I received this book for free from [author] in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The First to Know by Abigail Johnson
Published by Harlequin Teen on November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, YA
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Dana Fields's father never knew his parents. When Dana secretly does a DNA test for her dad, hoping to find him some distant relatives for his birthday, her entire world implodes. Instead of a few third cousins, Dana discovers a half brother her age whose very existence means her parents' happy marriage is a lie.
Dana's desire to know her half brother, Brandon, and the extent of her dad's deception, clashes with her wish not to destroy her family. When she sees the opportunity to get to know Brandon through his cousin, the intense yet kind Chase, she takes it. But the more she finds out about Brandon, her father's past and the irresistible guy who'll never forgive her if he discovers the truth, the more she sees the inevitable fallout from her own lies. With her family crumbling around her, Dana must own up to her actions and find a way to heal the breach—for everyone—before they're torn apart for good.
Abigail Johnson is a new-to-me author so I had no idea what to expect but The First to Know blew me away. It’s a heartfelt family drama and totally worth it.
Dana Fields just wants to do something nice for her dad for his birthday. What starts off as a heartwarming gesture soon turns into Dana’s worst nightmare. In her search for her father’s family, Dana discovers that she has a half-brother her age that no one knew about.
When she confronts her half-brother, he wants nothing to do with her. With no one she can really turn to, she does what she really shouldn’t, she turns to her half-brother’s cousin (she and the cousin aren’t related by blood.)
I know, I know. This all sounds like a soap opera and it kind of is but in the best way possible. Johnson clearly knows how to write her dramas. The book is just dramatic enough, the angst just right enough that it doesn’t become overbearing. Instead, you feel sympathetic to Dana’s dilemma who really doesn’t know what to do with this new found information that has the possibility to tear apart her nearly perfect family.
Watching the tension build up and Dana struggle to figure out what to do is truly satisfying in some ways because nothing about the situation is easy. There is no simple answer and there is no right or wrong. Johnson forces readers to step outside of our occasional black and white binaries to truly examine the complexity of the situation at hand. I loved every single minute of it.
Of course, like all books, this one isn’t perfect either but it IS good and one I’d recommend to anyone who loves some substantial angst and good drama. The First to Know is absolutely worth the read and I do hope you’ll choose to give it a shot!
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About the Author
Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snow storms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip (in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has) and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen, but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production of Cinderella, and becoming a published author.
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