Axi Moore is a "good girl": She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn't tell anyone how all she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson--who she also happens to be madly in love with. When Axi spontaneously invites Robinson to come with her on an impulsive cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out of control after the teens find themselves on the run from the police. And when Robinson suddenly collapses, Axi has to face the truth that this trip might be his last. A remarkably moving tale very personal to James Patterson's own past, FIRST LOVE is testament to the power of first love--and how it can change the rest of your life.
James Patterson is one of my favorite authors because of the range and diversity of his books. As soon as I read the description for this one, I put it on hold at the library. I was looking forward to a sweet, quick, easy romance that I could read in a day or two. In that, it succeeded. I read this one in two settings.
However, I didn't love it. It felt like the surface of a story the whole time -- we were skimming the top layer of the story but never delving deeply into the settings, the scenarios, or the characters. I kind of felt like it was trying to be a sweet, simple fun romance story, but then it dealt with a very heavy issue that can't be described as sweet, simple, or fun. I don't want to give anything away, but I feel like it may garner some comparisons to another recent YA novel that, that has become massively popular.
Part of my problem was the time line. Those who have read my reviews in the past know that I don't tend to enjoy stories that jump around in the timeline. This one did that -- letting the reader in on a major piece (if not, THE major piece) of the story only at the beginning of Part 2. The problem with the jumping around here was that the story was trying to show the growing romance between the two main characters. In order to do that, I feel that the reader needs to see them fall in love linearly. Does that make sense? You need to build on something, and these two did, but the reader didn't get to experience the building in any way that made sense because the timeline was not linear. It detracted from the point of the story -- the falling in love.
I also felt like things came together too easily for Axi and Robinson. I feel like sometimes writers start with the idea that they need their characters to be in a certain place at a certain time for particular story development. This is all fine, but they just need to remember that how the characters GET to that point needs to make sense, be logical, and be realistic. One happenstance event? Okay. Several? Ehhh...
Because I am a travel nerd as well as a book nerd, I really enjoyed following along with Axi and Robinson as they experienced new things in each city. I also, of course, really liked Robinson. What a beautiful boy.