cover image First & Then

First & Then

Emma Mills. Holt, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-62779-235-6

Devon is an only child—until her cousin Foster unexpectedly moves in with her family. Now Devon has a misfit younger “brother” to keep an eye on as he navigates his first year of high school, even as she struggles with an unrequited crush on her best friend Cas and not quite knowing what she wants to do with her life. In her first novel, Mills takes inspiration from Jane Austen for both romantic and family dynamics; Devon’s developing rapport with geeky and awkward Foster, as well as his role in bringing Darcy-esque football captain Ezra into Devon’s life, is not only fun, but a rewarding portrait of a nontraditional sibling relationship. The unlikely catalyst of football in Foster’s and Devon’s worlds—and the popularity and crowd that go with the sport—add a fresh backdrop to typical Austen themes of social standing and self-awareness. Readers will root both for Foster (as his school’s new varsity kicker) and for Devon and Ezra to discover their worthiness for the other in this satisfying romance. Ages 14–up. Agent: Bridget Smith, Dunham Literary. (Oct.)