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READ KINDLE ë First & Then ⚡ 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 PE 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 When you love something, you can t be happy all the time, can you Like, that s why you love it It makes you feel all kinds of things, not just happy It can hurt, it can make you fucking mad, but it makes you feel something, you knowWhile both underwhelming and absolutely perfect, this was exactly what I needed I say this because I am having the hardest time lately, between work, home life, and my little fur babies, writing reviews It s starting to bother me that I am losing my reviewing time I find the moments when I write a review so cathartic, and to lose that has been devastating My time on GR has even dwindled But I m not one to stop because it s simply difficult So here I am, making time to write a review for a book that not only kept me sane with its understated simplicity, but with it s all around alluring characters and smooth, albeit not what I expected at all, story line We reached my car, which was a shameful distance from the curb and sticking into the street at a really awkward angle I couldn t parallel park to save my life I can t say I fell head over heels for this like I had imagined or hoped I would, but there was just something so charming hidden deep within these pages I find, many times, that my favorite stories are those that I feel like I could have lived IE, realistic fiction It s not enough to write a cheesy story that plays on the clich s of high school I like to feel as though I m trapped in the pages along with all the other characters And while this one wasn t perfect, it certainly made me smile, laugh, and extremely happy It s weird Sometimes it feels like we re still the ones in the pictures, and everything that happened after happened to other people And then sometimes we re the other people, and the strangers are in the frames Perhaps one of my favorite things about this novel, besides the quiet, brooding male lead, was the references to Jane Eyre I ve never personally read anything by Jane Eyre, but I found it a quirky defining character trait for our MCIf I were Jane, I d say something like , If this were a Jane Eyre novel, I d carry myselfetc etc It was cute and funny, and I found that it kept me engaged, for whatever reason And keep in mind, I didn t say those lines even closely to how she says them, but I wanted to kind of give you an idea of what she was like I really think you should, you know, give that, uh soup a chance Soup You know That soup we were talking about I think you should give it a shot It s a really good recipe Highly dependable And obviously delicious Her eyes widened Not that I would know Not that I ve tasted the soup This is not a flawless metaphor Devon was a girl who is very intelligent, but had no idea where to go with her life or what to do with it As I sit here and type this, I realize that I kind of resonated with that I never cared That s not to say I was lazy or had an identity crisis or anything, but I certainly never thought much into the future I wanted to live in the then and now, and thinking about college and what I was going to do with my life scared the shit out of me But back to Devon She had a really funny inner monologue that had me laughing out loud numerous times, and her quips about people were spot on in my opinion But then all of a sudden there were two new people in her life, and for once, she was completely wrong about them Ezra snorted and then grimaced, and it was quiet for a moment So, uh, did you write the inaccessibly handsome part No, I definitely didn t I realized how that sounded and then felt compelled to go on My shoes suddenly became incredibly interesting But, I mean it s true You think I m handsome Ezra is an all star running back with a future as bright as the blazing sun He could go to any college he wants and he runs the field with the grace of an already established professional athlete His quirk He s quiet, broody, and not good with words I found this to be totally adorable Devon would try to talk to him and he d just stare or have so little to say only to lead to an uncomfortable silence and a stilted, stuttered answer He tried his best, he really did He just did not have the gift of gab And his vulnerability is just so so perfect UGH You ll see Just..sigh Devon takes his silence for indifference, but he actually has so much to say And most importantly he wants to say it all to her He smiled a little as he looked back down at the paper What about the inaccessible part Kinda makes me sound like a badly zoned restroom It s true, though A few details here and there aren t bad You re not exactly forthcoming I told you I m not great at talking You re talking now He shrugged You re easy to talk to Something fluttered around in my stomach at that A lone butterfly, agitating me for some reason And then there was Foster He was an unexpected favorite on my part, and Devon didn t really know what to make of him at times At first she finds that he is her annoying cousin that got pushed in on them and is an annoying tagalong, but when Ezra takes a kinship and liking to him, putting him under his wing, Devon realizes there s to him than meets the eye His quirk I m not sure.but he was an amazing and completely thoughtful character that I wanted to reach into the pages and hug repeatedly Are you drunk a voice said So it was only temporary peace I whipped around and ripped the shower curtain back There sat Foster, fully clothed, in the empty bathtub What the hell are you doing in here There was a rubber duck balanced delicately on his head It didn t move as he spoke Just sitting This was one of those moments Those Foster moments Early morning smoothies and the like I squeezed my eyes shut hard