Monday, January 18, 2016

Firsts Blog Tour: Review & Mini Interview!

I'm so excited to be a part of Raincoast Books's FIRSTS blog tour!! I first heard about FIRSTS back in August, and I was immediately intrigued!! When I got an egalley from Netgalley, I actually giggled with glee, and once I started it, I was hooked!

Today for my post in the FIRSTS blog tour, I'm sharing my review and a Q&A with the absolutely fabulous author of FIRSTS, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn! :)

Title: FIRSTS
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Source: egalley from the
publisher through Netgalley
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: January 5, 2016!
Number of Pages: 320 (Hardcover)



Description from Goodreads:

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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LAURIE ELIZABETH FLYNN writes contemporary fiction for young adults. FIRSTS is her debut novel.

Laurie went to school for Journalism, where the most important thing she learned was that she would rather write made-up stories than report the news. She also worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris.

Laurie now lives in London, Ontario with her husband Steve, who is very understanding when she would rather spend time with the people in her head. Laurie can mostly be found writing happily at her desk, with the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua on her lap. Laurie drinks way too much coffee, snorts when she laughs, and times herself when she does crossword puzzles.


Connect with Laurie: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

MY REVIEW

As soon as I started reading FIRSTS, I was hooked! The story itself is incredibly intriguing, the writing is fabulous, and the characters all jump right off the page! I especially loved that it challenged stereotypes about sex, and about female sexuality.

I absolutely LOVED Mercedes. I'm nothing like her, but I really appreciated the honesty of her narrative. She was snarky (which I loved!), and dishonest with her friends, but as a narrator, she held nothing back. While certain parts of her past were revealed later in the story, I really appreciated the transparency that her narrative had when she was considering things, and I loved seeing her slowly open up to the people in her life, too.

I loved that Mercedes for the most part was in control when it came to sex. Her personal reasons for helping out virgins are something that you'll have to read the book to find out about yourself, but she definitely did everything that she did to help them. While her desire to help guys give their girlfriends a good first time was honourable in a way, it did bug me that she was sleeping with guys that had girlfriends. I loved that she was in control of her sexuality, but I did wish that she wasn't sleeping with guys in relationships. There were also a couple of minor moments where I really wish Mercedes had stuck up for herself and stuck to her original decisions, but overall, I was still really happy with this story.

As I said before, I loved how FIRSTS challenged preconceived notions about sex that so many people have. I LOVED that it pushed boundaries, and I loved that even Mercedes' notions about relationships were challenged throughout the story. I loved seeing her friendships grow, and I especially loved when she finally allowed people to see the real her. She changed a lot throughout the story, and that was because she finally decided to start letting people in. Her friendships with Angela, Faye, and Zach were my absolute favourite part of FIRSTS. I did appreciate and love the romance too, but I loved that friendship had such a high importance in the story.

FIRSTS was a wonderful story! The characters were fantastic and complex, and I absolutely loved the writing. I loved how Laurie Elizabeth Flynn challenged so many different preconceived notions about sex, and I'm really looking forward to whatever she writes next! :D

Q&A

1. As FIRSTS is your debut novel, what was the process of writing it like, and what advice would you give to other aspiring authors? 

FIRSTS is my debut novel, but it’s not the first book I wrote. Previously, I wrote two New Adult contemporaries, both of which were meticulously plotted. With FIRSTS, I let myself experiment with a new style of writing: Flying by the seat of my pants. I had the hook and the main character’s name, but that was it. I was both ridiculously excited and scared to start writing, but as soon as I wrote the first line, I knew this method was a great fit for me. I wrote quickly and freely and finished the first draft in three weeks as opposed to several months. Most importantly, I had so much fun!

One thing I’d tell aspiring authors is to not be afraid to experiment with their writing. Not every project will follow the same formula, and that’s okay. Take chances. Take risks. Try new things. Tackle ideas that scare you. Most of all, write what you want to write, because that’s the story only you can tell.

2. If your characters went to Hogwarts, which houses do you think they would belong to and why? 

 What a fun question! I think Mercedes would be a Slytherin. She’s very ambitious and resourceful and has a plan to get what she wants in life. Zach would be a Hufflepuff. He’s incredibly loyal, patient, and kind. Angela would be a Ravenclaw—she’s smart and sensible and doesn’t like surprises. Faye… well, Faye would definitely be a Gryffindor. She’s bold, daring, and has a heart of gold.

 (Fun fact: I’m a Slytherin!)

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I loved Laurie's answers to my questions!! She's given some great advice for writers, and I love her Harry Potter house picks for her characters!! I definitely agree with them all!! :D

What do you think?
Does FIRSTS sound like something you'd like to read?
And what did you think of my Q&A with Laurie?

6 comments:

  1. This is one that I have on my TBR but I don't think it's one that I will try to get to right away. I'm just so tired of sex being in YA books. I'm glad that you enjoyed it though and were able to participate in the tour. :)

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    1. It's definitely on the mature side of the YA spectrum. :P I'm not really sick of YA having sex, but I do agree, that it's definitely not a genre where I prefer it to be. This one does a good job of handling it in a unique way though. Thanks, Jess! :)

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  2. Glad you enjoyed this one, Ambur! I'm not 100% sure I would like this one myself... I find it really hard to excuse cheating in books. But on the other hand, I do like books that challenge my point of view on certain subjects. And the author sounds cool! She answered that Hogwarts House question well :)

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    1. Thanks, Eilidh! :) The cheating definitely wasn't my favourite part, but I did still like Mercedes. :) That's exactly how I felt about it, too. It was nice that it challenged the norms. Ya! I completely agree. :D She answered the Hogwarts question like a pro! ;)

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  3. This one sounds like an interesting read. I like that it takes a bit of a different angle on female sexuality. Although I don't like that the boys are in relationships. Like, if I was one of the girls and I found out that my boyfriend slept with Mercedes like that, I would be so angry.

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    1. Oh yeah! I think we all would be...and trust me the girls are. I'm sure that doesn't even count as a spoiler. While I wasn't a big fan of them being in relationships, I did like that the book definitely challenged preconceived notions about sex. It also challenges how girls are treated when they do enjoy sex or are more experienced, and I really did appreciate that aspect of it. It was very different than how a lot of other stories and narratives handle it. :)

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