A lovely story about friendship, finding yourself, confidence and first love, this title from Kim Lehman manages to present a story that feels real, possible and hopeful.
First, Last, and Always
Charlotte is a freshman in high school, a bit of a romantic dreamer, with an annoying and not so likable sister. A bit on the chunky side, Charlotte deals with schoolmates unkind remarks daily: not quite in the popular crowd, she’s a bit reserved. What hit me harder, for Charlotte, was her family’s dismissive and often demeaning attitude toward her, calling her fat and being “embarrassed” to be seen with her. I couldn’t quite find Charlote’s rather casual attitude to the hurtful words as real, she almost seems to ignore them, but little clues are dropped that she does have some issues with the namecalling. What does shine through, however, is her solid sense of self, even for one so young.
Told in dual naratives, we meet Miles: he and Charlotte have been frends for ages, and he really is a wonderful kid. But, he has more of a crush on Charlotte, and is just too scared to tell her.
These two are adorable together, as they navigate their own issues and learn to decipher real friendship and feeling from their dreams and the ‘friends’ with bad intentions.
I enjoy Lehman’s ability to keep her characters real and honest, and add in a bit of mystery to solve: her stories have romance, but are not solely about those romances but more about navigating relationships and choices that teens and tweens encounter regularly. This particular story is perfect for middle through high school students, as it navigates social and romantic situations with a sense of hopeful optimism, never going overly dark or too laden with content that would be inappropriate.
Title: First, Last, and Always
Author: Kim Lehman
Genre: Coming of Age, Teen Reads, Young Adult
Published on: 24 November, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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CHARLOTTE Hubbard dreams about falling in love on a daily basis, but she’s long rejected the idea that someone would ever be interested in an overweight, unappealing girl like her; an opinion that is shared by her way more popular and attractive sister who seems to enjoy pointing out Charlotte's flaws as much as possible.
AND . . .
Then there's MILES Fiester, who thinks that making the basketball team is as impossible as getting the girl he’s liked since grade school to notice him. He’d have more luck getting his deadbeat dad to visit him for a day. But, in the first few weeks of high school, Charlotte and Miles come to discover that life is unpredictable, love happens when you least expect it, and there’s always a first for everything.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.