This story was sweet, simple, and utterly heart warming And while I can t say it jumped to my absolute favorites, it will certainly be one that I look back on and smile about, fondly wanting to re read all the adorable quotes that gave me subtle feels from beginning to end Now, the end will either make you extremely happy and smile really big, or it will leave you feeling robbed and wanting I was luckily in the prior category, but it could go either way for any one person I hope people will give this adorable story a chance I waited a long time for it, and it was certainly exactly what I needed For of my reviews, please visitSothis book wasn t what I expected It wasn t in your face and it wasn t full of emotional drama or lots of cheesy falling in love moments and conversations It was simpler than that It was about a girl who doesn t know what she wants A girl who goes through the motions A girl who is in love with her best friend A girl who doesn t need anything in her life Not until Fosterand not until Ezra.Girl meets boy.Boy is quiet and backwards.Boy is star football player.They fall in love.Slowly.and then all at once I loved this book, but I did want Though, it was exactly what I needed for my current mood and glacial pace at posting reviews I can t wait to write a review about this one Ezra was adorably backwards.Review to come. I looked up at Ezra Lyney, who was, according to Rachel Woodson s crap article, one of the best high school running backs in the country He was also best friend to Foster He left the charts in generosity and loyalty and honor At least in my bookWhile contemporary fans seem to be considering other famous and well known authors as the contemporary queen and or king, but I seem to not While I have not read many contemporaries, it seems to be my favorite genre, contemporary romance and or realistic fiction Emma Mills is not a very known author, but she deserves recognition So many of my friends don t have her books added to their pile of books they want to read or have her books marked as read I had heard quite a lot about her here and there from some friends who had written reviews for her book Foolish Hearts, but it wasn t so much where everyone was hyped for it With that being said, her covers are glorious to the point where she becomes an auto buy author Adding on to that, from the joyous experience I got from reading this, First Then has become a favorite I think it will take a while until another book brings me the same delight this brought me.Humorous, sarcastic, loveable and relatable in some ways , this delivered much than what the blurb offered I have never felt so much happiness while reading, until nowA thousand electric cars could run on how you feel when you know that a person you like likes you back It feels incredible Like it shouldn t be possible Of all the happy coincidences to ever exist, it s one of the happiestIn First Then, we follow the life of Devon Tennyson who, well, is your typical high school senior trying her best to finish her last year and get into college Except it isn t going very well While she isn t having the best college application life process, she enjoys her Friday nights sitting on the bleachers watching the football game, secretly crushing on her best friend Cas, and adapting to the new life with her foster cousin, Foster, while understanding that his new best pal is the guy she ends up hating since she met him Ezra, one of the best running backs who, unfortunately, is maddingly attractive After that encounter, Devon didn t want anything else to do with him.But then Foster s kick is seen in gym class and he gets the opportunity to play varsity in the football team if he catches up and follows the rules in order to make it With the help of Ezra, the best and highest in the team, he is sure he ll be able to make it On the other hand, Devon is trying to cooperate and see what good she can get from this When she s offered the chance of being a journalist as something to help her for her lack of extracurriculars, she takes the offer of interviewing Ezra and learning about him Little did she know that everything said about Ezra is not quite what she expected, as she seems to be dismissing the feelings for Cas and entering the world of Ezra, a world she never knew she would ever grow to anticipate.Although labeled as romance, this book isn t just a romance novel It is about finding love in the people you least expected to care for and love It is about finding your true senses in others and what it means to heal within others It is about realizing you need people in your life you thought you never needed until you get to the point where the fact of being separated is gruesome, dirty, and something you never want to imagine because of the connection you have built with themWhen I was a freshman, I had braces and pimples than I could count I didn t wear makeup I didn t own short shorts I had never tasted alcohol, and I certainly didn t know how or why you would ever want to blow anythingI can t say enough how much joy this book brought me I laughed, I smiled, I groaned, I ughed, and I rolled my eyes, but I loved this book with every inch of my small 4 10 body Emma Mills has a way with simple and realistic words, writing what YA contemporary romance truly is and what it should be From the dialogues to the realistic high school situations, the main character in this, Devon, has truly been not only one of the best characters I have read about but also one of the most inspiring female characters She isn t badass or a strong ass heroine that kicks men s ass or anything, but she s the most relatable female I ve read about Although not displayed, you can tell she has her own issues that aren t portrayed and shown, but as a reader, you can analyze them She s hilarious, witty, and has a personality that may or may not