“First Love,” James Patterson’s latest romance novel, takes the reader on a short journey across the United States, focusing on the lives of the ill-fated two characters. The story follows two teenagers, Axi and Robinson, who run away from their small town in Oregon, in which unadulterated madness pursues. There is a catch, however: (spoiler alert) the two both have cancer, Robinson’s diagnosis being way worse than Axi’s.
The book is a fast read, yet leaves a lasting remark. Divided into two parts, the reader is unaware of why the two partake on this road trip for the first half of the book. At first, it appears that Axi just hates her life in the small town where she lives and leaves school just a few weeks before summer vacation to go on a road trip and drags Robinson, a nice boy, along with her. When it is revealed that the two have cancer, things start to connect, and what was just an average love story turns into a tearful journey of hope and lust.
A problem with the novel, however, is that it tries to be a reflection on real-life situations. Written in first person, the reader gets a narrative from Axi on her wild adventures with Robinson. However, most of these adventures are implausible. For example, the two steal motorcycles and cars repeatedly. This is one of the many actions in the book that make it unrealistic.
Despite this fault, “First Love” does a great job at capturing the essence of falling in love and clearly paints the picture for how the two main characters feel about one another. Although the ending is quite predictable, it still captures the reader and makes him truly appreciate the life he has.
Not only are Axi and Robinson in love, but they both are also each other’s first love, hence the title. This ensures confusion and exploration. The process of these two admitting they have unconditional feelings for one another is quite, in a word, cute.
If only life could be as simple as spending life with the one you love. Unfortunately, fate made other plans for this fictional couple. The theme of enjoying every present moment, for tomorrow might not come, is present throughout. By the end of the novel, the reader feels thankful for the life he has, and doesn’t want to waste any more precious time not enjoying everything.
Like time, the love story developed in “First Love” is also precious. No matter how unrealistic the scenarios get, the romantic aspect of the story can make the reader forget about the failing aspects of narrative and focus on the things that actually matter. In this case, love does heal the wound.
Despite the shortcomings of the novel, “First Love” displays an intense look at the beauty of falling love while living with the horror of not knowing what tomorrow will bring.