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. (Goodreads)
*I received this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
4/5 stars, breezed through this
Firsts was a surprising read. When I saw the description, I thought, eh, I'll give this contemporary a try, but I couldn't put this book down. The characters and story drew me in with no mercy (no pun intended). While I don't condone MUCH of this book (cheating, lying, and the sorts), and the main character isn't someone I would probably be friends with in real life, as a fictional story, it's good.
Mercedes Ayres, a confident girl who enjoys being in control and "helping" people, can't admit she has a problem. She insists on helping virgins with their first time in hopes it will help them have a better first time with their girlfriends. While she believes her heart is in the right place, she is quickly taken advantage of when word starts to get around her school.
When terrible things start happening to her, Mercedes faces them in a very realistic way. The story has some strong and likable (and unlikable) characters that I felt invested in, whether or not I agreed with them and how they dealt with their problems. The problems (and in turn, the solutions) were explosive and blown out of proportion, but held real-life outcomes.
I recommend it as a darker, realistic contemporary read.
RED ALERT MOMENTS:
I do want to make it known that Mercedes tells one of her virgins that he shouldn't ask for permission to touch his girlfriend because confidence is sexy, basically. Consent, even in relationships, is important. Considering a few other things that happen in the book, I would have thought Mercedes would be less inclined to this sort of outlook, but, alas, it's part of her in-control, sexy persona she puts on display in the bedroom to help her feel in control.
Despite my disapproval for that, there was a big focus on using condoms, which I thought was an important thing to include, but it does not make up for the other minor and major things that were glossed over.
Firsts was published on January 5, 2016.