“Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights”. Set aside your sports prejudice and give First and Then a shot.

From the Book Flap:

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.

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Overall: Less football and more good old fashion teen angst than I initially expected. Which was a good thing. Mills reworks the Austen classic, but in an unexpected way. Yes, there’s a Darcy and an insufferable cousin, but this books does more than set P&P in a modern high school. Mills’s protagonist is an Austen lover who often ponders WWJD (What Would Jane Do) as she floats through her senior year. Devon finds herself challenged to triumph over mediocrity and when she takes a more active role in her own life, things begin to change.   Devon will have to start taking some risks if she wants to stay in the game.

First Impression: The cover art was cute enough to make me read it despite the football reference, which is saying a lot. It was ‘Like’ at first sight.

I Want the One I Can’t Have: Yes, there was a love triangle. Or love square? Whatever the shape, it’s of the unrequited variety, which can be the best kind. Tension, heartbreak, tight ends…..Touchdown!

Open Tab/Last Call: First and Then was definitely a page turner for me which I didn’t expect (sorry- it’s the football thing!). I’m interested to see what Ms. Mills has for us next. I’ll keep the bar tab open for her while she works on her second novel. Emma Mills, the next round is on me.  Cheers!

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