex more? As a mother of daughters, absolutely. I would hate to have them growing up and NOT wanting to discuss it. I can see this easily being one of my favorite books of 2016!
Date published: 2016-02-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Book that Gives it to You Straight Upon hearing about Firsts, I was intrigued but hesitant. Sex is such a relevant topic in today's world I think it's great it's being talked about. My reservation though was that it might be too mature. Especially with first experiences. Would that work out in a YA novel? The answer is Yes. Much praise go to Ms. Flynn for writing about these important matters: sex and slut-shaming in high school. I can't believe how serious it has become because these were never issues when I went to high school (a bajillion years ago I guess). My firm belief is that sex is nobody's business except the two people involved. Furthermore, no one should make another person feel bad about it. It cracked my heart to see Mercedes being judged and treated so horribly by her peers. These people had no right. They knew nothing about her and the hell she'd personally been through. Mercy, short for Mercedes, was a difficult character for me to pin down my feelings for. She was so closed-off. I admired her for her well-intention and following through with it but I couldn't get behind all the poor choices she made. When things were getting out of control with the virgin boys, she didn't stop. She suspected something was wrong but instead of stopping, she kept making excuses for herself to keep going. It seemed like she was letting these guys take advantage of her and not caring about it. I felt like she was punishing herself (but also enjoying it) for the awful things that happened to her when she was younger. Which was just wrong because it was in no way her fault. Mercy's overconfidence also made me feel uneasy. "I stereotype...because people's personalities develop from a routine, too." (ARC, p. 59). It was a good try, unfortunately it didn't quite work out. The biggest jerk of all blindsides her and me. Reality is harsh and Firsts doesn't let you forget that. When word about what she'd been doing got out, Mercy's life became a nightmare. I was really appalled by who and the method used to expose her secret. I was trembling with hate and outrage. It's so unbelievable and disgusting arghh. I always knew sooner or later, her secret would come out but I was not expecting it in that way. In fact, I couldn't understand how Mercy thought she could keep it all under wraps. I hated that the virgin boys were such cowards and never spoke up for her. At the same time I also understood they were angry and afraid themselves. Ms. Flynn does an excellent job in bringing out that the best of intentions may not be perceived that way. At first, I really wanted Mercy to justify what she did but when I thought more about it, I'm glad she didn't. If I put myself in all those girlfriends' shoes, I'd probably think Mercy's absurd. I only wish some people got more in terms of punishment. Even though Mercy had absent parents, she overcame the hate and insults with faithful friends by her side. Faye was peculiar at the beginning but there are no words for the sacrifice she made for Mercy. I love Angela for sticking to her beliefs. She's a strong one. I absolutely cannot forget about Zach because he made the story for me. If it wasn't for his unrelenting love and support for Mercy (even after she kept pushing him away), I don't think I'd have been able to finish this story. He was the big bright spot. I was pleased with how the story turned out. The character growth was superb. "But all those maybes aren't important, because I can't control them." (ARC, p. 320). This couldn't be truer. There will always be things out of our control. Attempting to control it will only drive yourself crazy so learn to let it go (at its own pace).
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great debut novel Oh Mercedes..She was misguided from the very beginning. From the moment she realized she could "help" virgin boys, to romance their girlfriends when they ended up doing the deed together. A perfect system she created so boys could learn. The entire time I'm thinking it's going to blow up in her face. It was so wrong.. And her heart might have been in the right place, but it wasn't. I felt so much for her. I knew she was keeping something only because she would never talk about the past and you know that's just a prelude to why she is doing something like this and thinking it's right. I love how everyone is blaming her when in reality it's also the boyfriend's fault as well. Mercy gets all the backlash and the boys? Nothing. I think she did the girls all a favour because now they all see what tools their boyfriends are. Then there's Zach who is one of the kindest boys around. Who wants nothing more than to be around her. He made me smile a lot.. Affectionate and caring! Then there's Faye who is held a secret of her own while also becoming a good best friend. What can I say? I like a book where the main character is on the wrong path because I can't wait until she finally realizes the whole time what she was doing was wrong. This is that book. The one book where you're reading from The Homewrecker's point of view. Besides all the labels I found this to be rather heartwarming and real. True to the voice of a teenager who didn't know any better. Who needed something like this to happen to her so she can finally realize for herself that she is worth it. You're going to want to read this if you liked "The Duff". It has similar tendencies and I couldn't stop laughing in the beginning. "Firsts" is a great debut that will definitely pull at your heart strings!
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deep, Emotional and Powerful! Review: Thank you to Raincoast Book Publishing for sending me this book in return for an honest review. When I first received this book, my initial thought was, well I have never read anything like this before so lets see what happens. This was the best decision ever! I loved this book right from the start. Yes it is about sex, but that is besides the point. It is beautifully written and when you discover Mercedes’ backstory, it will open your mind more about this book. I really, really, really enjoyed Mercedes’s journey. After being let down by the people she trusted, seeing her grow despite of that (because of that?) was so satisfying and such a pleasure. I thought it was compelling, awful in parts, with an unconventional narrator who, against the odds, evokes sympathy. It also succeeds where many other YA books have failed: portraying a realistic criticism of and challenge to slut-shaming and double standards. Flynn is fantastic at drawing on underlying pain and making you understand how it affects someone. She also creates fascinating characters and relationships. This book shows the complex relationships Mercedes has with her mom who wishes she was younger, her absent dad, her religious best friend, her “Wednesday friend” who might be something more, the guys whose virginity she takes, and the girlfriends they all have. My heart was crushed even as it was slowly being stitched up from the previous fracture, causing an endless loop of soul-crushing, mind-blowing, and heart-wrenching moments all swirling around in a tornado of feels, making my head spin and my body rebel any chance of sleep. This has been one of the better YA novels that I have read this year. I highly recommend you check it out when it is published in January 2016. -Read On Darlings!
Date published: 2015-12-15

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Editorial Reviews

"A fearless debut that dares you to question what you really know about that girl. Edgy, smart, and heartbreaking, Firsts will stay with you long after the last page." -Amanda Maciel, author of Tease"Emotionally charged... Firsts is a powerful coming of age story that tied my heartstrings in knots. Relevant and riveting... Fans of "Easy A" will root for Mercy." -Caisey Quinn, bestselling author of Leaving Amarillo"A brave debut. Readers will be drawn in by Mercedes and this original story that is near impossible to put down. Gutsy storytelling with both humor and heart." -Lori Goldstein, author of Becoming Jinn