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I Loved You First

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My best friend was more than just a best friend to me. Three words summed it up: I heart him. I’d never tell him though. I wasn’t stupid. Besides, what he’d told no one, but me, was a little something I wished I could forget… or ignore. He was gay. I guess gay wouldn’t be bad if I wasn’t so in love with him. Now it was just cruel.

Stereotypes run amok in this college love story: Parties, alcohol, hookups, and breakups. Alexandria Carmichael may find it a bit much as she deals with the unreturned love from the boy who completes her. When all is revealed, not only does she risk losing her best friend forever, but also herself. Without her childhood companion for support, Alexandria takes a journey of self-discovery but fears what she’ll find at the end.

212 pages, Paperback

First published July 29, 2011

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About the author

Reena Jacobs

17 books103 followers
Reena Jacobs is just your typical writer who loves to see her words in print. As an avid reader, she’s known to hoard books and begs her husband regularly for “just one more purchase.” Her home life is filled with days chasing her preschooler and nights harassing her husband. Between it all, she squeezes in time for writing and growling at the dog.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 53 reviews
Profile Image for Bex.
385 reviews58 followers
January 26, 2012
I won this book in the Goodreads giveaway section (Yay) and I have to say I am glad I entered.

First of all I would like to start off by WARNING potential readers to make sure you have spare time before starting this one because it hooked me in from beginning till the end.

Alexandria (Alex) Carmichael and Seth Richards have been best friends since elementary school, now at College the two are still inseparable Seth is a social butterfly always attending parties. While Seth is good looking and a great baseball player who all the girls want, Alex on the other hand is Seth’s shadow who feels like a fly on the wall and invisible to everyone even Seth at times. Alex is also in love with Seth and has been for some time, unfortunately Seth is gay and no-one knows except for his BFF Alex.

I loved this book, once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down, and when I had to go do my laundry I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I loved the characters and the plot and this will definitely be one of those books that I will read over and over again without getting bored. Excellent job Reena Jacobs, this book is an excellent read and I loved the messages for life this book has the potential to teach people something about becoming better and more understanding about different aspects in life. Will definitely be on the lookout for more books by this author and recommend this too all Y.A lovers out there.
Profile Image for Shirley .
1,877 reviews56 followers
August 22, 2011
I first found out about I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs from a fellow book blogger - aobibliosphere
The description enticed me and after reading the first chapter I was totally hooked.
The story centers around two college freshmen who have been best friends since elementary school, Alex and Seth. Alex is the only person in the world who knows Seth has a secret. Seth is gay and doesn't want anyone to know. Alex has no problem keeping the secret, the only problem is he's not only her best friend, she's also in love with him.
You can see the problems facing these two characters. That's the premise that drew me to this book. I had no idea how far the book would draw me in once I started. Once I began, I couldn't stop. I started reading and finished in one evening. Not sure exactly how long it is page wise because I read it on my Kindle, but the length doesn't matter. The depth of feeling you get from these characters is what's important. And boy is there depth.
I have read books that have made me tear up a little, but there were parts of this story that made me actually cry. Granted, it was late and I was tired, but I think if I would have read this book in the middle of the afternoon my reaction would have been the same.
This book deals with prejudice, family, friendship, loyalty and love and holds nothing back. Reena does a wonderful job of bringing all these emotions to the forefront. The story is told from Alex's point of view, but you have no problem at all sensing the emotions of the other characters as well. The aspect of gay prejudice is handled wonderfully, but it goes even deeper than that. It is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Shanan.
174 reviews13 followers
January 7, 2012
In A Nutshell:
The expectations I had after first reading the description of I Loved You First did not at all prepare me for what I got out of this story. I thought I Loved You First would explore friendship, but it explores more aspects of friendship than I expected. I expected a story where one friend had fallen in love with the other friend and a story where one friend was hiding his true self from the world. I was surprised to see the story explore a friendship where one friend lost her sense of self.

What do you do when you fall in love with your best friend? There is no easy answer. Reena Jacobs adds another dimension to this question by asking what can Alex do when she falls in love with Seth, her best friend who is gay.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I felt a connection to the characters, which I think had a lot to do with the way that Reena Jacobs incorporated the character's thoughts, motives, and reasoning into the story. For instance, Seth's desire to hide his sexuality makes a lot more sense when he explains how he fears it would have affected his experience with the baseball team. There was no easy answer for his situation--honesty could have led him to be ostracized in high school the way he was ostracized at the university. However, it could be asked if he would have been ostracized in the same way if his sexuality had been revealed in a different way at the university.

But Alex's question stuck with me the most. At what point does a friendship become too much--too consuming? When does a friend start losing him or herself in the friendship? Is it a good thing or not? What I liked the most was that Reena Jacobs does not give us the answer. It is something that we as readers can discuss, can analyze, but the answer is not handed us in the story. The ending is complex--not completely happy and not completely sad. It is realistic. It is honest. And it left me with a lot to think about.
Profile Image for Sarika Patkotwar.
Author 4 books61 followers
November 24, 2011
I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs is a very sweet read. By that, I mean the story is very different, something that I had not read before and I thouroughly enjoyed every page of it!
The book is a stroy of two best friends, Seth and Alexandria, who have been BFFs since first grade. Alex is deeply in love with her best friend, however, the tiny problem here is that seth is gay. Both of them keep their secrets to themselves. Alex is the only one who knows Seth's secret and Seth realises hers eventually. The whole concept of Seth being a 'closet gay' according to Alex, really makes one consider the problems faced by LGBTs. Yes, the book has a message to convey. Seth isn't open about his orientation and pretends to be like any other guy. He gets himself involved in sports and girls even, and Alex has been over shadowed by his popularity since childhood. A ton of interesting events make the book so interesting!
Without revealing much, I would just like to say that the book has a wonderful ending and the other characters add so much of shine and stand out in the presense of both Seth and Alex. This book won't take up much time, so give it a go! The book is a joyful and completely interesting read about practical, daily and genuine stuff. Cheers Reena Jacobs and thanks again for the giveaway! :)
Profile Image for Vivian.
Author 2 books137 followers
September 19, 2011
Puppy love, first love, and unrequited love, all seem to be the central theme in I LOVED YOU FIRST by Reena Jacobs.

Alexandra (Alex) and Seth have been best friends since elementary school. They are now both freshmen in college. Alex's entire social life revolves around Seth and his needs. Although Seth has recently revealed to her that he is gay. She vacillates between understanding and accepting that her love will never be returned in a romantic fashion and thinking that she knows what is best for him . . . a relationship with her. She openly facilitates his "cover" as a straight guy by playing the third-wheel on dates. Alex is blind to all that is around her except Seth. It isn't until Seth's "straight" cover is blown and he openly flirts with a guy at a frat party that Alex even realizes that one of the frat brothers is interested in her.

