October 25, 2012

REVIEW: I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs

Title: I Loved You First
Author: Reena Jacobs - Website
Published: July 29, 2011
Format: ebook* 214 pages
Rating: 3/5
Get it: Amazon | Smashwords

My best friend was more than just a best friend to me. Three words summed it up: I heart him. I’d never tell him though. I wasn’t stupid. Besides, what he’d told no one, but me, was a little something I wished I could forget… or ignore. He was gay. I guess gay wouldn’t be bad if I wasn’t so in love with him. Now it was just cruel.

Stereotypes run amok in this college love story: Parties, alcohol, hookups, and breakups. Alexandria Carmichael may find it a bit much as she deals with the unreturned love from the boy who completes her. When all is revealed, not only does she risk losing her best friend forever, but also herself. Without her childhood companion for support, Alexandria takes a journey of self-discovery but fears what she’ll find at the end.

My Review
I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs was about a girl in love with her best friend. The problem of this situation? Her best friend is gay. This isn’t your everyday unrequited love story.

Alex - the best friend anyone could have

To be honest, I didn’t quite connect with Alex until later on in the book. I sympathized with her because I know the pain and heartache she felt. To be in love with someone who doesn’t love you back is really hard. I liked Alex’s tough exterior and how she can hide her pain well. She’s a tough girl. However, I was disappointed in the fact that she kept herself in the shadow of Seth. She centers everything around him, letting him drag her along to places she doesn’t really want to go to. I understand she wants to be close to Seth, but half the time I was annoyed at her inability to step away. Some of the bad decisions she makes in I Loved You First really frustrated me as well. However, Alex really redeems herself because she finally started to understand Seth’s situation. She becomes just Alex, and she finds herself. She was able to finally get out of Seth’s shadow. Even through all the mess she and Seth went through, I cannot deny that Alex was a great friend. 

Seth - the boy Alex has a one-sided love for.
Charming as he was, I really did not like Seth. Besides this one part in the book, I thought Seth treated Alex badly. I saw him as a moody guy who didn’t really appreciate Alex’s friendship or company. Seth was going through some hard times, yes, but the problem was me not being able to connect with him at all. He was so detached after the incident and was a jerk before and after. 

It was already obvious that Alex and Seth were never going to move beyond friendship. Despite the circumstances, I was still rooting for Alex and Seth to be together even though I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. Even through all the ups and downs Alex and Seth went through, I felt they had some chemistry going on. The best thing about I Loved You First is the power Reena Jacobs had at wanting me to root for these two characters. Although I didn’t particularly like Seth as much as I should, I still wanted these two to have a happy ending. In a way, both these characters get there closing and the book ends on a nice note filled with hope and possibilities.

As much as I wanted to love this story, I can only say that I liked it. I was disappointed in some of the situations that went down with Seth and then later on with Alex’s feelings. I was expecting to be hit with a boatload of emotions, but it didn’t happen. I felt like it all went so fast. I didn’t really know where the story was going until I got to the last few chapters and I thought everything that happened with Alex and Dink was unnecessary. Despite this, I was still invested into the story and I enjoyed Reena Jacobs‘ smooth writing. It was realistic, thought provoking, and inspiring. 

Overall, I Loved You First is a good read. It’s definitely not just a book about romance, but one about discovery, moving on, and acceptance. It also addresses the issues of homosexuality and the prejudices one faces.

*Thanks to Reena Jacobs for sending a copy for review 

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