Kristilyn reviews The First Part Last

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review, Guest Post

The First Part Last Cover

Released: December 28, 2004 (Simon Pulse)
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Bobby’s a classic urban teenager. He’s restless. He’s impulsive. But the thing that makes him different is this: He’s going to be a father. His girlfriend, Nia, is pregnant, and their lives are about to change forever. Instead of spending time with friends, they’ll be spending time with doctors, and next, diapers. They have options: keeping the baby, adoption. They want to do the right thing. If only it was clear what the right thing was.

My Thoughts


This was a book recommended to me by my friend who’s the librarian at my local library. I had been reading Ellen Hopkins’ book Crank, one of my first ventures into novels written in verse and while this one isn’t written in verse per se, my friend thought it might be of interest to me as she really enjoyed it.


The First Part Last is a short read with no great amounts of detail, but is still a wonderful story about Bobby, Nia, and the outcomes of teenage pregnancy. I admit that the first thing I loved about this book was the explanation of the title and how it would be wonderful if we started out knowing everything, having wonderful experiences in life, only to end our lives as babies on a parent’s chest, with that feeling of warmth and contentment.


One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was that it was written from Bobby’s perspective. He’s the typical teenage boy who wants to play videogames, shoot hoops, and be reckless with his friends. I’d like to think that once a baby was to come in the picture, Bobby would own up, grow up, and take responsibility, but the author shows the reader, very realistically, that this isn’t the case. While Bobby wants to do the right thing, his old self keeps creeping back into the picture.


And this isn’t a bad thing. At no point does the author start preaching about the way it should be when someone gets pregnant accidentally – especially at such a young age (both Bobby and Nia are 16-years-old).


This was a very beautifully written book, a very fast read, and one that really piqued my interest in Angela Johnson’s work. My only disappointment was that the story was too short and I found myself wanting more details and more back-story into the main characters lives.


Admittedly, the only other stories I’ve read about teenage pregnancy usually dealt with more issues than the pregnancy itself – sometimes there was drugs, or rape, or just social issues that seemed to take pertinence over the pregnancy. It was kind of nice to read a story about kids who are just that – kids. There are no other external forces except that they want to have a childhood, but they still want to do what’s right.


While it was indeed refreshing to read a story like this from the male’s perspective, a strong part of me wanted to read about Nia. Of course, a lot of pregnancy stories are written from the female perspective, but this one seemed to be like a special case. I was desperate to know what was going on in Nia’s head. It just wasn’t enough for me to get Bobby’s version of her.


This book is perfect if you’re looking for a story that packs an emotional punch, but still keeps you guessing. There’s plenty of mystery going on, which is only revealed at the end, and you should be left with a feeling that while things aren’t perfect, they’re moving along the right path. For some, this book might be just a little too neatly tied in a bow, but hopefully the ride will still be worth it.

Kristilyn from Reading in Winter

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.

Many thanks to Kristilyn for volunteering to be my first guest reviewer! If you haven’t ever checked out her blog, click on her signature to do so. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

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4 Responses to “Kristilyn reviews The First Part Last”

  1. Thanks for sharing my review, Anne! :)

  2. […] I moseyed over to Anne’s blog, Creativity’s Corner, and reviewed Angela Johnson’s The First Part Last. […]

  3. […] Kristilyn visited and reviewed The First Part Last for us. […]

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