First Day of My Life - Lisa Williamson

When Frankie's best friend, Jojo, goes missing on one of the biggest days of their teenage lives she starts to panic. Along with Jojo missing, a local baby has been kidnapped and although Frankie cannot imagine Jojo being that reckless she has to investigate before something terrible happens.

Thank you to ED PR for sending me a review copy of this publication, publishing today (7th January) with DFB Publishers!

We start with Frankie's POV that is as frantic and worrisome as you'd expect from a 16-year-old whose best friend has gone missing. Williamson perfectly shows the mindset of a teenager in a panic, trying to keep her head but thinking the worst, particularly with Frankie taking actions into her own hands and tracing Jojo herself. I was a little confused by her not including Jojo's parents in her journey but I suppose thinking back to my own youth I would have had the same "do now, think later" outlook Frankie had. In this way, it's very real and raw, although this is fiction the characters were believable and relatable making me connect with them and worry about the outcome. Jojo was exceptionally well-written, Williamson manages to create a convincing teenage reaction to her situation and had me hooked.

I read this novel, cover to cover, in one day. It was the definition of "unputdownable" for me, mainly because the writing was so captivating but also the chemistry between the characters and the plot was extraordinary. Everything about this novel felt authentic, it made me tear up and sigh with relief at many points. I desperately do not want to give the game away with the plot of this novel because if you're looking for something emotional and with a happy-ending I strongly recommend you pick this up and discover it on your own. Although the plot was strong, I did guess part of the 'big reveal' quite early on, I put that down to my own experience of plot twists and not Williamson's ability to build the mystery though.

This novel is classed as YA (young adult) novel but don't be fooled by this, it deals with some heavy issues that I have rarely seen before in YA. It made me feel angry, upset, and just purely elated, it does not shy away or sugarcoat details of childbirth, pregnancy and motherhood that other authors would avoid and I really celebrate this. Even at 23 I haven't seen that kind of detail in adult reading and bringing the reality to YA novels I think is key in making young women aware of what to expect.

Honestly, this was not what I was expecting at all. Even though it had "GCSE's" in the synopsis I thought it was an adult contemporary but soon I realised it was YA and even then, the lines blurred and it became the perfect example of what should be in YA novels. I will forewarn you though, it gives you serious baby vibes.

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