First Then By Emma Mills

I'm sad I didn't enjoy this to its maximum potential, because I adore the person who wrote it. Emma is so hilarious and genuine and articulate in her youtube videos, and I've been watching her since middle school. Her book, however, I'm not a huge fan of. She's a talented writer because she's SO incredibly smart, but this book had no drive. There was no real plot to it, and it almost felt as if the wrong person was telling the story. It focuses heavily on a character that's not the main character, and reading about him from an outside perspective was boring. I found myself struggling to get through this (around page 100 I considered a DNF but pushed through). This book is filled with football terminology, football games, football players, football parties, etc. and I was extremely bored by that, as well. I see the potential in Emma's writing and characters, since some bits and pieces did come together to make a quite touching story, but this is one of those contemporaries that are just light and happy and angsty and I'm not a huge fan of them anymore, so I was just waiting for something more interesting to happen, but it never did.

I hear her newest one coming out later this year is really good, and so since I love her, I'm going to give that one a try as well! But this one wasn't my cup of tea. 272

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 know?”

While 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 clichés 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 MC. 'If I were Jane, I’d say something like’, ‘If this were a Jane Eyre novel, I’d carry myself’ etc 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.”
“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 more 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 more. 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.

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So...this 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 more in her life. Not until Foster...and 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 more. 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.

272 I liked this, but I didn’t love it. I have high hopes that Foolish Hearts is going to be the perfect Emma Mills book for me and I can’t wait to read it! 272 Find all of my reviews at:

Last week’s trip to the library/NetGalley was all due to status updates by Goodreads’ friends that hooked me like a fish immediately and had me clicking the request button without looking at ratings, reviews, synopses, nada, so it’s those friends who are owed the credit (Blame??? Guess the perspective depends on whether you like me or hate me) for this week’s reviews. First & Then got snatched up from the ol’ liburrrrrrry due to Liz adding it to her TBR with the note . . .

“Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights


When I saw that, I was more excited than Kristen Bell getting a surprise visit from a sloth. (Google it if you’re not familiar. So worth it.) My reaction upon finishing? I loved this sucker more than chicken nuggets and that’s saying a lot because . . .

Liz was right – this was somewhat Pride & Prejudice-y and it definitely had more than a bit of football and it was just soooooooooooooooooooooo sweet. Adorably sweet. Don’t agree with me????

Just kidding. Maybe.

Now, I know the younger kids are going to see my picture and think, “what would an old hag of 29 like this woman know about being a kid?!?!?!” Well, diddly shit probably, but I do know that my general state is anywhere between annoyed and full-on stabby and somehow this book made me feel so smiley and it was so flippin’ cute I couldn’t put it down. If you have a young adult in your life, I highly recommend this one. And you should definitely listen to me, because I’m super hip and am down with all the things kids like . . .

If nothing else, I am aware of the fact that . . .

“Close your eyes, real tight, and then count to three hundred. That’s all you have to do. You just count to three hundred, and when you open your eyes, five minutes will have passed. And even if it hurts or things are shitty or you don’t know what to do, you just made it through five whole minutes. And when it feels like you can’t go on, you just close your eyes and do it again. That’s all you need. Just five minutes at a time.”

Ugh. My feeeeeeeelings again. Abort! Abort!
272 I DID IT! I READ 7 BOOKS IN ONE WEEK! I HAVE WON BOOKTUBE-A-THON 2017!! *screams *falls into a heap on the floor

This book was cute... not my favorite contemporary but it was cute and I liked the second half quite a lot... It wasn't anything completely special though... but it was cute!! 272


Free download 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 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. First Then

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.

*arc kindly provided by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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272 I simply can’t measure the love I have for this book… well I guess I can, with these 5 stars I’m giving it, but I just don’t feel like it accurately represents just HOW much I actually loved this story. I couldn’t stop reading and ended up staying up way too late just to finish.

Can I tell you all a secret? I have never read a single Jane Austen book. Ever.

Okay, stop with the astonished looks. I will tell you this. I am not much for the classics. I told myself I was going to read more of them… I just haven’t.

I promise I will read them… or one… or something.

BUT the reason I’m saying that is because this book summary sells it as Pride & Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights.

Did you guys know I’m a bit of a sucker for sports related stories? First & Then kind of revolves around football… I mean it’s definitely a part of the story but it’s not the whole story.

