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The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

The First Part Last (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Angela Johnson

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1,3251235,869 (4.05)40
Title:The First Part Last
Authors:Angela Johnson
Info:Simon Pulse (2004), Mass Market Paperback, 132 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Tags:johnson, YA, teen, teen pregnancy, new york, nyc, teen father

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The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (2003)



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Bobby tries to explain how he got to where he is now: a sixteen-year-old single father in New York City, with a baby girl he loves more than anything. A very short, very powerful book told in a non-linear fashion. Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  RussianLoveMachine | Apr 1, 2014 |
A quick read and an excellent recommendation for those wanting realistic fiction on teen pregnancy. I loved the character, Bobby, who although he was not prepared to become a teen father, stepped up and adjusted his priorities. ( )
  SparklePonies | Mar 10, 2014 |
In this thrilling book, 16-year-old Bobby is quickly thrust into the responsibilities of adulthood when his girlfriend, Nia, has a baby and Bobby is expected to raise the baby without much assistance. This book is fast-paced and easy to read as well as compelling and enlightening. It is an especially effective hi-lo (high interest, low reading level) book for struggling young adult readers. However, all readers should find it equally readable and riveting. Told through the perspective of Bobby, the chapters in the book alternate between “now” and “then,” with Bobby alternating descriptions of his current situation with flashbacks to the story of Nia’s pregnancy. Author Angela Johnson has painted such a realistic portrait of Bobby and his struggles that readers will be caught up in his emotions and thoughts and feel for him as the story moves along. Many readers will be able to relate to the book’s themes of family, responsibility, and coming of age. This book could be used to teach older middle school/high school students about teenage pregnancy, its consequences, and how to protect against it. ( )
  CarolineBraden | Nov 29, 2013 |
Review's Link: http://taylorsawesomebookreviews.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/book-review-the-first-...
Review's text:

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bobby is the typical teenager. He hangs out with his friends, has a girlfriend, and goes to school. When Bobby’s girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant, Bobby thinks that worse has happened. Unfortunately for Bobby, there were more hardships to come.

The book is not written in chronological order. In addition to being a unique take on teen pregnancy, this book adds more interesting perspectives of storytelling. Students might be able to learn a new style or even just learn from Bobby’s experiences.

I really enjoyed this book. While I was concerned that it would upset me (given my closeness to teen pregnancy) – the book did just the opposite. I did almost cry at one point, but because I could feel Bobby’s pain – not because of stupid choices made.

View all my reviews

What I Want to Add:

I didn’t even realize that this was part of a series until after I read the book and went to review it on goodreads. I’m not sure if I want to read the other books in this series, but would not be opposed to checking them out (if that makes sense…). I borrowed this book from a professor.

I was really worried given the fact that it was written about teenage parents – something that I care deeply about. I was afraid of the book’s characters – that they would be stereotypical and trashy. I was surprised (mostly happily surprised) by the twist in what could have easily been another episode of Sixteen and Pregnant. Having the father being more involved than the mother was pretty awesome!

I wasn’t expecting the big plot twist. I wont ruin it now – but will tell you that there is one.

Honestly I skimmed a lot of this book when I read it. It wasn’t that it was poorly written or anything like that – I just had a lot of stuff going on in my life. I did get through the whole thing in a matter of hours – very easy to read.

I would recommend this book for older middle school students (and above). While some may fear that this will cause more teenage pregnancies (a fear that I do not understand at all!) – well… I have no response to those who fear this book. Guys might be interested in it to see that they (as potential fathers) have a say as well!

My rating: 4/5 stars



Have questions, requests, etc.? Then feel free to e-mail me at taylorreadingblog23@Yahoo.com ( )
  taylor.troncin | Aug 6, 2013 |
The story is told by Bobby, a teen father, and ping-pongs back and forth between chapters labeled "then" and "now" regarding the birth of his daughter, Feather. I thought it was really interesting--the choice of name for the baby-- because every time you read "Feather" you can't help but think of something soft, light, fragile and yet strong enough to support flight.

I thought Bobby's expressions and relationships sounded authentic and it was really important to show him struggling, even crying and really speaking out to the reader about the powerful emotions he's encountering through this experience. Much of our culture disapproves of men showing emotion, especially crying and in this book, even Bobby's father is known for his emotional side over his mother. It was really significant to see how Bobby's family, though divided, worked things out together as he dealt with his girlfriend's pregnancy and the fall out afterwards. It was so brief, yet had room for seemingly insignificant bits in the beginning that came full-circle by the end, becoming much more than they seemed. Like School Library Journal says, it was "Brief, poetic, and absolutely riveting" making it highly accessible and attractive to nearly any YA reader. The story and characters had depth and readers easily become emotionally connected to Bobby and his struggles. It doesn't end happily, and it doesn't end in despair, which is also interesting. This garners it a 5Q in my opinion for the quality of writing.

I believe the universal topics of family, responsibility, and growth/change make The First Part Last a widely popular book for young adults. ( )
  Lomilia | Jun 10, 2013 |
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For Elizabeth Acevedo and the rest of the students in the 1999-2000 sixth-grade class at the Manhattan School for Children
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My mom says that I didn't sleep through the night until I was eight years old.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Bobby's carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter.

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