Alex is not a likable character. Even accepting that I LOVED YOU FIRST is possibly a YA read, she comes across as extremely selfish and juvenile while trying to appear selfless in her devotion to Seth. When Seth becomes depressed about being unintentionally outed, Alex is more focused on her needs and thoughts than her BFF and so-called love interest. The level of immaturity of both Seth and Alex was hard to swallow at times. I LOVED YOU FIRST held great promise in that it discusses the difficulty some people feel and deal with while being different, whether that difference is based on ethnicity, religion or sexual preference. I wanted to like Seth because he knows he'll have to deal with the prejudices people have when confronted with homosexuality, especially in athletics. Perhaps I expected a little too much OR I'm simply out of touch with the variety of teenage personalities and behaviors, but I LOVED YOU FIRST didn't quite do it for me. Ms. Jacobs has provided a well-written story with fully developed characters but the level of immaturity was difficult for me to handle. Fortunately Alex and Seth do redeem themselves toward the end of the story, providing the reader with a promise of maturity and happier days ahead.
Profile Image for Tracey.
625 reviews467 followers
August 1, 2012
I Loved You First is the story of Alex and Seth. It's a story of friendship, love, personal struggles and growth. It's a story of getting lost in the shadows of someone else. It's a story of rediscovering the person that you are.

Alex is desperately in love with her best friend Seth. She will do anything for him. Even to the extent of relegating herself to the backburner. But it doesn't matter how much she loves him, or what she does to make him happy. Seth will never return her feelings. For Seth has a secret. A secret he goes to great lengths to keep hidden. Seth is gay.

Reena Jacobs has done an amazing job of conveying the struggles of a gay man trying to fit in. His struggles were so very real. As far as we have come in society in the acceptance of someone who is gay, there still remains a section of people who think that being gay is wrong, or bad, or evil, or a choice. Tell me, who would choose to be looked down upon? Who would choose to be bullied? Who would choose to be beat up on? Who would choose to be an outcast? Who would choose to have friends turn against them? Who would choose to have to pretend to be someone they are not?

When I first started reading I Loved You First I thought the main focus of the story was going to be on Seth because his story is one that I could relate to... I have a brother who is gay... But in the end this was both Seth's and Alex's stories. I can't say that I liked both characters all of the time because there were points in the book when they both did things that annoyed me. But I think that what makes characters likeable is that they have flaws.

I Loved You First is not your typical YA read. It broaches some pretty hard hitting issues, besides the ones I have already spoken about, but is an incredibly well written and touching story!! I thank the author so much for writing it and for giving me the opportunity to read and review it!!
Profile Image for ѦѺ™.
447 reviews
September 9, 2011
We have been friends together In sunshine and in shade. - Caroline Sheridan Norton

Alexandria Carmichael and her BFF Seth have known each other since first grade. Alex, though, has fallen in love with Seth over the years and secretly pines for him. it would have been less complicated or perhaps simpler for her to deal with her feelings if Seth were not gay but he is.
author Reena Jacobs has written a beautiful and bittersweet young adult coming-of-age story that deals with friendship, love, bigotry and self-discovery. set in a college campus, it introduces the reader to football jocks, campus queens and slices of academic and dormitory life. the characters are well fleshed out and the language is fresh and contemporary. situations and emotions echo humor and pathos which readers can relate to regardless of sexual preference, race and even religious affiliation.
Alex's unrequited love and Seth's attempts to "stay in the closet" bring drama and conflict which caught my attention from the story's beginning to its unexpected conclusion.
overall, this is a wonderful book about people falling in love and finding themselves a place in the world where they could grow, be happy and simply be free.

Disclosure of Material Connection: i received a copy of I Loved You First from the author herself. i did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was i obligated to write a positive one. all opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. this disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Profile Image for Sandra.
932 reviews54 followers
August 18, 2011
I don't understand unrequited love at all, probably because I never experienced it. If I liked a guy growing up and he didn't like me back, I got over it and moved on pretty quick. What I especially don't understand is Alex's unrequited love for Seth. She thought that he was awesome, but why couldn't friendship be enough for her? It's not like he was going to have a serious relationship with another woman. That bothered me about this novella, but I admit that maybe I just don't understand because I haven't been there.

What was even more annoying was Seth himself. I can't tell you why without going into some spoilers about the ending, but he was whiny in general.

I will give the author this - I Loved You First was an extremely well written self-published novella. The characters were all developed equally, the plot flowed evenly, and there were no spelling or grammar errors. It wasn't a fast paced page-turner, but I kept clicking those pages to find out what would happen next, would Alex ever get over it?

The author's representation of college has been called stereotypical, but I thought it was pretty accurate (aside from the dormrooms.) Trying to find new friends at college can be hard; there is always that desire to get off campus; and college frat parties are obnoxious sometimes, especially when the brothers are so dense. It happens!

The afterword by the author caught me off guard. I thought she had done a great job in the novella showing that people need to have tolerance and understanding and her afterword came off as superfluous and, unfortunately, preachy. If you read the book, skip the afterword.
Profile Image for L_manning.
289 reviews41 followers
August 30, 2011
Alex is used to being in the shadow of her best friend Seth. He's out-going and popular. Seth is the kind of guy all the girls fall for, including Alex. There's just one huge problem. Seth is gay. Alex knows this, but no one else does. She is about to learn how hard it is to keep someone's secret, and how hard it is when you fall for the wrong person. Can Alex learn to be her own person and step out of Seth's shadow? Also, can she learn to deal with her feeling about Seth?

This book is a very modern and different take on your typical love story. Alex falls for someone completely right for her in some ways, but it's incredibly hard because she knows Seth will never be able to return her feelings. On top of that, Alex never feels like her own person. She has a hard time separating herself from her identity as Seth's side-kick. As Alex begins to branch out and try to figure out who she is, she realizes that things between her and Seth cannot stay the same.

I found Alex to be a very interesting and complex character. I was very happy for her as she began to discover that she could in fact be a good friend and find out what she wanted in life. I was sad for her as she struggled with her feelings for Seth. The end gave me great hope for her and her future. If you are looking for a quick read that's a change from your usual love story, then look no further. This book is entertaining to read while still managing to give you some things to think about.

Book provided by author for review.
Profile Image for Alexis Villery.
225 reviews11 followers
March 19, 2012
Alex has found herself in the most difficult situation of her life. Not only is she in love with her best friend who happens to be gay, but she has allowed herself to disappear in a crowd and she doesn't even know how to stand up for herself anymore. Both Seth and Alex face difficult issue but they've always had each other. This time, it looks like even a best friend can't set things right.

I really enjoyed this book. The premise drew me in and I was not disappointed. Not only is Alex in love with her best friend Seth, but she is starting college and dealing with the issues and insecurities with that. I also loved that there were no easy answers for the character. The situation sounded very realistic and extremely relevant. However, I wished that Ms. Jacob had addressed some of the issue that came up a little bit more. Serious issues like sexuality, suicide, and drugs were brought up but seemed to be skated over. I also didn't quite connect with Alex. I understood that Alex was in love with Seth because she said it over and over again but I'm not quite sure that I believed it. Her actions didn't seem to show that she was in love with him. In fact, I think she could have been a better friend. However, I think if I understood why she was in love with him, it would have been a little less teenage drama/angst and I would have been a bit more invested in the conflict.