take time to understand because of who she is The thing is, we share the exact same one.Devon is someone struggling with her last year and struggling with her college application Let me tell you, as a high school senior, I was able to relate in every possible damn way She doesn t have any ambitions to share into applying to her application she isn t the type of person that will go out and help out at an animal shelter, medical center, the library, the school, or anywhere where volunteer hours are acceptable to be completed Devon is someone trying to make the best out of it, but she isn t doing the very best, and I can t tell you enough how much I loved her because of that She had character development as she was growing to love herself, her new family addition, and the boy she least expected to fall in love with Her humor, attitude, and the way she acted with everyone were like reading about me someone trying to get along with everyone while embarrassing herself because of the conversations she was somewhat able to form, but also the ones she couldn t form It s like we share the same sense of humor if we even have one but still managed to be loved by many When you read this, you ll notice Devon isn t a smart person, but that was why she touched a special place in my heart As a future hopeful college student, I want to take the definition of life as Devon took it She s like the true embodiment of a YA contemporary realistic character, especially in the year this book was published up to now Moreover, Devon is someone who I wish I was best friends with She s the person I want to go watch movies with, spend Friday nights sitting down in the bleachers watching the football game pretending I care or just skip the game and go back home to binge watch our favorite tv series I d just love to drive around listening to old RB and spend time with her so she can teach me Jane Austen references cause hell, that girl knows every reference she made in her books Also, books She s a reader, specifically a classic Jane Austen book, and I can t grasp my excitement over reading about characters who love literature as well and literally use their references, lines, and expressions to say their witty comebacks The character development of Devon was ideally slow She had to learn from herself and from the people she least expected in her life to make it better, and the way she handled every situation she was in was refreshing, especially when she wasn t afraid to defend herself and Foster The way her relationship with Foster grew made me almost tear up, as their love began as unnatural love but then grew into a special bond that she didn t think she d end up becoming like an older sister to him The relationship and friendship between Devon and Foster are one of the most supportive ones, and it gets to the point where the realness hits you really hard because you can t do anything but want the best for them.Speaking of Foster, I ll actually lay my whole life for that kid Foster is the boy you want to shield with all of your will He was struggling with the experience of his mother abandoning him so he had to become accustomed to living with Devon and her family While Devon helped him in ways, Foster made such an impact on her life, given the fact he became the brother she never thought she needed Not only that, but he helped her grow and see herself as so much and as someone bigger than who she saw herself asI started thinking about those pages Reeding, and Cas, and car rides with Foster, and loving Ezra were all their own pages And suddenly I was filled with this feeling like the resolve that filled me when we visited Reeding, that insane desire to try harder, to be better I was filled with this feeling that there was nothing we couldn t get through three hundred seconds at a time, three hundred words a pageI can t fully empathize on the full love I grew for Devon without repeating everything She is someone pursuing general happiness for herself and for the people around her There were so many times her lines felt like I was reading about my lifeI felt like I had never done anything I had never suffered I had never triumphed I was a middle class kid from the burbs who had managed to be rather unspectacular for the last seventeen yearsFirst Then has one of the most beautiful portrayals of love, whether its friend love, true love and or family love Family acceptance, support, and love in this are such major key roles and are portrayed in very healthy manners Devon s parents are the most supportive parents I ve encountered Their love for her and Foster is equally different, and I can t explain how important these displays are in books Devon s mom was one of the most beautiful additions to this story She is what a mother should be accepting, loving, and supportive She wanted the very best for her daughter and I really saw my mother when I read her lines She isn t angry or isn t forcing Devon to have a 4.0 GPA, or even higher She isn t forcing her to join clubs, to raise her scores, to do good on AP s if she s taking AP classes She is simply being a mother the woman who raised her daughter the way she is And I think that was important, to see the family dynamics in this as important, because it is, and it s important to note that parents should be parents, not people who force their child into doing than they can, becoming the top student and turning them into selfish people Mills did such a wonderful job with this portrayal, and I can t wait to read her other books to see important portrayals displayed correctlyMy mom poured me a glass of milk, squeezed in a healthy dose of chocolate syrup, and told me that this just wasn t the universe where Cas and I were right for each other, simple as that Maybe in another time or place, maybe if he were different or if I were different But you don t want to