I received this book for free from Publisher on NetGallery, the PR company in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 5th 2016
Genres: Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Source: Publisher on NetGallery, the PR company
In the vein of Easy A, an honest and refreshing young adult novel about sex, love, and high school.
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 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 own 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.
Ali: Hello Laurie, thank you so much for stopping in it to talk with us here at Dazzled by Books. What inspired you to write “Firsts”?
Laurie: I was working on an entirely different New Adult contemporary when the idea for FIRSTS struck me in the head. All I had was the name Mercedes and the hook—a girl who wants to give virgin guys the perfect first time. I didn’t know what happened beyond that. I just knew I had to write the rest to find out. As I wrote, I thought more and more about the double-standard that exists for teenage girls when it comes to sex, and how often labels get tossed around. I wanted to write something that rips into the unfair shaming that goes on and hopefully turns it inside out.
A: How has your modeling career affected your writing?
L: That’s a great question! They seem like vastly different careers, but the time I spent modeling really helped me when I started querying and sending my work into the world. There is a lot of rejection in the business of being published, and I was no stranger to rejection in modeling. When I was a model, I’d spent a whole day going to castings and get picked for none of them. Then suddenly a big job would pop up the next day. It’s the same with querying. You could be feeling dejected over passes, then hear your inbox ding with a full request. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, and the only way to get through is to have a thick skin and truly love what you’re doing.
Ali: If you could collaborate with one author to write a story (living or dead), who would you choose? Why?
L: Wow. That is a really tough question! There are so many authors I admire. But my favorite book is Gone With The Wind, so the idea of working with Margaret Mitchell would have been the coolest thing ever. In Scarlett O’Hara, Mitchell created a heroine who is both brave and vulnerable, hard and soft, generous and cruel. Growing up, I was fascinated by Scarlett O’Hara. In an alternate reality, Margaret Mitchell agrees to work with me on a book populated with complicated female characters. In a dream world, we’d have endless cups of coffee together and I’d hang on to her every word!
Ali: Mercedes ends up dealing with a best friend issue, what is your biggest piece of advice when you have to tell something important to your best friend?
L: Honesty always wins. Even if you think it’s something she won’t want to hear, or something that will be hard for her to process, she loves you and will understand. You may not think she’ll get it, and maybe she won’t at first, but you can trust her with anything.
A: Disney Villain or Disney Princess? Elaborate.
L: I have a thing for villains, especially when they became villains for a reason. This might be a wildly unpopular opinion, but I always had a soft spot for Scar in The Lion King. He was misunderstood.
That said… is there a Disney Cat category? Because The Aristocats is my favorite Disney movie and I proudly own the stuffed animal versions of Duchess and Marie.
Ali: Thank you again Laurie for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful day.
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