Overall, this was a good read that kept me interested from beginning to end.
Profile Image for FredTownWard.
11 reviews4 followers
September 12, 2011
NOT the Political Correctness You Were Expecting,

One could be forgiven for assuming this novel would be the worst sort of politically correct garbage based upon the premise: girl secretly in love with her BFF who just happens to be gay -- yeah, yeah, cue the sad violins. However, very much to Ms. Jacobs' credit, it is not. In fact this is a thoughtful (and thought provoking) novel about the timeless problem of unrequited love, its costs, its consequences, and the necessity of finally dealing with it in a clear-eyed fashion. The homosexual angle is merely a modern complication on an old, old theme, though it did pretty much rule out any surprise happy ending.

In addition it is very much to Ms. Jacobs' credit that she has the guts to portray a less than attractive gay character, especially in this day and time. A one word summation of said secretly gay BFF Seth Richards' character would be "selfish". Oh, he has better excuse for selfishness than most, but that's all it is, an excuse. In order to maintain his cover Seth is a serial emotional abuser of the young women who are attracted to his considerable good looks, stringing them along for awhile and then dumping them like yesterday's garbage, apparently without any trace of remorse. Now to his credit Seth refuses to so use his BFF Alex Carmichael (even though she wants him to), but he doesn't hesitate to use her in other ways or to take advantage of her affections. Even his motivations for staying in the closet are primarily selfish: in order to make things easier for him in his dealings with (and showering with) his teammates, and if his seemingly planned coming out of the closet upon his sports career retirement were to cause former teammates any grief, there's no reason to believe selfish Seth would give them a second thought. Even Seth's disastrous "outing" is the logical (though of course unjustified) consequence of his selfishness; he finally uses and abuses a girl who decides to get even instead of just getting mad.

(Frankly, in this incident IMHO Ms. Jacobs' is a little bit guilty of stacking the sympathy deck in favor of Seth. If a heterosexual boy even under the influence of something he did not knowingly ingest were to do what Seth did to a girl instead, would we not call it sexual assault? And if she had kicked him in the groin when he was incapacitated, how much sympathy would readers have felt for him?)

That aside throughout the book Ms. Jacobs handles the issues and her characters a whole lot more evenhandedly than one could possibly have expected these days. Only at the very end does she get a little bit preachy (and, no, I'm not talking here about her "Afterwards") and fail a bit in fairness, when she fails IMHO to cut her football players the necessary slack. To put it bluntly, people forced by circumstances to get naked in front of strangers are ENTITLED to be a little uncomfortable with homosexuality. They're not entitled to beat anybody up, of course, but it isn't right to turn people in that situation into sex objects against their will or without their knowledge, else we'd compel the cheerleaders to shower with the football team. (Football players might like that so much they'd quit whining about having to shower with gays. Cheerleaders? Probably not so much.)

Later, in the aforementioned "Afterwards", Ms. Jacobs gets even more preachy, and I don't have a problem with most it, but I have some nits to pick. Yes, it is a terrible sin to hate homosexuals, clearly every bit as much a sin as it is to hate people who believe homosexual behavior to be sinful. (H'm, I wonder which sin is the more prevalent today? Might be kind of close.) However, Ms. Jacobs is wrong when she suggests that Christians are simply supposed to ignore it. Though clearly not the worst of sins, homosexual behavior is one of the most often condemned sins in the Bible. (It is almost as if the Bible was inspired by an omniscient God who somehow knew that one day homosexual behavior would be the first sin with an advocacy group, and He wanted to make His position on the subject crystal clear.) It is not of course the duty of Christians to judge homosexuals, but as part of our duty to lead people to Christ, it is necessary to point out and condemn the sins that make Christ's salvation necessary in the first place, especially when said sins are approved of by society. (Christians needn't spend a lot of time condemning theft and murder. Most non-Christians "get it", probably even most thieves and murderers "get it", but homosexuality is another matter. When the modern world says that homosexual activity is "just another lifestyle", Christians must respond that, according to the Bible at least, it is just another sin for which the penalty is eternity in Hell. We should do so in love rather than anger of course, but we should certainly continue to do so.

Ms. Jacobs is also wrong when she contends that providing equal rights to the LGBT community is not detrimental to our families because, leaving aside the whole touchy area of what providing such "equal" rights might mean or result in, HOW the LGBT community is going about getting those rights is EXTREMELY detrimental to our families and to ALL of our rights because LGBT activists are "cheating" by relying on judicial activism.

As contrast, remember how women got the right to vote in this country; they got an amendment to the Constitution passed, despite being unable to vote for any of the people who would have to make this happen. They had to do this because the Constitution as written clearly did not grant women the right to vote so it was necessary to go through the long, arduous process our founders set up for changing the Constitution (and thus protecting it from sudden whims and political winds). Facing this, it is awful tempting to resort to the backdoor method of constitutional change: get a majority of supreme court justices to misuse the power of judicial review in order to pencil in anything they want (and cross out anything they don't like). Besides being SO much easier, this method also prevents your opponents from easily doing anything about your shameless shredding of the Constitution unless they are willing to stoop to your level...

or below it. That was the problem presented by the most outrageous case of judicial activism in US history: not Roe v. Wade, but Dred Scott v. Sandford. In this infamous case a slavery sympathizing Supreme Court majority took the opportunity of a challenge to the Fugitive Slave Act in order to invalidate all of the congressional compromises limiting the spread of slavery into new states, thus leaving the slavery opposing majority of Americans with no legal, political(, or peaceful) recourse, so they were forced to find another one.

Sure enough some number of years and 600,000+ dead later Dred Scott v. Sandford was finally overturned. Now, it is unlikely that any possible upcoming judicial activist Supreme Court rulings will come at quite this high a price, but if you think you've seen hostility to the LGBT community's agenda before, wait until some future judicially activist Supreme Court pencils in gay marriage on the entire country over the overwhelming opposition of the people every time they've been given a chance to vote on it.

Constitutional amendment passages tend to settle issues; judicially activist cram downs tend not to. (Remember how well Roe v. Wade "settled" the issue of abortion?) In addition Supreme Courts that are able to "make up" stuff you agree with are also able to "make up" stuff you disagree with when your opponents get control of them as they inevitably will. Finally, oft oppressed minorities would be wise not to trade the protections offered by a written constitution in favor of an uncertain future in which their rights will be determined by whomever currently has judicial control over the Etch A Sketch of the United States.