make yourself different for a boy, she said You don t want to make yourself different for anyone My reply was something halfway between a sob and You just don t get it But my mother persisted Someday someone will like you for you, just the way you are And as much as you like Cas, this other person will be so much better for youSo yeah, this book features romance, cute romance, but also slow burn romance where two people who avoided each other turn to friends and then lovers I wouldn t call it theenemies to loverstrope because Devon and Ezra are never enemies I mean, he ends up becoming Foster s mentor, so Devon really just has to learn how to deal with him But little did she know that she wouldn t mind having to deal with himIt was kind of funny the thing that had annoyed me so much about him in the beginning was what I dearly appreciated nowI ll start off by saying that their relationship was one of the cutest relationships It is so slow but oh, so well developed. The dialogues are not cheesy, they are so damn realistic and appealing They are both characters trying to understand the other, but I have to give points for the intelligence of Devon s analytical skills She didn t see Ezra as some cocky football star who got all the girls and was an egotistical jerk who used his football talent to embarrass his whole team because he knew he was the best I felt bad for him sometimes, especially when he was in bad situations and awkward positions For example, he wasn t the party type kind of person everyone actually thought he was The whole football team didn t see Ezra as just Ezra, they saw him as everyone else did an All America football star who wants nothing but top stats and ranks But then Devon came in, and she didn t believe everything she was told about him, but instead, she asked and she found out for herself She not only found out but she also saw She saw Ezra as someone who was also trying to get his senior year over with She saw in him what others didn t see a teenage boy who needed companyWere you friends A pause Yeah Shit, I said Do you want to cry Foster said Foster Scolding Foster came natural in almost any situation I m just saying, a lot of guys don t think it s, like, socially acceptable to cry But you could cry if you wanted Because that s stupidEzra was criticized but also praised As we learn about him and see him appear in the life of Devon, we see that he is also someone with his own issues that nobody else knows He s alone even though he seems to be popular, he hates the parties he goes too, he can t swim, he has a tragic past, he s blamed for unfair shit, and he s only recognized for the talent he shows But he s much than that He shows much and has so much capability, but society is so bored than we only look at the bad qualities in people and judge them for what we see and not what we know Whereas Ezra is introduced as cold hearted, rude, and even conceited, he is the opposite He is honest, bold, caring, heartwarming, and truly a boy anyone could fall in love with Additionally, he becomes a major impact in the lives of Devon and Foster, and oh boy was I thankful Further, Ezra is someone you instantly love as you read into his story further on From the beginning, I liked him Then it got to the point where I adored him and wanted nothing but the very best for him I admit, I even almost cried during a specific scene he couldn t get away from, and I was so thankful for the coincidences I don t believe in that Devon was surprisingly there, helping him and basically saving him, unbothered and unashamedI don t know how to talk like they do, Ezra continued after a moment But I feel about you the way they feel in those books The way those guys feel about those girls they don t always deserveDamn it, Emma Mills You have thoroughly convinced me true love does exist.In addition, Mills has got to seriously be one of the most realistic writers out there Ever I can t believe I waited so long to read this without any expectations and, gladly, went into it without any, because I probably got than what I would ve had I mean, this is the first book I ve read from her and I am strongly convinced and a whole believer that this is the reality teens are facing and will continue facing While there are things you wish to change, there can be personal touches in this for many because of the reality you see The Jane Austen references, the girl hate and girl love, the slut shaming, platonic relationships, friendship towers building up, romantic attractions, football games, intended puns, realistic jokes, judgment, and overall, the feeling of first love, they were all things I adored from thisJane talks about exertion in some of her novels It didn t quite mean back then what it does today nowadays you think of the body of pushing your muscles to the limit, of working your brain as hard as you can Physical and mental exertion But Jane s exertion was of the emotional variety In Sense and Sensibility, when Elinos finds out that the guy she s in love with is engaged to someone else, she works her hardest to exert herself around others, to make sure that her true feelings her true sorrows go unexposed She practices exertion in a way that means she acts as if everything is just fine, so that no one would suspect her of the kind of pain and heartache that was considered inappropriate to feel when someone else s fianc was involvedFor one of the most personal lines I read in this, it really touched home It touched me, hard, and I almost cried because I really thought I was about to read about a character suffering in school I mean, I wouldn t call it suffering, but Devon truly was a character who needed someone to heal her and change her life not for the worse and not for the way others wanted her, but for the ways she wanted to see herself in, and it s this oneDevon, she said, and