Title: First Love
Author: James Patterson and Emily Raymond
Genre: Mature Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release Date: January 13, 2014
Axi Moore is a "good girl": She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn't tell anyone that what she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson--who she also happens to be madly in love with.
When Axi impulsively invites Robinson to come with her on an unplanned cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out-of-control...
A remarkably moving tale with its origins in James Patterson's own past, First Love is testament to the power of first love--and how it can change the rest of your life.
So, honesty first. This is actually the very first James Patterson novel I’ve ever read. Is that stunned silence I hear?! Yeah. Thought so. I had zero idea what to expect from this author in a young adult novel. I didn’t know that he had written young adult novels prior to First Love. He actually writes a really wide range of story types, and if First Love is any indication, I’ll be checking out the rest of his books, as well!
My issue with this review is that I’m extremely hesitant to give very much away. There are important aspects of First Love which the reader should experience without any knowledge beforehand. Honestly, if I gave a detailed story summary, it would undoubtedly take away from your own emotional adventure reading First Love. That said, there are a few things I want to cover.
I had a couple of small sticking points with First Love, and, to be fair, I feel like I need to discuss those. To start, I did wish that the characters’ joint history and backstory, the foundation of their relationship, had been explored in more depth. It only would have added to the story and the characters, even as much as I enjoyed both. The other point I would bring up is that there were several references within the story which really did not fit a 16- and 17-year-old.
Now, all of that said, I moved past those two things very quickly. Why? Because once the story began to really get moving, the pace picked up early on, and the road trip began. First Love turned into a, well, lovely and delightful young adult novel! Axi and Robinson were engaging, endearing, daring, fun, funny, and experiencing all of the emotion and desire of First Love. They were also dealing with (actually, trying to avoid dealing with) some serious and heavy issues.
There’s something about a great road trip story. I’m such a fan of them. Especially so when they have that perfect sense of place and time. Axi and Robinson’s road trip had exactly that. Each place they visited came alive for me, and I just love experiencing that feeling!
I had a hunch going in that this book was going to end up kicking my ass emotionally, and that it did. I went through an entire small box of Kleenex. I was worn to a frazzle and mentally exhausted by the end, and I loved every single moment of it because the storytelling was handled with a seasoned and deft hand!!
I highly recommend First Love to everyone who enjoys an incredible, emotional journey! This story is for those readers who love to feel a book come alive in their hands. It’s for those who long to get lost within the pages. First Love is for those who want to relive all of the innocence and joy of falling for the very first time.
A beautiful, emotional story very well told!
★ 4.5 Stars ★
About The Author
It is no surprise that in January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having "transformed book publishing," and that Time magazine hailed him as "The Man Who Can't Miss." Recently, NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams profiled Patterson's prolific career, AARP named him one of the "50 Most Influential People Who Make Our Days a Little Brighter," and Variety featured him in a cover story highlighting his adventures in Hollywood.
In 2011, it was estimated that one-in-four of all hardcover suspense/thriller novels sold was written by James Patterson, he is the first author to achieve five million ebook sales (and is expected to hit ten million in early 2013), and he holds the Guinness record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers of any author. And his success isn't based solely on thrillers like the perennially popular Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Michael Bennett series. Patterson is now also the current bestselling author in the young adult and middle grade categories.
He's been called the busiest man in publishing, and that's not just because of his own books. For the past decade, James has been devoting more and more of his time to championing books and reading. From the James Patterson Pageturner Awards, to his website ReadKiddoRead.com, to his College Book Bucks scholarships and his regular donations of hundreds of thousands of books to schools here in the states and troops overseas (see interviews on Fox & Friends, The Dennis Miller Radio Show and CNN.com), Patterson has passed on his passion of books and reading and supported those who do the same. Jim personally funded a major ad campaign re-printing a recent opinion piece on CNN.com about how it is our responsibility to get our kids reading. The ad has run in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and USA Today. Those ads are a call to action to parents to make their kids reading a top priority; and were featured by USA Today here. Patterson believes that we cannot rely on schools, teachers or the government to get our kids reading; only parents can make this crucial change in the reading habits of our kids. Here are links to some interviews on his first-ever dual lay down (two books, one for parents and one for kids, in one day): AOL's You've Got, NBC's "Today Show" with Hoda and Kathie Lee, USA Today and Family Circle, NBC's "Today Show" with Al Roker, as well as an interview with AARP.
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