Note: For full disclosure I received this ebook in return for agreeing to review it.
Profile Image for Jamie Kline.
190 reviews4 followers
August 22, 2011
Review: I couldn't wait to read this book! It sounded like a fun, interesting, and probably emotional read; plus, I felt like I could relate to Alex on some level. It happened in high school; instead of the guy being just my best friend though, he was also my boyfriend. I was delighted of course, but I always felt like something was really off about the relationship. We broke up after about a year and I was crushed. Fast forward to a couple of years later, after we had graduated high school, and he finally got the courage to admit that he was gay and live the life he was meant to. We remain friends to this day and I am so truly happy for him. I just wish he had felt comfortable enough to come out in high school so he didn't have to hide who he was, but I also know how cruel and uncaring people can be. Enough about my personal story, on to the review!

1) Character Development: I definitely liked Alex and felt for her situation. She was the only one who knew that Seth was gay and was madly in love with him. I know it would be hard to see the guy you adore dating other girls, even if you knew it was just for show. I don't think in the beginning she really grasped that he was 100% gay. She seemed to grasp at the few bits of hope she could that she would be able to change his mind and he would fall in love with her. She also seemed pretty bitter in the beginning as well, constantly referring to Seth as her "buddy", knowing deep down that's all he would ever be to her and not liking the reality. Everything in this book is kind of a double edged sword; on one hand, I wished that Alex would support Seth's sexuality more (outwardly she did, but inside she wanted him for herself), but on the other hand I wanted to shake Seth and tell him how much he was hurting his best friend and that coming out to the world would be the best thing for him in the end. So I guess I got mad at both Seth and Alex at times for the way they acted. I certainly felt for Seth though; being openly gay would be a freeing experience (I'm just assuming here since I, myself, am not gay), but you also have to deal with some ignorant and cruel people along the way. I found myself wishing he would see how much Alex was suffering; in order to stay by his side and be his "wing-woman", she sacrificed having any friends besides him. He shouldn't have made her feel like she had to accompany him to all of the parties and such, but I understand that he was worried his secret would get out. There were a few lesser characters that were very important to this story. First we have Bruce, who is the object of Seth's affection. He seems like an alright guy in the beginning, but my opinion of him changed early on. Dink is Bruce's friend and he has his eye on Alex; personally, I really liked Dink. He was a lot more open-minded than his friend and genuinely wanted to get to know Alex. Finally, there's Trinity. She's essential to the story, because she immediately is drawn to Alex and befriends her right away, showing her that she can and should have other friends. Overall I really enjoyed these characters and it was great to see them grow and change as the story progressed. Especially Alex, since at the beginning she seemed more like a doormat, only living her life for someone else.

2) The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: First, The Good - I loved the characters in this book, they really came to life and I was able to easily connect with them. The writing flowed really well and I was able to finish this book in one day. The plot was a bit different than I was expecting; I assumed it would just be Alex trying to get Seth to fall for her, but it was more than that. It was about Alex finding out who she was without Seth, because up to that point she hadn't taken the time to find out. The Bad - I found Alex annoying at times. She wasn't happy with her situation, following Seth around to parties and watching him hit on girls, and tended to complain about it a lot. Also, I wish Trinity had been present more in the book. She is the one who starts to draw Alex out of her shell and I felt like she should have been in the story more. Plus, she was a really fun, quirky character that I just would have liked to read more about. The Ugly - Can't think of anything to say here, really enjoyed the book!

3) Romance Sizzle Or Fizzle?: Well, this obviously isn't appropriate here. Seth is gay and Alex is definitely barking up the wrong tree. In pining after her friend, she misses opportunities for a chance at actual love (or at least a fun fling). I wanted to shake her sometimes, tell her she can't change who Seth is and if she really loved him she would just want him to be happy, no matter what that meant. She supported his sexuality, but inside I think she really resented him for the fact that he would never return her affections. I desperately wanted them both to find happiness, but I knew with their respective issues (Seth with his closeted sexuality and Alex being practically obsessed with her best friend) that it would take time for that to happen.

4) Uniqueness Of Plot: The plot isn't unique; there's been plenty of stories of unrequited love (and if you've ever seen The Object Of My Affection with Jennifer Aniston, you know it's in the same ballpark as this story). I still enjoyed reading this book a lot!

5) Final Thoughts: This book was a fun, light read at times. At other times it was darker, tackling more serious issues. Overall it was a great read about friends, adversity, individuality, and acceptance. I am so glad I got the opportunity to read this book; I definitely recommend that you read it!

If you'd like to read more of my reviews, please check out my book review blog, Bookerella
Profile Image for Richard Ninnim.
12 reviews
May 24, 2017
Leanne please do not just close this, if you see it read quick please.
What i said to you was wrong very wrong of me and i am very sorry, Its basis was a promise i made to you when we first got together, if you havent the love to let me explain, please think of the promise that i broke on the wednesday night.

I picked this book because we got together around this time and i made that promise to you. I should of listened to you that saturday night, i wish i had so much. I truelly and honestly with all my heart loved you first. You know deep in yours that i mean that i have no reason to lie, please again just think about what i was trying to stop by what i said to you, although i was wrong.

Richard Nom Nom
Profile Image for L.E.Olteano  .
514 reviews67 followers
July 29, 2015
Originally posted at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on Jan 24 2012:

Ok, wow!! On all accounts, wow. I dunno where to begin with my fangirlism! xDDD

First things first, I applaud the brave plot the author developed, and I will say I especially applaud her end notes of the novel (at least the way I read them in the ARC), and I cannot speak highly enough of her thoughts and considerations on the topic of the relationship between some Christians and the LGBT community. I subscribe the her points of view and fervently support them. Now, on to the novel itself.

I was totally hooked from the first few words of this read, and I was hooked the whole way through. Which is not to say I was 100% in accord with the choices of the characters, for instance, but I got their reasons for doing this and that, it all felt really believable and at times enlightening even. Another aspect that I really loved was the diversity of the characters, both in outer and inner form.

Alex was a sweetheart in that original, quirky way that I always love. I felt like she was kiddish in her shyness and in her devotion to Seth, and the BFF/crush syndrome as I call it is something I’ve personally seen happen basically each and every time I had a guy BFF, so it was really interesting to see it from the other side of the fence, so to speak. Of course, here the syndrome is an especially heart-wrenching situation because Seth is clearly never going to be likely boyfriend material for Alex, so it’s certainly a hopeless situation that Alex somehow seems keen to bury herself in. Her crush borders on obsession, in my opinion, it’s surely in the rather strange sector of the field. But again, I’ve seen this happen live, this obsessive focus on one sole person as if truly there is nothing else out there in the whole wide world – and from what I’ve seen it never brings anything but suffering, aggravation and drama.
But I loved the fact that, unlike the person I know of, Alex broke out of her own vicious circle and grew up, matured, and finally found the resources to focus on herself and her own wellbeing by her own actions and not delegating that to someone else.