somehow it felt like the voice speaking was a little Isobel and a little less Mrs Wentworth Do you want to go to college No one had ever asked me that College was the natural order of things According to my parents, between birth and death, there had to be college I don t know what else I would do, I said Join the army, was her simple reply.I made a face I hate being yelled at The Peace Corps, then A choking noise erupted from my throat, something like a cast being strangled I hate being selfless Alright The twitching around Mrs Wentworth s lips started up again Get a job Just start working Just like that Lots of people do it Some very successful people never went to college Yeah Look at Hollywood There s one Go to Hollywood Become a star But I can t act I ve never even talked in a play So join drama club Oh yeah, chorus member number twelve will be my ticket to stardom Why not First, you have to like doing that kind of stuff, which I don t, and second, you have to be good at it, which I m not So what are you good at I don t know Nothing, reallyWell fuck Devon That makes two of us.As for the last thing I ll mention, I didn t hate one single thing about this, and that s saying a lot From the side characters to the other high school football teams, to the overall plot, I adored everything in this And yes, I adored Cas, even though I felt bad for him He had such a wonderful friendship with Devon but I wasn t able to see them together, probably because his feelings were possibly revealed later on, as Devon started getting closer to Ezra, and he wasn t someone I felt bad for like I did with Ezra Nonetheless, I still adored his character I loved his care for Devon and the potential they even held, admittedly, but I couldn t blame Devon for leaving her feelings for him behind They seemed better off as friends instead because of the idealistic feelings they started sharing for each other as time went by I 11 10 recommend this for literally every contemporary fan Overall, just read an Emma Mills bookWhen you love something, you can t be happy all the time, can you Like, that s why you love it It makes you feel all kinds of things, not just happy It can hurt, it can make you fucking mad, but it makes you feel something, you know a recipe guide to books by emma mills 3 cups sunshine 1 4 cup fluffiest of fluff 1 tablespoon happiness a pinch of sprinklesmix together and bake at the highest level of love for about 300 pages finish and enjoy your perfectly crafted book of contemporary goodness ive said it before and i will say it again emma mills has perfected the feel good story this had friendship, and family, and love, and school shenanigans, and parties, and sports pretty much everything you could want from a contemporary her stories honestly put me in the best mood a mood where i never want summer to end, being surrounded by those i care about, without a single care in the world her books just make me want to live my best life and i am here for it 4 stars Actual rating 2.5 stars because Ezra In the end, I got the impression that First Then was trying to address way too many issues without really giving them the time of a day Cut off the Darcy ish romance slooowly built that I genuinely enjoyed with the important exception of one of the most anticlimactic ending I ve ever read Ugh, just ugh , the reader makes its way in a widespread confusion You ve got truthful WTF moment where you realize that you have no idea what the characters are doing think scenes cut short, weird transitions, a general WHERE DOES THAT EVEN COMES FROM feeling, and characters who pop up from nowhere You ve got important issues that aren t addressed properly left unresolved in a nutshell, a mum in rehab maybe I guess , a teenage pregnancy what is the point of Marabelle s character really , a weird gambler survivor guy don t get me started about that Emir guy who is this person and why should I care for him Huh , a crazy asshole who puts a psycho move when it s convenient but we know nothing about him whatsoever, and guess what it isn t handled at all either , an attempt at girl friendship resolved in two pages , how to deal with grief completely superficial and lacking feels and big revelations that felt flat because they came out of nowhere None of these issues are properly dealt with You ve got flat characters whose names I didn t bother to remember except Cas, the so called best friend, whose name I do remember but whose personality I never saw not that I was interested in this jerk in the first place, to be honest You ve got an uneven pacing and an uneven writing, if that makes sense if some parts made me really smile, others made me roll my eyes something fierce because HELLO, cheesy lines , especially in the first 30% that got me bored and the last 40% WTF and cheese blended together Yes, I do realize that the only part that remains is the middle ish 30 60% Don t judge To be fair, I did appreciate Devon s growth toward her cousin, Foster, who s been living with her family since the beginning of the story If I wanted to slap her at first, she started opening her eyes wider and slowly, slowly, became aware that fitting in wasn t the only life goal we could pursue Good for you, girl Note that I didn t hate her I mostly felt indifferent to her, to be honest.As I did appreciate several of Devon and Ezra s non interactions, because I have a soft spot for guys who have the communicating skills of a turtle I really do Don t ask Too bad everything felt flat and cheapened in the whole mess that was this novel Sorry, I guess I m just mad I hate when the last thought that comes to my mind after closing a book is WHAT WAS THE FUCKING POINT You don t add important issues to a story only to let them hanging in the air somewhere view spoiler And you do NOT ruin a kissing scene I was looking forward to read hide spoiler