Devon Tennyson is kind of drifting through her senior year of high school, she’s spent ages crushing over her best friend Cas, and once an only child, her house and life is now being overrun by her younger long-lost cousin’s presence.

I think what I loved most in this story were the relationships and the way they were explored. Devon and Foster are kind of forced into a type of brother/sister relationship which you can tell from the beginning that she kind of resents. Foster, for his part, seems nice and even a bit sweet, even though he’s a bit closed off about his emotions and feelings, but his life has been anything but nice and sweet. Despite his history I loved his protectiveness towards Devon and I really enjoyed their dynamic together.

Devon herself is totally my kind of girl. She’s funny and snarky and there were times that I found myself literally laughing out loud while reading parts of this book.

“Yeah. Lindsay. You know.”
Oh I knew. A cute nickname was the first mile marker on Gag Highway…


High school parties are breeding grounds for idiotic people with too much drama and not enough sense.

Of course there is a boy… or two. I mentioned Cas, Devon’s best friend earlier, and I honestly really loved their ease together and their friendship. I thought I really liked him… but then something happens at the end that really just crushed me. I’m not telling you what it is, you’ll figure it out when you read it, but let’s just say his swoon factor dropped exponentially.

The second boy is Ezra… Devon has Ezra pegged as a huge asshole when she realizes that they are the only seniors in a freshman gym class together and he treats her like crap. Oh… Ezra is an all American football player… best on the team and going to the college of his choosing. But he’s not the guy everyone has him pegged as and I really, really enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. My only complaint… more kissing please! LOL

Overall a wonderfully told story of love and friendship, family and loss, and finding the things that drive you. And yes… it’s my understanding that fans of Austen will recognize the references while reading… even if I didn’t.

Put this one on your TBR list now… pre-order it and then wait patiently by your mailbox because you NEED to read this one as soon as you possibly can!
272 if you hate:
- girl hate
- judgmental characters
- slut shaming
- gender expectations

then this is a book that will really annoy you for the first 2/3 or so before character development solves it all!!

also, if you like:
- football
- jane austen
- misunderstood jocks

then this is for you. i only like one of those things and i managed to survive.

this was mainly just okay, but look what it managed to tackle!! wow. all wrapped up in that cover. (i am a heart eyes emoji right now.)

bottom line: UNDERNEATH THE DUST JACKET OF THIS HARDCOVER THERE'S ANOTHER DESIGN. (the thing i feel most passionate about when it comes to this book is its exterior aesthetic so i'm running with that. 272 RE-READ: 8/30/20
This book has brought me nothing but pure joy and laughter. I read this when I was in my senior year of high school and I was able to see myself through Devon. Now I'm a sophomore in college, and nothing has changed. I'm still like Devon, an introverted people pleaser who has sadly still not taken much interest in clubs and extracurricular activities and has not found something I am truly good at.

Truly one of the best YA contemporaries I've read. Thank you Emma Mills for writing this. I've read all her books and this is definitely her best work in my opinion, with This Adventure Ends following second and Foolish Hearts third.


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 book.

Humorous, sarcastic, loveable and relatable (in some ways), this delivered much more than what the blurb offered. I have never felt so much happiness while reading, until now.

In 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.

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.

When I was a freshman, I had braces and more 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 anything.

I can't say enough how much joy this book brought me. I laughed, I smiled, I groaned, I ughed, and I rolled my eyes. 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. 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.

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. 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.

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 more 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.

I 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 life.

I 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 years.

First & 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 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 more 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 more important portrayals displayed correctly.

My 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 you.”

The relationship between Devon and Ezra was one of cutest relationships I’ve read about. It is so slow but oh, so well developed. 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 company.

“Were 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 stupid.”

Ezra was criticized but also praised. As we learn more about him and see him appear more 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 stuff, and he’s only recognized for the talent he shows. But he’s much more than that. He shows much more and has so much more capability, but society is so bored that 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, I was so thankful. Furthermore, Ezra was someone I instantly loved. 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 unashamed.

“I 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 deserve.”

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 more than what I would’ve had. 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 this.

For one of the most personal lines I read in this, it really touched home. It touched me, hard, and I almost cried because of how personally relatable it was. Devon truly was a character who needed someone to help 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 one:

“Devon,” she said, and somehow it felt like the voice speaking was a little more 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, really.”

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 book.

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 know?
272 a recipe guide to books by emma mills:

3 cups sunshine
1/4 cup fluffiest of fluff
1 tablespoon happiness
a pinch of sprinkles

mix 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 272