My heart went out to Seth, thought he acted like a prick on a few occasions, blowing up in Alex’s face just because she was there (that’s how it seemed to me). A few times I got this sense that he was mainly capitalizing on her obsession and not being close to her as a friend; these unhealthy connections are generally alimented from both sides, in my experience, and such was the case here. Though aware of Alex’s true feelings, he kept her close by and didn’t mind using her as a bit of a front to get close to that sorry excuse of a guy he had a crush on. Did I blame him an awful lot? Well, he was going through a huge inner conflict, so his lashing outs didn’t come as a surprise to me. What did come as a surprise to me was Alex’s reactions to those lashing outs, I found myself wishing she’d develop more of a backbone sooner, faster.

I’ll say I felt disappointed by Seth’s reaction, to flee, but it was obvious he wasn’t coping with all the tension, inside him and surrounding him. So in the end I felt his choice was a good one, a more productive one. After finding his peace inside himself he’d be able to emerge from his shelter as a strong and complete, hopefully mature person.
His exit from the scene would also force Alex to remake herself into a whole person capable of standing up by herself and for herself, it seemed to me had he not made that decision she would have clung to him endlessly. Growing pains, all over.

Being a fan of angsty and dramatic stories, this is right up my alley. The writing is really good, fresh, it keeps you engaged 100% throughout and the characters were really well built and memorable through both their qualities and their faults – yet another aspect of their realism.

So all in all, I say you should definitely give this a try, it’s a realistic, interesting, courageous YA novel about growing pains, diversity and coping with it all. A beautiful read.
Profile Image for Sarah .
117 reviews48 followers
November 21, 2011
Alex and Seth have been best friends since primary school, when Alex saved Seth from being bullied. Ever since then, Alex has been Seth’s shadow and sidekick, fighting his battles for him and being his rock of support. All that while, Alex has silently yearned for Seth’s attention and love- as more than a friend. Unfortunately, Seth has confessed to Alex that he is gay. So, she sits silently by while he parades girl after girl before her to maintain his popular image and not let anyone know that he’s gay. Being a player on the university’s baseball team, and possessing extremely good looks, makes Seth quite a catch and very popular. He cannot risk losing face before his teammates and fellow students. So, Alex doesn’t say a word about it and doesn’t push him to come out of the closet. What she does try to make him do, is use her as his fake girlfriend so that it could serve them both- her by being able to be physically intimate with him (even if it’s just an act) and him by appearing to be straight. Of course, Alex doesn’t know for sure that Seth is entirely unaware of her attraction to him. That’s something I found a little frustrating- although Seth hinted that he knew of Alex’s feelings for him, they never just brought it out into the open and discussed it.

After Seth exposes his attraction to a jock friend at a campus party, he is beaten and rushed to hospital. After this unintended falling out of the closet, Seth is no longer himself and distances himself from Alex. Alex is left all alone without her best friend as he had formed the centre of her existence for as long as she can remember. However, she has an opportunity to broaden her horizons and make new friends when Dink arrives. Dink is the friend of Bruce, the jock Seth had a crush on and Dink had invited Alex to the party at his fraternity house. So when Seth needs to be rushed to the hospital, Dink steps in and takes charge, sitting through the ordeal with Alex. I thought Dink was so sweet and, although Alex tried to give him a chance by going out with him, I hated that she judged him by the way he ate and how big he was compared to her. All of that just seemed so petty next to his nicenesss. But I guess when you’re in love with someone else for most of your life, even sweeties like Dink aren’t good enough. Based on the descriptions of Dink in this book and the fact that he belonged to a fraternity, I imagined Dink looking a little like Beaver from the TV series, Greek (http://images.wikia.com/greektv/image...)

Another person who entered the picture and provided an opportunity for Alex to expand her social circle and get over Seth was Trinity, a friendly new girl on campus who instantly made Alex feel comfortable about an embarrassing experience in a previous lecture and soon became her pillar of strength. Trinity’ss character reminded me a little of Maya in Pretty Little Liars (http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__c...)

This book evoked a myriad of emotions for various reasons. My heart broke for Alex because she loved her childhood best friend who had grown up into quite a hunk. Unfortunately, she was left yearning for his attention as he used other girls to keep up the act and hide his secret. Of course, once the truth accidently slipped out, he was beaten for it and treated in a vastly different manner by people who had claimed to be his friends. Throughout it all, Alex remained his unfailing supporter but when he withdrew within himself and cut her off, she realised that she needed to stop living for him but start living for herself, by first starting to love herself. It was a simple, sweet message conveyed in this book and I’d definitely recommend that others pick it up in order to understand the social challenges faced by many of today’s youth who find themselves in similar situations.
Profile Image for Jody.
1,979 reviews43 followers
September 1, 2011
And you thought high school was tough? In this YA story it's the first year of college that's rocky for two long-time friends. For star athlete Seth it's the truth about his sexuality and the consequences of his forced 'coming out' that leads to a rift with his very best friend Alex. For Alex it's her shadow-like existence and her deep love of Seth, even knowing the truth about him, that puts her life in turmoil. Once all these truths come to light it's time for these young people to make some hard decisions and that's when the real heartache begins.

This is a highly emotional read full of characters being put through the wringer amongst an oftentimes unforgiving college culture. For two friends who thought nothing could tear them apart, this story shows the slow dissolving of an intense friendship. And at different times during the story this dissolution can be blamed on one and then the other. Both of them are to blame and at times it makes them appear rather unlikable.

Seth, for all his popularity, still only has one true friend in Alex. She's the only one who knows his secret and enables him to keep his secret by being the third-wheel on his dates with girls. I feel that he takes advantage of her by keeping her close by him all the time, basically as a buffer to show that he's not gay. He's limiting her experiences as well as his own by not accepting who he really is. Once he's forced to confront the truth he's drags Alex down with him into the darkness. He continues to play with her emotions to keep her close even when another guy expresses an interest in her. Seth makes her choose, just like he does with every other aspect of their time together. He's clearly the one in charge throughout the majority of their time together and I was continually angered by him.

Alex has been a loyal friend to Seth since the day she saved him from a bully when they were young. She's loyal to a fault which has blinded her to certain truths about Seth. He wants her all to himself, never letting her branch out on her own. She's become comfortable as his other half because she's in love with him. Even knowing he's gay she still holds out hope that he'll love her back. Even when presented with a footballer named Dink who's the first boy to show her interest and kiss her, she still chooses Seth. I became frustrated by her actions especially when Seth continually treated her shabbily. I longed for her to break away from Seth and when she finally asserts herself, it's a moment that made me cheer.

There are intriguing secondary characters, some likable and some rather despicable. Along with the aforementioned Dink who's sweet and caring but will never win Alex's heart, there's Alex's new friend Trinity. Trinity is strong-willed and outspoken and exactly who Alex needs to find a way to stand on her own two feet. She pushes Alex to be strong and is supportive, completely different from Seth's treatment of Alex and I wish there were more of her in the story.

