First & Then by Emma Mills was supposed to be my first video blog post. As you can see, this is not a vlog. I guess I’m a little too camera shy. When I was reading this book, I enjoyed it so much because it reminded me of a cheesy romantic comedy. I think in the book world we can sometimes be a little snobby toward the overused tropes and over the top lovey-dovey romance outside of the romance genre. I’m calling BS on that. Romantic comedies sell really well, and so do books that have elements of romance. If they did help a book sell, then authors would stop adding romance to stories! I thought it would be cool to share my thoughts about this book through a visual medium, but you’re stuck with just my old writing. When I eventually work up the courage to post a video blog, I’ll be sure to keep them short and simple, like my reviews.
First & Then is about a high school girl, Devon Tennyson, who is trying to figure out her not-so-distant life after high school. Mills brings an interesting cast of characters to help Devon sort through her senior year concerns and worries. Foster is her recently abandoned younger cousin. Cas is her male best friend, on whom she is obviously crushing. And where would this book be without the superstar jock (jerk) athlete Ezra. Let me tell you, this book was cute. It was definitely romcom material cute.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the amount of character development the author was able to go into without it seeming too forced. Cas was by far the least developed character, and as a reader I was a little confused as to why Devon even liked him. Ezra, was a great character. I felt he was developed pretty well, and generally had high school boy emotions. Sometimes I find that authors write HS boys like they’re heaven descended on earth. They are not. Not even the good ones. So I appreciate what Mills did with Ezra.
Although the character development is good, I think the plot had a little too many points. This book touches on so many different topics – from drug use to anger management to coming-of-age-isms. Mills was trying to do a lot. I think in attempts to tie everything up into a cute bow, some of these points were lost or brushed over. This would be the one issue that I had with the book. I think that it should have had about 60 more pages to further expand on some of those plot points and make the ending feel less flat.
I think that anyone who wants a cute, fast read should consider picking up this YA book. It left me with warm fuzzies.
Until Next Time World…