First Time is a book from Orca Soundings, which takes deep, serious topics and writes them in a fashion that low readers can enjoy without struggling. The readability is easy, as intended, but I feel like the story isn't as developed as it should be.
Haley is starting to feel all alone. Her best friend, Lynn, now has a new boyfriend and car, which are taking precedent over her friendship. On top of that, her mother has a creepy new boyfriend, Larry. Things take a turn for the worst when Larry assaults Haley in her bedroom. Not wanting to ruin her mother's relationship and unable to talk to her best friend about it, Haley struggles to deal with the emotional damage Larry did to her.
This is an interesting story and for the most part it works in the condensed format, right up until the end. I felt like the ending didn't solve anything. The truth comes out but there's no healing. The book needed one more chapter and then I would have been perfectly happy with it. The topic of sex for the first time is dealt with without becoming a sex talk. There's an awkward condom buying scene, but that, like the language of the novel, felt genuine. The story and situations work, right up until the end. I simply felt like there needed to be more closure.
Orca Soundings is a great franchise for lower readers who want intriguing stories without the struggle of reading. That doesn't mean, though, that they need to lose out on the full depth of a story. They shouldn't be cheated out of a good ending. Just the same, this was an enjoyable book.