Review // Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Monday, April 30, 2018

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
Rating: 2 Stars
Source: Gift
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320

Summary (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.

So, I think that this is going to be a book that I like less and less the more that I write in my review. I tentatively gave it a three stars on Goodreads because I really don't know what to think. I really didn't like it in the beginning, but maybe the characters and the story started to grow on me.

I am probably going to do more ranting than reviewing and will DEFINITELY not try to avoid spoilers.

I feel like there should be trigger warnings on this book for sexual assault and bulimia.


Mercedes seems to be super confident in the bedroom and with her body. You know, rockin' herself some sexy lingerie and gettin' her freak on. She seems to know what she likes and she won't let these boys do things to her that she doesn't like. I appreciated that about her.

Mercedes always practices safe sex. No glove, no love.

This book introduces a new girl at school who kind of makes Mercedes question her sexuality. And I mean, I guess I could be wrong, but it might be refreshing for some people to be able to see someone kind of questioning if they're into girls?


Okay, so basically Mercedes is a sex coach. Her first time was terrible and she wants to make sure that other girls have a magical first time. So she goes around doing random girls 'favors' by taking their boyfriends' virginities and coaching them on how the whole night should go.

I literally don't know why I thought I would like this. I knew that that was what this book was about. But I guess I thought it would be somehow different.

Some things I don't understand:

1. I don't recall if the book said if she had any sexual partners (or how many she had) between her awful first time (that I found to basically be sexual assault) and when she started doing this sex coaching thing, but where did she get all this experience from to be able to coach these boys (if it turns out she had some partners between the two things, disregard this point)?

2. Why does she assume that the things she likes in bed will be the same things that these other girls will like? I don't think sexual preferences are universal. Let them experiment together.

3. Why does she assume that a girl's first time won't be special if her boyfriend has no experience? They're both nervous about their first time. Why does she think it won't be perfect for them to explore this new experience together?

4. I really just don't understand why she feels the need to interject herself into other people's sex lives? I don't remember exactly why she started doing this, but I think she overheard some girls talking in the bathroom about how one of them was thinking about having sex with her boyfriend for the first time and so she goes out and finds the boyfriend in question and tells him she can help him. Mind your own business, girl!

5. SERIOUSLY, why does this girl think that everyone's first time will be awful if she doesn't do something about it?!

And while, I think that this book does send some good messages about safe sex, there was one thing that stood out to me to be a bad message. I don't exactly remember what page or what exactly was said because I no longer have the book to look it up, but I think it was on page 5. Mercedes is with this boy and is coaching him on what he should do and at one point she asks him what he would do at that particular point. He said that he would ask if he could touch her breasts and she told him he should never ask if something is okay. Or something along those lines.

That is a bad message. It's always okay to ask if something you want to do to another person is okay. I mean, for goodness sake, this is going to be their first time. Why would you not ask if certain things are okay? I think that was the point that I realized this book was not going to be for me.

There are not really any decent friendships in this book either. Mercedes' best friend is Angela, but it's basically one of those friendships that is only for convenience. Like, I'll call you if I need something from you. They never hang out. Then there's the new girl, Faye. But that friendship isn't even really a good one, Mercedes is questioning whether there's something more there, it's not just a buddy-buddy friendship. 

Then there's Zach, who is Mercedes' 'Wednesday friend'. Like he comes over to her house at lunch every Wednesday and they have sex. She has no interest in him as a person. He kind of wants to be something more with her, but she is not down for that. And like, cool for having no strings attached sex. You do you. But I think that you need to stop and find a new Wednesday friend if it starts to seem like you're stringing your current one along.

And then of course, word gets out about what Mercedes has been doing with all these boys. But I don't really think that the reaction when she's found out is unfair. Like, she slept with 15 boys IN THE SAME SCHOOL that all had girlfriends. Like, have sex with whoever you want, however often you want, but like to purposely have sex with only boys that are in relationships? No. I think those girls have every right to be mad at her. I think they should definitely be mad at their boyfriends too, but we don't get to see what happens in depth in all of those relationships.

And at one point, she even started to realize that what she was doing was never really about the girls she was supposedly helping. She kind of started to think something was up when she started getting boys who were clearly not virgins or who she didn't even know who their girlfriends were. And that just makes this even less okay to me. It's an entire book about people ACTIVELY CHEATING on their girlfriends. With a girl who KNOWS that's what's happening.

I mean, sure these boys are nervous, I think there's even a passage in the book about boys being expected to like, just automatically be good at it or know what they're doing or whatever. But their girlfriends are nervous too. Why can't they just get used to this new activity TOGETHER?! Doesn't that make it even more special!?!?!

BUT ALSO, the boy (Angela's boyfriend, I don't remember his name) who had someone put a CAMERA in Mercedes' room (WHO IS UNDER 18) to record her having sex with all these high school boys (WHICH SOME ARE PROBABLY ALSO UNDER 18) in order to blackmail her into having sex with him, he should be in jail for distributing child pornography or something like that. He was over 18. He put a camera in her room and released the tapes to everyone in their school because he was butt hurt that she wouldn't let him give her the D because she knew Angela wasn't ready to have sex and she didn't want her best friend's boyfriend to cheat on her with her.

OH YEAH, there are several occasions where Mercedes makes like.. bulimia jokes. NOT COOL.


As I got further into this book, I did start to like it a little bit more. I think it was as I got to know Mercedes better as a character. She has a crappy home life. Her dad left the family. Her mom is always out partying, like wishing she was a kid again instead of having to raise a kid. Mercedes definitely does not have a good support system.

This book makes it obvious from the beginning that something bad happened in her past. Basically when she was like 13, she had an older boyfriend (like older high school student, not like super creepy older, but also still probably too old) who like talked her into having sex with him because that's what boyfriends and girlfriends do. I don't think she even really wanted to do it, but she wanted to keep him happy or something, I don't remember. And then he dropped her like a hot potato. And she ended getting pregnant from it and he like places all the blame on her or something. I don't really remember. I don't know that it was actually NOT consensual, but I don't feel like she was totally wanting to do that. I just don't remember and I can't look it up now!!

But yeah, basically as I got to know some of the characters more, I started to like it a bit more. And as like, Mercedes started to let some of these people in her life get closer to her, I started to like her more.

Overall, I think that this book was definitely a miss for me. I think that it has some good points, safe sex, empowered girls, etc. But I just feel like the bad overpowered the good.

Just remember kids, it's always good to ask if something you're doing is okay.

And that boy who released what was basically Mercedes' sex tape should be in jail and put on the registry.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I think I got a little heated.


  1. I'm sorry you didn't like this one! I haven't read it personally. It's not my type of book :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Great review!

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

    1. I thought it would be my type of book, but I was unfortunately mistaken. And I picked that one up when I did because I had just read and loved Simon Vs so I figured YES TO CONTEMPORARY and picked that one up right away and it wasn't my best move.

  2. I have this and I set it aside at about 50% in because I couldn't take it anymore. I need to finish it because I want to write a scathing review. Ha ha. Thanks for reminding me about it. Another thing that bugged me was the if you're a jock you like this, or if you're a nerd you like that. Stupid! And when she broke out that leather whip or whatever it was, I was thinking... this is being promoted as YA for goodness sake. 😱

    1. I definitely want to read your scathing review. I forgot about the whip! These are high school virgins, wtf do they need their first time to include whips for?! That was a bit ridiculous.


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