Author: Reena Jacobs
Publication Date: July 29, 2011
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.
Alex and Seth have been friends since the first grade. Now in college, things aren't any different. Ok, maybe a little different: Seth is gay and Alex is in love with him. So in love that Alex is willing to go along with Seth's charade of hooking up with girls so nobody finds out his secret. Only someone is going to find out, and in the worst way. When things start falling down for Seth, Alex is finally forced to face her reality as well. What follows is an intense, emotional journey for both Seth and Alex, neither of which are sure what the future holds for themselves or their friendship.
I have to say that I Loved You First was a pleasure to read. In fact, I read the first 85% in one sitting, stopping only because I have kids and duty called. But as soon as I was able, I jumped right back into it and finished the story. Even though it had its troubles, I envied the relationship between Alex and Seth. Finding a true friendship like theirs is rare and my heart ached for them both when the situation finally got out of control. I'll admit that I didn't like Seth at first. I didn't like how he took advantage of Alex's friendship and made her feel uncomfortable at times. But after reading further into his story, I started to feel for him. It must have been incredibly hard having to live such a big lie and also having only one person to talk to about it.
As for Alex, I completely pitied her situation. Just about everyone has been in her position, in love with someone who just doesn't feel the same way for you. Only for Alex, it was torturous because not only was she in love with someone she could never be with, he's gay, leaving her with absolutely no way of ever winning his heart. As if that isn't hard enough, she spends every day with him!
Aside from her relationship with Seth, Alex had more struggles to deal with. Used to being a sidekick, she felt like she had no self worth. I am also a very shy girl, so I connected with Alex on this too. So when something terrible happens and Seth kind of bails on Alex, she is at a complete loss. Finally, she starts taking small steps to figure out who she is as a person on her own. I couldn't help but silently cheer for her. I loved watching her grow stronger and learn that she is just as important as Seth.
Besides Alex and Seth, we are introduced to a small cast of side characters. Bruce, Seth's love interest, was not my favorite. Even though I could see why he may have behaved the way he did, I still didn't like him. My opinion of Dink, football player and Alex's admirer, could have gone either way. I felt like there was something to him, some appealing qualities, but overall I just don't think there were enough to sway me in his favor. Trinity, on the other hand, was a much needed and fun character. She was spunky, bright and I wouldn't mind hanging out with her on a daily basis. I think she was just what Alex needed.
Overall, I highly recommend I Loved You First. The writing is was fantastic and the story refreshing. It's not every day that you come across not only a great, well written story, but also one that really makes you stop and take a look at a difficult social situation. There is definitely something to be learned from this story and it is something we should all take time to think about.
Want to learn more about Reena Jacobs or I Loved You First? Check out her website here. You can also purchase I Loved You First from your favorite online bookseller (and I totally recommend that you do!!!): Amazon, BN.com or Smashwords.