Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

The First Part Last (Heaven, #2) by Angela Johnson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 1, 2005
Source / Format: Library book!
Page Count: 131.
Genre: Young Adult
Goodreads & Amazon

On Bobby's sixteenth birthday, he receives news from his girlfriend that he never could have expected: she's pregnant. He'll admit it himself that they've been dumb when it comes to protection, but that still doesn't prepare him for the idea of having a baby so young. The parties, art, music and vibrancy of New York City seem to dull as he goes to appointments with Nia and sees social workers who seem to think that the only way out of this is for them to put their baby up for adoption.

I've been thinking about it. Everything. And when Feather opens her eyes and looks up at me, I already know there's change. But I figure if the world were really right, humans would live life backward and do the first part last. They'd be all knowing in the beginning and innocent in the end. Then everybody could end their life on their momma or daddy's stomach in a warm room, waiting for the soft morning light.

It wasn't until I was marking this book as 'currently reading' on Goodreads that I learned this book was part of the Heaven trilogy by Angela Johnson. But after a little research, it seems like the binding factor of the trilogy is a place, rather than the characters. I read a few chapters, and didn't feel like I was missing any pieces, so I continued onward even though this book falls in the middle. The First Part Last was a realistic look into teen pregnancy through the father's eyes. Told in alternating tenses, the Then and Now, the reader gets a heartbreakingly honest look at the struggle and outcome of Nia's pregnancy.  Bobby is truly stuck between the idea of being a father and having to grow up, and still wanting to be a child of the streets, tagging walls, and partying with his friends. We see all of the things he will miss when Nia gives birth, but also everything he gains when he looks into his daughter's eyes. 

This novel was quick and sweet, hence the quick and sweet review ;) Johnson's prose is beautiful to read, and I felt like I was in a game of tug-of-war along with Bobby, and I felt that no matter which way the cookie crumbled, I still would've rooted for him. 

Rating: 4 / 5 


  1. Sounds like a really interesting read! I'll have to check it out!

    I love how well your blog "avatar" (for lack of a better word) matches your actual picture! Did you have someone create that for you?

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. It's a very quick read -- I definitely recommend it. I forgot to mention that it also made me cry a little bit :)

      My boyfriend commissioned someone on fiverr to make the avatar! He surprised me with it, and I couldn't believe how much it looked like me, and that it was only five dollars! Unfortunately I don't know the artist who did it, but if you look on fiverr, there are dozens of people who do the same thing for five bucks!

    2. Wow!! I've never even heard of fiverr - I'll have to check it out!!