Even though this was a hard book for me to read because of a character I found to be insensitive, I still found myself drawn in to this insulated collegiate world. The trials and tribulations of growing up make me grateful that that time of my life has passed, but definitely made me feel for these characters and their struggles. I might have felt frustrated at times by certain actions while reading, but by the end I realized that this was a journey well worth taking.
Profile Image for Jessirae.
272 reviews37 followers
October 28, 2012
I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs was about a girl in love with her best friend. The problem of this situation? Her best friend is gay. This isn’t your everyday unrequited love story.

Alex - the best friend anyone could have

To be honest, I didn’t quite connect with Alex until later on in the book. I sympathized with her because I know the pain and heartache she felt. To be in love with someone who doesn’t love you back is really hard. I liked Alex’s tough exterior and how she can hide her pain well. She’s a tough girl. However, I was disappointed in the fact that she kept herself in the shadow of Seth. She centers everything around him, letting him drag her along to places she doesn’t really want to go to. I understand she wants to be close to Seth, but half the time I was annoyed at her inability to step away. Some of the bad decisions she makes in I Loved You First really frustrated me as well. However, Alex really redeems herself because she finally started to understand Seth’s situation. She becomes just Alex, and she finds herself. She was able to finally get out of Seth’s shadow. Even through all the mess she and Seth went through, I cannot deny that Alex was a great friend. 

Seth - the boy Alex has a one-sided love for.

Charming as he was, I really did not like Seth. Besides this one part in the book, I thought Seth treated Alex badly. I saw him as a moody guy who didn’t really appreciate Alex’s friendship or company. Seth was going through some hard times, yes, but the problem was me not being able to connect with him at all. He was so detached after the incident and was a jerk before and after.

It was already obvious that Alex and Seth were never going to move beyond friendship. Despite the circumstances, I was still rooting for Alex and Seth to be together even though I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. Even through all the ups and downs Alex and Seth went through, I felt they had some chemistry going on. The best thing about I Loved You First is the power Reena Jacobs had at wanting me to root for these two characters. Although I didn’t particularly like Seth as much as I should, I still wanted these two to have a happy ending. In a way, both these characters get there closing and the book ends on a nice note filled with hope and possibilities.

As much as I wanted to love this story, I can only say that I liked it. I was disappointed in some of the situations that went down with Seth and then later on with Alex’s feelings. I was expecting to be hit with a boatload of emotions, but it didn’t happen. I felt like it all went so fast. I didn’t really know where the story was going until I got to the last few chapters and I thought everything that happened with Alex and Dink was unnecessary. Despite this, I was still invested into the story and I enjoyed Reena Jacobs‘ smooth writing. It was realistic, thought provoking, and inspiring.

Overall, I Loved You First is a good read. It’s definitely not just a book about romance, but one about discovery, moving on, and acceptance. It also addresses the issues of homosexuality and the prejudices one faces.

More Reviews on my blog: Words, Pages, and Books
Profile Image for MARQUETTA.
1,100 reviews130 followers
August 29, 2011
I normally don't read YA so when the author approached about being part of her blog tour, I figured I'd give it a try. After reading the blurb, I was intrigued. I love stories about unrequited love.

Seth and Alex (Alexandria) have been best friends since elementary school. The novella starts off with both Alex and Seth being freshmen at the same college. Seth is the All-American Boy. He's good looking, excels at baseball and all the girls want him. But he's hiding a secret that only his BFF knows. Seth is gay. Alex is in love with Seth and despite the fact that Seth is gay, Alex wants more from Seth than friendship. Because Seth is still in the closet, he does go out on dates with girls. But when the girls get too close, he dumps them and moves on to the next one. Alex wonders why isn't she good enough to be Seth's beard.

I Loved You First is told in Alex's POV. Her voice immediately grabbed me. She's a loner (except for her friendship with Seth), she's snarky and funny. Alex is used to being in Seth's shadow. She truly values his friendship and will do anything for him. And I had a problem with that. Alex mentions several times that she's invisible when she's around Seth. She's invisible to outsiders and sometimes even to Seth. I found Seth to be extremely self-centered and not too concerned about Alex feelings and needs. But, Alex is fine with accepting the status quo. As I delved more into the story, both Alex and Seth started to annoy me. I thought that Seth was whiny and self-centered. And Alex was too much of a doormat. I wanted to smack some sense into both of them. As the story progressed, it kind of dragged for me because I was getting so annoyed with the characters. I was ready for them to resolve their issues.

Despite my issues with the characters, I enjoyed reading this novella. I think many of the issues the characters faced were realistic. Both Seth and Alex grew in different ways although I felt that Alex dealt with her issues better than Seth. I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Dink. I wouldn't mind seeing his story and finding out if his opinions and prejudices change. Even though he had issues, he was a very likable character.

I Loved You First was a good read. I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Like I said earlier, it is very rare that I read YA books. This story didn't feel very YA-ish to me. Maybe because the characters are in college. It's a novella that I'd recommend.

Rating: C
Profile Image for Kim (Sliced Open Reviews).
66 reviews49 followers
August 7, 2012
Ok I loved the synop for this book, for me it’s all about the relationship that is totally unrealistic that drew me in. Beyond that I really didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with how much beyond just that aspect of the book that totally kept me reading. This is a true must read for our generation. It’s a powerful story of love and overcoming. More importantly it’s a story of hate and angst. Hate. Hate is such a strong thing and there were parts of this book (that I will not spoil) that made my stomach turn. I actually had to stop reading at one point. It is not overly graphic, but I have a special place in my hate bucket for intolerance and there are some displays of that within the pages of this book. Intolerance is shown in so many different ways in this day in age and it's nice to read something that shows both sides of that. The side of being the bigger person and the small feeble people who openly hate.

Things I liked? Again, loved the whole plot foundation, if there is anything that hands down this book did for me was swept me away within the story. I was not always overly connected to the characters but the story and message rang much to loud to get caught up in that. As I continued through the book actually came to be connected with some of the characters that I had written off and that states a lot for the power of the writing. One thing that left be a bit open on was the end. While I feel it (and even more after reading the Afterwards) and get why it ended where it did, I still felt that maybe there is still some more left to Alex's story. But, this is also where we as readers have to remember that while every one's story continues we cannot always keep spying!

I also have to give mention to Reena's Afterwards. I'm always reading the THANKS and Afterwords sections within books (and if you don't you are missing some great insight into the author, story development and witty humor). Reena did an excellent job within the Afterwards of giving an evaluation as to where in her heart this story developed from and it really helped me to further connect to her the Author as well as the story.

Overall - again, in my opinion this is a true must read for our generation and I would recommend this quick emotion-filled read to any of my followers!

Review by Sliced Open Reviews
Source: From Author in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Courtney (Fuzzy.Coffee.Books).
312 reviews17 followers
September 12, 2011
What I didn't expect when I first started reading was the emotional turmoil that the characters have to face.

