ARC Review: Freaking Love, Part One: First Love

Freaking Love, Part One: First Love by Bethany Monaco Smith
Publication Date: 28 January 2022

Freaking Love is the beautiful and emotional story of two teens who have been in love since they were children, facing the biggest obstacle imaginable – an unplanned pregnancy. Maia is mature and responsible, and once the shock of the pregnancy test wears off, she realizes that she is going to have to face this challenge head-on, starting with telling her family and close friends, and of course her boyfriend, Braden. Unfortunately Braden is not exactly as mature and responsible as Maia, which leads to problems down the line. But Maia is blessed to have an incredible support system once everyone has had time to adjust to the news.

This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride as these two people – still just kids themselves – figure out how to navigate pregnancy and life as new parents. I’ll be honest with you – this book doesn’t have the happily-ever-after that you might want. It ends with a cliffhanger that will break you a little bit. But it’s the first book in a series, so there is more to come for Maia and Braden and their friends and family. I adored these supporting characters, by the way. I want to be in the middle of all that love and support and laughter and teasing and even more love.

My only criticism I have is that I wish the subject of teenage alcohol use had been brought to the forefront not just as a symptom of larger issues, but as a major issue in and of itself. But it may be that I am just extremely sensitive about this subject, as the mother of a teenager myself and as someone who sees the effects of teenage drinking on a regular basis in my job. And one other note for those that read YA and are not accustomed to seeing teenagers actually having sex on the page, just be aware that there are a couple of scenes that are not overly graphic, but it’s not a closed-door situation. Just something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of letting a younger teen read this.

But overall I really enjoyed this book. The author did a fantastic job with a delicate subject and gave us a beautiful coming of age story that has me looking forward to the next book in the series.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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