First Comes Love (First Comes Love #1)
Publication date: May 8, 2013
HMH Books for Young Readers, Kindle, 198 pages
Genre: Upper Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan, a girl always searching for what’s next, seemingly unable to settle down, is the exact opposite: full of light and life. On the outside, they seem like an unlikely couple. But looks can be deceiving and besides, opposites attract.
What starts as friendship, turns into admiration, respect and caring, until finally these two lone souls find they are truly in love with each other.
But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they’re going to have to work at it. And learn that sometimes love means having to say you’re sorry.
I decided to re-read this book (and the sequel) prior to reading an ARC of the third and final book not because I couldn’t remember all the details, because these characters are truly unforgettable, but because I wanted to relive Gray and Dylan’s story from start to finish. I didn’t intend to devour three books in a day and a half, but I got caught up in everything about the books and I couldn’t walk away until I had the full story. But, more on the second and third book later.
“Live a little,” she tells me. “You’re never going to experience anything if you wait around for perfect conditions.”
I love characters. That, more than the writing or the story, is what makes me love books. I often connect with characters and, if I don’t, I have a difficult time enjoying the book. Dylan and Gray were amazingly easy to love. At the time I first read the book nearly two years ago, it was my first time coming across characters quite like these two. They were both so unique. Dylan probably more than Gray, butI’ve always loved Gray because he doesn’t fit in any of the stereotypes. He wears his heart on his sleeve and when he loves someone, he’s all in. To this day, literally hundreds of books later, these two still stand out and, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve not yet encountered a pair like them.
“This guy is perfect. On the surface he might be callused, but looking through a creative lens, I see layers and textures. He reminds me of a folding chair, closed up and waiting to be shoved in a storage closet. I’m determined to see him unfold.”
“If you never leave where you come from, I don’t think you’ll ever figure out who you are,” she says. “Because how much is forced on you? How much of your personality is imposed instead of created? That’s why I left. I think people need to leave in order to find their potential.”
Dylan is a complicated character, but I absolutely adored her. She was quirky and honest and thoughtful. She doesn’t waste her time worrying about trivial things or what others may think of her. She loves deeply. She’s a free spirit that isn’t content to stay in one place too long. There’s just so much life in her. She remains positive through almost everything, but she doesn’t shy away from other emotions either. She’s a photographer, so I immediately connected with her on that. I loved her words about photos and why she loved photography so much. The world is an interesting place through her eyes. I love her way of thinking and the questions she asks. I’d liked to think if we met, we would be friends in real life. That’s not to say that, at times, I didn’t find her frustrating. The things I loved about her the most – her spirit, independence and need to experience all life had to offer – were the ones that drove me the craziest as the summer drew to a close and it was time for her to leave. I know it’s not fair, but I wanted her with Gray, where I thought she belonged.
“I’m fine with being alone,” he insists. “I like the company I keep. Most people need constant distractions, because if they slow down long enough to evaluate their lives, it makes them internally combust. Like if you folded them inside out, you’d find a huge monster inside. A train wreck.”
Gray was just about as far opposite of Dylan as you can get. He was moody and didn’t like many people. He and his family had been through a really rough time and none of them had truly recovered. Gray didn’t let people in. He didn’t want to. A baseball player who gave up the sport after the tragedy his family went through, he was gorgeous and mysterious. As Dylan and Gray’s friendship grew and she began to help him pull his walls down, I fell in love with him right along with her. It was impossible not to.
“I stare at Dylan and feel a tug on my heart, like she’s holding a string attached to it and is giving it a yank. She reminds me of someone I used to love. Someone so incredibly original, I was positive no one else like her existed in the world.”
“Whatever it is, it’s real and it’s terrifying and mystifying and even though my eyes are closed I can see showers of light. I wrap my arms around Dylan and melt against her and I swear to God I could kiss this girl forever.”
The two of them together were nothing short of magical. She didn’t expect to fall in love over the summer. Gray’s walls were built high and locked tight, but somehow this strange girl made it through. She helped him recover from a painful loss. He helped her to experience life. They were such a solid couple. I hated knowing they had an expiration date. It was almost painful to know the end was coming. They fell in love quickly, but it was so natural it was like breathing.
“Because if you’re lucky enough to have people in your life that make you happy, that inspire you, that move you, you need to devour each moment you have together because you never know how many of those moments you have left. These people are sacred.”
“What do you say when you’re not enough to make someone stay? What do you do when you meet the love of your life and realize it’s all about timing? How do you accept that no matter how perfect you are for each other, circumstances get in the way? How do you compete with that kind of fate?”
First Comes Love is a small book that’s big on emotion and feels. It was beautifully written. Katie Kacvinsky has a way with words. They made me laugh and cry. I can’t even tell you how many passages I read multiple times because they were just so gorgeous I couldn’t move past them. I highlighted roughly half the book. (Not exaggerating.) This book and these characters will always have a special place in my heart. I relate all too well to their story, which made it even more emotional at times.
“You know you love someone when he makes all the ordinary moments feel extraordinary. When doing absolutely nothing feels like everything.”
If you’re looking for an upper young adult or clean new adult book that packs an emotional punch, look no further. From first love, family issues, finding yourself, losing yourself, being yourself, following your dreams… this book tackles it all beautifully and with characters you won’t soon forget.