What I liked: 1) The concept. I really appreciate unrequited love, because I've had many unrequited crushes in my life. Not any that are as long-lived as Alex's for Seth, but still. I'm totally able to empathize, and it's clear that Miz Jacobs knows how to write those emotions clearly and concisely. 2) Alex 2.0. I liked Alex a lot near the end, when she finally was figuring out what she wanted and wasn't afraid to take it, instead of standing in the shadow of someone else. There was a really great transformation that took place throughout the book and it gave me as a reader a lot to think about. 3) The concept of the university they were attending. I went to a big state school (Go POKES!) and it was nothing like this one. Particularly in regards to their dorms! Those were some fancy digs! 4) Real problems. There were some very real issues that teens/college kids/even adults have to face sometimes in this book, and Miz Jacobs didn't gloss over them. She hit them head on and I really liked that she gave real answers to kids who may be dealing with these situations.

What I didn't like: 1) I didn't like how much Seth took Alex for granted. And how she just let him do that. I think it needed to happen in the course of the book, but I'm just like, dude. Stop being a jerk.

Overall thoughts: There is a lot of tough stuff in this book. It's not a light read. But all the issues are written very well and dealt with appropriately. It is a story of unrequited love and learning to live with less than ideal circumstances, so don't expect to find a shiny, happy ending for everyone. But it is a great story to get into, in a very realistic, less-than-perfect world. I think that was my favorite thing about it. That everything didn't end in one nice neat package, but it was very satisfying.

Check out Fuzzy.Coffee.Books to see this and other reviews!
Profile Image for Cheryl.
267 reviews47 followers
August 23, 2011
I Loved You First hooked me from the very beginning and never let me down.

Alex really loved her friend Seth. She wanted to be more than friends, but he was gay. Yes, he was still in the closet. He covered up by dating different girls and then dropping them for one reason or another.

Here is a quote from when they were on the motorcycle:

"I took off with a jerk. Seth hated when I did that, but it forced him to grip me even tighter. He scooted forward with his thighs encasing mine, and his groin pressed against my butt."

Too bad for Alex, but Seth didn't want to be anything more than friends. He seemed to be such a hot guy too. Seth had his eye on a guy named Bruce. Bruce had no idea of this and had no idea that Seth was even gay.

Something happened in the story that changes everything. Alex and Seth's friendship is tested, and Alex can't believe what Seth is about to do.

I highly recommend this book. It just goes to show that it's great to have a best friend, but you can't hide behind them forever. You have to acknowledge the facts and make a life of your own too. The story didn't end up at all how I thought it would.

I loved this bible verse quoted at the end of the book:
1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 " Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)

Full review here: http://www.blackdiamondsbookreviews.c...
Profile Image for Sara (sarabara081).
672 reviews336 followers
August 6, 2012
You can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books!

When I first saw the premise behind I Loved You First, I immediately was intrigued. A story about a girl in love with someone who could never love her back in the same way, an almost forbidden love? I needed to know more!

What I didn’t expect was how the story felt like more than just a heartbreaking ‘love’ story, but instead a coming of age story about a girl, Alex, who was afraid to come out of her shell, meet new people, and separate from what was comfortable and easy with her best friend, Seth. Alex starts to get a little sick and tired of hanging back and watching Seth pretend to care for other girls in an effort to stay in the closet. Slowly she makes steps to become her own person. She makes mistakes as she goes, but they are such learning experiences for her. A new friend she meets along the way is a spitfire girl named Trinity. OMG I loved her! She had some serious balls and boy did she crack me up! She wasn’t prevalent in the novel until the end but I almost wish there could have been more of her!

On the side of the relationship with Seth, I must admit that I wish we were able to see a little bit more of the relationship, more interaction before things changed between them. I felt like we had Alex telling us more about how close they were instead of us actually seeing it ourselves. I wanted to FEEL the connection of their bond. I think the impact on the story would have been much greater. But I did feel horrible for the situation Alex had gotten herself into and there was one powerful moment between them that made me ache and perhaps get a tad misty.

I Loved You First is so much more than a girl trying to come to terms with her best friend’s homosexuality. It is about a girl gaining her independence and stepping out of the shadows. If you like coming of age stories, than this is definitely a book for you!
Profile Image for Jen.
1,070 reviews92 followers
July 21, 2012
Thank you to author Reena Jacobs for this e-book. This was a quick, interesting read that deals with relevant issues. The characters are well developed and I enjoyed the friendship aspect of Alex and Seth's relationship but struggled with her unrelenting feelings for him. When we meet them, they're at the point where she's known for quite sometime, years in fact, that he will never be able to love her the way she wants him too yet she still pines in secret. We don't always fall in love with the right person but at what point do you accept things for what they are and move on? Seth isn't innocent in this scenario either because he's not only lying to himself and his family but to everyone else as well. He uses Alex in ways that give her false hope and while they both know it's wrong, neither one is willing to do what's right or best for both of them.

Alex loses her identity in Seth and that made me sad for her. She doesn't know what a healthy relationship looks like because she's never been in one and when she's offered a chance to find out she squanders it. Was Dink the perfect guy for her? I doubt it but I felt she was unfair and unkind to him especially when you consider the help he lends. What happens to Seth is horrible and never acceptable regardless of your view of homosexuality. Some good did come out of a bad situation because it forced he and Alex to face the facts and be able to move forward. I would've liked to have seen Alex's journey a little further down the road but that's just me.

The end of the book includes the author's thoughts on her faith and the topic of homosexuality and how the two relate to one another. This was a perk for me because I'm always curious as to what inspires a book. All in all, I think this is well worth the read.
Profile Image for Meg - A Bookish Affair.
2,444 reviews197 followers
September 5, 2011
I Loved You First is a pretty quick read with a good message. Alex and Seth have been best friends since they were little. Alex wishes that they could be more than more than friends but Seth is gay. Being the good friend that she is, Alex is charged with keeping Seth's secret so he won't arouse suspicion on their college campus; he wants to try to maintain as normal of a life as possible. So while he woos the female co-eds to cover his sexual preference and maintains his reputation as a college jock, Alex is burdened with keeping Seth's secret a secret while trying to bury her own feelings.

There's a couple high points to the book. First, Alex is a great narrator. At some points, I thought it could have been interesting to hear what was going through Seth's head, especially after he is forced to come clean about his secret. The readers do really get to see how Alex grows and changes throughout the book in a really realistic way. Alex has always been content to be in Seth's shadow. Once he comes out, she realizes that she can step out of the shadows and get a lot more out of life. It does take her a long time to realize that she can be her own person and she didn't need to follow Seth around like a lost puppy or that she could have other friends besides him, which annoyed me a little bit. I also felt like Alex could have been a better friend to Seth. She doesn't seem fully aware of everything that he is going through and all of the things that he's dealing with. We do see Alex begin to grow but we don't see her reach her full potential.

I enjoyed reading this book. Like I said, it's a quick read that tackles a heavy subject with a realistic voice.
Author 26 books98 followers
October 14, 2011
I Loved You First follows Alex, a freshman in college who has a thing for her gay best friend. It details her difficulties and discoveries as she explores her emotions and deals with how to find herself within them. Helping her along her journey book are Seth (the gay best friend), Dink (a football player), and Trinity (a classmate).

