Book Review: First Comes Love

First Comes LoveFirst Comes Love
By Katie Kacvinsky
May 8, 2012
Ages 14 and up
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Reviewed: ARC (from publisher)

Author’s Website
Hardcover | Kindle

Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan, a girl always searching for what’s next, seemingly unable to settle down, is the exact opposite: full of light and life. On the outside, they seem like an unlikely couple. But looks can be deceiving and besides, opposites attract.

What starts as friendship, turns into admiration, respect and caring, until finally these two lone souls find they are truly in love with each other.

But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they’re going to have to work at it. And learn that sometimes love means having to say you’re sorry.

JENNA’S REVIEW

FIRST COMES LOVE is one of those books that you definitely should read if you’re looking for a nice,  realistic modern love story. From here on out, I’ll be recommending this to anyone who asks me for a good love story, that’s for sure.

Plot: 9

First Comes Love is both a character study and a guide to good dating. When push comes to shove it’s a story about a guy who is disillusioned with the world. He meets a girl, they fall in love. It’s a sort of love that makes the guy change his view of the world and want to be a better person. Who could ask for a better love than that? The first half of the book deals with the guy’s family issues and his opening up to love, then the second half revolves around how the girl is going to make their love last. This story is a reminder that to be in love is to go down a two way street – and to make love last, BOTH parties need to make an effort. The plot is both touching and introspective, causing the reader to think about our own relationships in the process.

Characters: 7

I haven’t seen pitch-perfect character progression such as Gray’s in quite a while. In the beginning he is cold, isolated and quite cynical. Did I dislike him? No, I knew he had his reasons for being the way he is. But I didn’t exactly like him much. I couldn’t stand how he treated Dylan, but yet I saw potential in him. I loved seeing his personality come out as he spent time with Dylan. In the end I simply adore the man that he had become.

So why the 7? Well, Dylan was an enigma. Even when we were inside her head, I couldn’t exactly tell what she was thinking. I knew that she was quirky, a free spirit and content with the world she lived in. She wanted to see it all and did not want anything – or anyone – to hold her back. While I did like her odd personality that closely resembles my own, I still didn’t exactly know what was going on in her head or why she felt such a great need to be so “free” – to the point that she would even sacrifice her own happiness. It baffles me, and I do not feel the the reader is provided a clear explanation for it. As a result, Dylan fell a bit flat for me, in spite of her awesome personality.

There were also a few other characters that seemed to be placed in the book purely for the sake of creating drama, but I won’t mention them in order to refrain from posting spoilers. I did appreciate the interactions between Gray and his family, though. They were bittersweet and oh-so moving…

Setting: 10

I was jealous of the setting. Bah. Phoenix, Arizona. I miss Arizona (I am from Tuscon, AZ and am now currently living in Tampa, FL). Even though Gray frequently complained about the location and the weather. I prefer the “dry heat” to my current walk-outside-and-you-may-as-well-rent-a-boat climate. SO jealous. And they even mention Picacho Peak! Sigh…

Pacing: 8

The pacing is mostly spot on for a book of this size, although in the end you feel as though there should have been a few more pages. I appreciate the time spent developing the relationship between Gray and Dylan. I appreciate the time it took for Gray to develop as a character. What I did not appreciate was the manner in which the final conflict came about. While reading, I kept waiting for the “ultimate ball” to drop, and when it finally did I felt that it should have been something considered by the characters sooner. How the ball dropped may have even had some impact on how I viewed Dylan as a character… I knew it was going to happen, but it really didn’t feel like she did – and she should have.

Style: 8

The story frequently flip flops between the point of views of both characters so that we may gain perspective of their situation. At just over 200 pages, First Comes Love is a quick (perhaps perfect for the beach) read. It would have been nice to see their relationship explored more in the end, but just like the summer days are fleeting, sometimes so should the pages be in a book. As a side note, just like I always do, I took a point off for the use of cursing. (Ah, jeez! I know!) Parents should also be aware that there is one scene that tastefully references the act of sex. Keep in mind: this book is rated 14 and up.

I thank Katie for creating a true-to-life story about the possibility of finding true love and the responsibility of both parties to keep that love alive. I hope she considers writing more about these characters so that we may see what the future will bring for them both.

Grade: 92

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About Jenna (Does Books)

Working momma of a little pink princess and reader of all things YA. I'm an artist, writer and avid reader who swears that she's having a hard time letting go of the childish things... Let me read your latest YA book and let's see if it makes the grade!

Posted on May 3, 2012, in Book Review, Four Star and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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