Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky

Publisher:  Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt BYR
Publication Date:  May 8th, 2012

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I really enjoyed Katie Kacvinsky's 2011 debut, Awaken.  I thought it was a smart, thought-provoking Dystopia that had valid social commentary, without being preachy.  When I saw First Comes Love in the HMH catalog, I assumed that it was the sequel to Awaken, which is also due out this year.  When I found out it wasn't, I was a little disappointed.  THEN I found out it was a Contemporary Romance, and I was both repulsed and intrigued.  I'm not a big fan of Contemporary Romance (although I will admit that I have come across a few really great ones of late), but I liked the author's writing in Awaken well enough, that I decided to give it a shot.   When I received it in the mail, I immediately had a negative impression; the cover just did not grab me.  I know it was an ARC, but the cover was the final cover, and it just seemed really cheap to me.  Now that I've read the book, I feel that way even more strongly; they could have done better.  That said, this book is kind of the epitome of the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover!", because the book was quite good.

When I started reading First Comes Love, I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  My first impression was that it was going to be a been-there-done-that, opposites-attract, YA love story.  It wasn't.  It was deeply touching, full of raw hurt and emotion.  The characters were beautifully rendered to the point where though I wasn't sure I liked them at first, I learned to love them as I got to know them.  At first I thought Dylan was the type of girl who is really insecure, but tries a little too hard to project a carefree, quirky image.  Well, she turns out to be the real deal, and I kind of feel like an ass for judging her so as quickly as I did... As for Gray? Well he always came off to me as the sexy damaged guy, and while it was annoying to me, the length of time it took to find out why he was so damaged, I always felt like it was legit.  He was kind of a jerk at the beginning, but I guess he maybe had the same first impression of Dylan as I did... As for the romance?  It moved slowly, in an honest, imperfect, and entirely believable way.  Katie Kacvinsky did a wonderful job capturing the ups and downs of young love. I think it is really difficult to get a handle on the swirl of feelings, innocence, desire, uncertainty, and apprehension that go along with first love, and I think she nailed it because she recognizes that it isn't ONLY about the romance.  Dylan and Gray had lives before and apart from each other, and it was really interesting to find out, bit by bit, who they were as individuals, through their emerging feelings for one another.

In the end, this book exceeded my expectations.  I was happy with the story and was satisfied with the ending.  The only complaint I have is that the story is over.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★  

Grade Level Recommendation:  This book has some swears, sex, and tough issues.  Also, the characters are college age kids, more mature than most.  I think this book is best suited  for grades 9 and up (ages 14+).


  1. I absolutely loved this book! I agree - I thought that Dylan was going to be the Manic Pixie Dream Girl of the book and while she was, her character also had depth.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. Awesome review! I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds interesting. The romance sounds very realistic and the characters sound really engaging. I am so glad to hear you enjoyed this one and I think it sounds like something I might enjoy. Thanks for sharing! Lovely blog!

    New Follower! Feel free to visit my blog.

  3. I'm so glad that despite everything, you still gave this book a chance and that it payed off! I loved this book and I will have to read Katie's other books now too. Thanks for the review!


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