This book was difficult to read, but it was well written. The characters were strongly written and the pacing of the book moved nicely. There was a lack of a typical plot; there was no rising action or climax, really. However, the typical plot was not missed as this was a book about emotional and social exploration and growth. The author still managed to write in twists and suspense several times.
Descriptions were well done and there were many similes throughout the book that were fresh, surprising, and brilliantly descriptive.

On the negative side, there were a few mistakes in the book (such as using road when it should have been rode). More importantly, no matter how well-written this book is, it is not a book to be read by just anyone. There are a lot of hard hitting emotions to deal with, as well as a main character who, at times, is whiny to the point of being off-putting for the reader. This is believable for the way the author has written the character and also believable for a young woman dealing with such emotions for the first time. However, with these two elements combined, it leaves this book being relegated to the “not for everyone” category. Anyone who is willing to brave the heaviness of the tale, however, will find a quality story.

Profile Image for Kelly.
273 reviews100 followers
August 1, 2012
I received my eBook copy of I Loved You first from the author as part of the blog tour to celebrate the first anniversary of it's release. I had never heard of it before but I was intrigued to read it because of the LGBT storyline, it's not something that I have come across before in any book I've read.

I enjoyed reading ILYF. I thought it was probably quite an accurate portrayal of how a gay young man, in this case Seth, would feel about being gay within a college environment and not knowing how he might be accepted. I didn't like Seth's character too much though. I thought he took advantage of Alex and her unwavering loyalty to him. He was kind of pushy and was used to getting his own way with Alex. He wasn't always very nice to her either and yet she'd always still be there for him. I can see though that he was under an enormous pressure to conform which may have shaped his personality and the way he was with Alex. Seth was in to sports and since he knew the prejudices of gay people in sport he felt he just had to keep quiet about his sexuality.

I liked Alex's character. She grew as a person over the course of the story. She started off as just Seth's sidekick, there to help him keep his secret, and she accepted that role due to how she felt about him. As things progressed, partly down to her friendship with Trinity, she came to realise there was more to her than that and she deserved better than that. She learnt that she had to start to love herself as that's the most important thing.

I thought ILYF was well written and had a good pace. I look forward to reading more of Reena's work in future.
Profile Image for Michelle Kamp.
Author 28 books75 followers
September 8, 2011
I received this book from the author. Here is my honest review.

The blog tour is coming up, so here's my review for the novella! It is a very quick, easy read. It flows pretty well, too. It wasn't predictable for me, so the whole time I was reading I was never quite sure where the novella was going to take me. I had a couple ideas, but none of them really came about. That was okay, because by the end I suppose I was pretty satisfied.

I have to say, though.. I didn't like the relationship Alex has with Seth. She's so dependent, and she feels so worthless without him. On the other hand, Alex also seems very selfish and self-centered, which doesn't go with the dependency. This shows most when Alex gets mad at Seth while he's in the hospital going through his drama. Goodness, cut the guy some slack! Anyway, Alex has issues to work through in the book, so that's what it's about.

I liked Trinity. She has her head on (mostly) straight. She seems to be a good influence on Alex. I wanted more from her in the end, though. Seth has some issues, and being gay is an issue for him. He struggles with it so much, and the reason becomes obvious when people start finding out. There are jerks out there! I'm SO all for equality, so people like that get under my skin. It's sad, but some people are full of hate. This novella teaches some hard lessons, but they need to be learned.

Book tour stop coming Sept 14 @ imabookshark blog.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,754 reviews284 followers
September 28, 2011
Wanting to check out a really good LGBTQ novel ? One that is aimed at Teenagers and in both African and Caucasian Viewpoints ? I Loved You First tells the story of two college students Seth Richards and Alex Carmichael. One is gay and the other straight , One male and the other female , One Black and one White. Alex and Seth have been friends forever and now reaching college-aged Alex is in love with her best friend Seth , though of course she knows that she can never be with him that way and that he will always look at her as a sister or close friend. The novel takes place during their college partying days as we follow Seth who is still in the closet and Alex his ever faithful sidekick. Seth is the kind of guy who has used the girls as beards and Alex every time he picks up a girl -hopes that he will use her , allow her to pretend. During rush week and a party at the fraternity, Seth is roofied and ends up revealing to the world that he is Gay and what follows is the aftermath of the effects as we see Seth on the edge of killing himself and Alex whose finally met a guy who actually wants to date her - torn between the new guy and Seth. Can the two of them work out where they stand with each other and can Alex be there for Seth or will she be too late to say Goodbye ? Be prepared for twists and turns as Seth's revelation leads many more characters and ones that surprised me to come out of the closet per se.
Profile Image for Jessie.
33 reviews12 followers
June 13, 2012
Alex believes herself to be invisible, living in the shadow of her best friend Seth. Seth is athletic and sociable, and is in the closet that however, doesn't stop Alex from being in love with him. Still, she doesn't feel that she needs anyone else in her life. Of course, that all changes with Seth's secret is let out of the bag. Alex finds that she isn't as invisible as she thinks she is, and that maybe he isn't the only person she needs.

I didn't think I was going to read this so quickly. Once I started it, I tried to put my kindle down as rarely as possible. I liked the pace, usually I feel like some YA contemporary kind of drags and I didn't get that with I Loved You First. It kept me interested the whole time.

I also have to say that I really liked Alex for the most part. I'm a wall flower by choice myself. However, one thing I couldn't figure out, was why she loved Seth. Honestly, right from the beginning he seemed like a jerk to me. He seemed to take advantage of her every chance he got (ex: dragging her to parties and dates), just because she loved him and was her best friend.

I would give this book a 3.5/5. For a quick read it was enjoyable, I was, however, slightly disappointed with it. I feel like the characters might have been missing something. I also don't think that Seth really went through much, though he gave up so easily.

I was asked by the author to review this.
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763 reviews35 followers
June 26, 2012
I admit that I was a bit reticent at first to try this book because the topic isn’t my cup of tea, I was unsure. Now I can say that I don’t regret reading this story. Reena Jacobs wrote moving picture of the troubles adolescent can go through. It’s remarkably well done. I could sympathise with Alex and I loved how she is mentally growing at the end of the book. She has learned that she must first and foremost love herself and that you must always be true to your feeling if you don’t want to hurt someone else or/and end hurting too.

It a story about acceptance, friendship and true-shelf that could be really helpful to some young ones that are feeling alone or too different one that reminded me something I’ve read a long time ago and that says that loving someone if to offer him/her the best gift: us but if we really love him/her and want the gift to be real we must first love ourselves because giving something we don’t like isn’t a real present.

Alex didn’t know at first what she was really doing to his friend and what their relation was making her loose; She knew what he was doing wrong but she didn’t see she wasn’t helping either. I think that in the end the book they are better friend to each other than ever because they finally learn what that means.

Really a good novel.
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