Review: FIRST & THEN


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Author: Emma Mills
Release date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Pages: 272
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook



Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy 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, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive jock, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them–first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

With wit, heart, and humor to spare, First & Then is a contemporary novel about falling in love–with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.


NOTE: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

The Review

FIRST & THEN is a hilarious and incredibly sweet one-sit read that is certain to leave every reader smiling. With writing that is clever and witty and engaging, a story that has just the right amounts of romantic tension, and a likable main character who is outrageously funny, who at times lives in her own world, and who is a huge fan of all things Jane Austen, it promises to be an instantly captivating, utterly enchanting, feel-great read.

Devon Tennyson hadn’t planned on sharing her home and her life with Foster, a cousin she barely knew. She hadn’t planned on much, actually. It was her senior year and she still hadn’t really figured out what she was going to do about college. She hadn’t even found a way to tell her best friend about her years-long crush on him.

Whether she wanted them to or not, things were changing. She could no longer sit on the sidelines of her own unextraordinary life. She had a goal to aim for, a cousin who needed her, a best friend who needed the truth, and an infuriating but drop-dead gorgeous boy she needed to figure out. Even if she didn’t have all the answers right now, she would. She just needed to ask herself, “What would Jane do?”

Author Emma Mills created a positively delightful story with FIRST & THEN. It was heartwarming. It was amusing. It had moments that were bittersweet. It was immensely entertaining. It had a main character who was very relatable, who showed tremendous growth, compassion, awareness. It introduced a nice mix of secondary characters who were forthright or reserved, mysterious or open books, confident, arrogant, humble, lovable, detestable, and intriguing.

This is a story that will make you laugh out loud. It will make you empathize with what Devon, Foster and Ezra are each going through. It will make you root for Devon to discover what’s right in front of her, to become that better person she wants to be, and to have the kind of happy ending she deserves.

FIRST & THEN is a story about love, about loss, about survival, about being the best self you can be and accepting no less than what you deserve. It delivers everything you could want in a story in this genre and more. It’s a quick, enjoyable and rather remarkable read, that if I do say so myself is an absolute must.

The Rating


About Emma Mills

Emma Mills

Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also cocreator and cohost of the “life skills” channel How to Adult.


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