PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Griffin
DATE PUBLISHED: 5th January 2016
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfils 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.
This book is written in the first person from the perspective of the main character, Mercedes. Some of the statements made by Mercedes really shocked me but I believe that was the intent of the author, to take a look at the sexuality in modern high school and a look at slut shaming in modern society.
Mercedes is an intensely unlikeable and misguided character, whose perception on right and wrong is extremely skewed. Mercedes character develops through the book where she can be content letting go of the control and just coasting along, which is a big step for her. While I do not believe she ever becomes a fully likeable character, Mercedes does begin to understand the error of her ways and through the book the readers are given a background to this character that works towards explaining how her life led her in this direction.
Love: Mercedes lacks love in a lot of her life and when unconditional love is presented to her she cannot accept it. This may be due to the lack of affection se experienced at home or her past experiences. The development for Mercedes to a point where she can begin to accept this amazing.
Control: Control is a big part of why Mercedes does the tings she does. She wants control as it was taken away from her in the past. Another aspect of the character development was the eventual ability of Mercedes to begin to let go.
Friendship: I think the only thing that really held Mercedes together was her friendships with Angela, Zach, and eventually, Faye.
While I do not agree with a lot of the choices Mercedes makes, I believe the plot moved well and the overall conflict of the story was explored along with aspects such slut shaming and sexuality in high schools.
This novel left me thinking about the contents long after I had finished the last page and if you can take in the main concept of the book from a third party perspective, not being for or against Mercedes actions you may end up liking this book. Many will take offence to the main conflict of the book and the perspective Mercedes holds and that is OK, this is meant to be a controversial book and that was achieved.
Keep Calm and Read On,