Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.
Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.
Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.
Sometimes I wonder if Emma Mills expressed her inner writerly thoughts under the persona of Everett Finch. But that moment where he says, “Characters you love so much, that you feel so deeply for, you’ll watch them fall in love a thousand different ways, over and over. I’ve never loved any of my characters that much.” Well GUESS WHAT, I love them that much, and I’m not afraid to say it! I LOVE Sloane. I love Vera and dear sweet Gabriel. I love Frank Sanger (but who doesn’t?). Remy, you had me at Sloinbee. Everett Finch, I aspire to be as cool of a parent as you someday. And Laney, let’s fall in love with boybands and never grow older.
Sloane has a way of speaking that cracks you up. She’s so nonchalant. I could definitely see her with a career in stand-up. There’s no stopping her when she gets on a roll. And she is so fiercely loyal. You are the pink starburst to me. There were so many fantastic one-liners. I can’t list them all!
And Gabe, Gabe, Gabe. There’s something about you. You’re quiet but steady. You’re granite — a nondescript rock on the outside, but spectacular once someone cracks you open. Actually, scratch that. I’m pretty sure you’re gorgeous outside too (at least in my mind). But seriously, how can such a timid MLD have such charm and charisma? Vera; she’s so easily appreciated upfront. But I just feel some sort of magnetic pull to Gabe as a character. I’m so happy that Sloane knows how to push his buttons and unlock his inner greatness. The human burrito scene? Priceless.
The characters are all so passionate and lively (they are ALIVE!). There’s almost a sense of nostalgia to it — do you remember what it was like to be so young and invincible? I could honestly gush about the characters all day.
This book was brilliant and luminous. It was a true gem. I didn’t want it to end. In fact, I got to the end, promptly put the book away, and went back to re-read the last couple of chapters (trash cans onwards) a day later as if I hadn’t just finished the book. Seriously, how does Emma Mills do it? Her books are impossibly compelling. I remember feeling the same way about First & Then. …Does that mean I just found a new favourite author?
- First & Then – Emma Mills
- Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen
- I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
- The Way Back to You – Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott
- Suffer Love – Ashley Herring Blake