Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, First & Then by Emma Mills.

Last summer, I read Mills' second book This Adventure Ends and loved it so much I knew I needed to pick up her debut. And I am so glad I did.

The story follows high school senior, Devon. The premise of the story is pretty typical, she's in love with her best friend, Cas, but he doesn't know it. Enter new student, football star Ezra and you've got a story. The plot also deals with Devon's cousin, Forster, who is staying with her family after the death of his father and shakes up the dynamic Devon has come to know. Despite the basic storyline, this book was very interesting and didn't feel like just another high school drama.

First and foremost, when the synopsis is comparing this book to Friday Night Lights, it isn't kidding. Ezra, Cas, and Foster all play football and much of the story takes place on the sidelines of a game or in the aftermath of a game at school. I don't think this is a bad thing; as someone who has no idea how football works, I was able to enjoy it immensely. There wasn't really any technical stuff, just a lot of the plot revolved around what was happening on the field.

This book really brought me back to my high school days. I'm not that old, not old enough to be getting nostalgic about high school, but I really loved the school dynamic of this book. I find the older I get, the less interested I become in the high school drama. But I was surprisingly happy with this setting. Mills doesn't create the typical cliquey situation that you often find in high school settings, instead opting for a realistic, small town high school.

I really liked the characters in the book, Devon was a great character who reflects a lot of peoples' fears of what to do after high school. She was also a great friend and sister to Foster. The protectiveness between the two was really nice to see. I also liked Ezra's character. He was not what I was expecting from a star football player, at least going off the cliche. But he wasn't too dark and moody either. Foster was another great character. I wasn't too sure about him at the beginning but I warmed quickly to him.

I was pleased to find this book was not just about the romance. It's definitely a central element, but it wasn't the only important thing in Devon's life, and Mills made sure to let other aspects get the attention they deserved.

Overall, a refreshing take on the typical high school football drama.