Written by Emma Mills
Contemporary, Sports, Romance
Published in Australia January 15th 2016
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia
Add to Goodreads
Rarely is a novel ever so utterly perfect that I've fallen in love from the very first page. First and Then was nothing short of immaculate and one of the loveliest contemporaries I've ever had the pleasure of reading.Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, 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 for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them, first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.
It follows the story of Devon, the girl, not the luncheon meat. She's an only child with doting parents and no real direction throughout her senior year of school. Then fourteen year old Foster comes to stay. Oh Foster, he was such a breath of fresh air. Adorably naive and so incredibly lovely, he's been abandoned by his mother and taken in by his aunt and uncle to restore a sense of normalcy and family. Since his father died, life with his neglectful mother has left him unemotional and mentally absent. It takes a significant part of First and Then for Devon to finally accept Foster as a part of her newly formed family unit but their relationship although tentative, was beautiful to watch them both grow as individuals and as new siblings.
Hello Ezra Lynley. Ezra is the golden boy of football and a new recruit, seemingly untouchable yet takes an interest in Foster in the shared physical education class along with Devon. Although Foster is oblivious, the tension between Devon and Ezra is delicious and he begins helping Foster learn the basics of touch football and the two form a close bond. I know nothing about American football but First and Then didn't delve too deeply into the technical side of the sport thankfully, but more so the team comradery and etiquette of the game.
The bond between Ezra and Foster began as a worship type relationship and although beyond the college scouts and attention, Ezra is never comfortable with the admiration. He isn't the typical high school senior and is determined not to let his status define him. He's quiet, reserved and gives off a tortured impression. It's Devon who is yet to fall under his spell, she's in love with her best friend in Cass, who as the storyline moved forward really surprised me and I felt I never truly had a sense of who he was beyond how Devon had seen him.
The underlying storyline of acceptance and learning to trust was beautiful and lovingly written. I laughed, I cried and was utterly smitten with First and Then and in particular, Foster. Not often does a book come along that makes you feel how special it is to delve into the fictional worlds of authors, First and Them made me feel giddy as I turned the final page and gave me one hell of a book hangover.
The Final Verdict
Kelly is still swooning over the loveliness of First and Then. But Kelly is sick of talking about herself in the third person.
follow kelly via TWITTER INSTAGRAM BLOGLOVIN' FACEBOOK GOODREADS