Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: First Love, by James Patterson



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.

4 out of 5 stars

I received an arc in exchange for an honest review

To be honest I was hesitant to start this book.  Reading the synopsis, knowing the story as based off of James Patterson's past I had a feeling it might be a tear jerker and that there possibly wouldn't be a happily ever after.  While I don't always need a HEA, you cannot blame me for wanting that for the characters I fall in love with while on a book journey.  So, going into this book I had my reservations.  One more confession…before First Love I was a James Patterson virgin!  Yes, that's right I haven't ready any of his previous books, and so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

First Love begins with Axi, a 16-year old, suggesting to her best friend Robison, who's a year older and also a high-school drop-out, that she has a plan to leave their little town behind, to escape from their lives, to see the world.  It's obvious Axi's plan is completely out of character.  She always does the right thing, she walks a straight and narrow path, she follows the rules.  But, she's decided she needs to escape her life.  She wants distance from her alcoholic father, she needs to escape the pressures of high-school, she is looking for adventure, and it's possible she is in love with her best friend, but has no idea how to confess her feelings.

Robinson briefly gives Axi a hard time for suggesting such a rebellious plan but without hesitation agrees to accompany her and they make plans to leave the very next day.  Being the Good Girl that she is, Axi not only has a budget but an itinerary.  Robinson on the other hand enjoys living life on the edge and persuades Axi to push the boundaries, before she knows it she is making decisions completely out of character and things start spiraling out of control.  But maybe loosing control is exactly what these two need.  First Love is Axi and Robinson's journey to living life to its fullest, to making memories, to falling in love.  It's intense, it's bittersweet, it's literally life-changing.

For me, I felt the first 50% of the book moved a little slow, little hints were expertly woven into the story, prepping you for something to happen but I couldn't help but think these two characters are crazy!  I had a hard time understanding why they were making such drastic decisions.  I didn't feel like I was connecting emotionally, but at the same time I was vested enough to want to know what was going on.

Then I was hit with Part 2 of the story and things started changing.  Significant things, which no doubt were impacting their decisions, were revealed.  Puzzle pieces fell into place and I and I realized maybe I  cared about these characters more than I had previously thought.  Suddenly this crazy trip meant more than it previously did, not to mention it was as if Axi and Robinson finally decided to be honest with themselves and each other.  I think once those things happened the story started working.

As I suspected by the end of the story I was a crying mess, and while I didn't get the perfect fairy tale ending I was left feeling very touched, more affected than I ever saw coming.  While it wasn't the typical book journey I normally take, in the end I'm glad I travelled with Axi and Robinson.

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