STARRED REVIEW
October 13, 2015

No coasting through senior year

Emma Mills

Emma Mills’ debut YA novel plants a Jane Austen-loving high school senior squarely on the playing field with a football jock in this story about growing up, feelings and forgiveness.

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Emma Mills’ debut YA novel plants a Jane Austen-loving high school senior squarely on the playing field with a football jock in this story about growing up, feelings and forgiveness.

Devon Tennyson is a likable slacker—until a teacher seizes an offhand comment Devon makes about college and propels her toward some new extracurricular activities, which place her in the path of Ezra, the football phenom. While she’s prepared to dislike him on principle, she actually thinks he’s pretty nice, especially when he takes her awkward cousin under his wing. Of course, Ezra's not nearly as nice as her best friend, Cas, a boy she’s crushed on since middle school.

Even with the drama associated with teen dating and mixed messages, Devon’s able to keep everything in perspective until she sees the true nature of her relationship with Cas. A friend’s close call with death and her cousin’s injury during a football game help Devon learn a little something about priorities.

Profanity appears sparingly in First & Then, and the story covers parental death and abandonment, teen pregnancy and drinking. Despite these topics, the story remains upbeat. Devon transforms from an aimless girl to a mature young adult as she begins to recognize her own special ability to really listen to others.

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First & Then

First & Then

By Emma Mills
Holt
ISBN 9781627792356

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