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First We Were IV

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It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.
A secret society – for the four of us.
The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.
We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that.
Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.
But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.
We wanted revenge.
We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to.
Our invention ratcheted out of control.
What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

448 pages, Hardcover

First published July 25, 2017

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About the author

Alexandra Sirowy

3 books429 followers
Alexandra Sirowy was born and raised in Northern California. She has a graduate degree in International Studies and loves to eat, laugh, travel, read, and go on adventures. She's the author of the YA thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker award shortlisted THE TELLING, and her latest, FIRST WE WERE IV. She lives in California with her husband and daughter. Visit her at alexandrasirowy.com.

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5 stars
126 (14%)
4 stars
277 (32%)
3 stars
289 (33%)
2 stars
118 (13%)
1 star
52 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 234 reviews
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews887 followers
September 7, 2019
This was so overly dramatic, oof.

All of the characters were incredibly obnoxious, especially the main character.
I didn't feel like there was much of a reasonable development regarding the "cult". The whole thing escalated way to quickly for my taste.

I thought the "mystery" that got the plot rolling would play a much bigger role but it got pushed into the background pretty quickly. The "resolution" was rushed and boring.

Though to be fair, I think the intention of the author was to make it escalate the way it did. That is why the book still gets 3 stars, I think the story did what it wanted to do.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't the right book for me (and the mystery part really let me down lol).
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,087 reviews1,511 followers
July 17, 2017
Izzie and her three best friends, Vivian, Harry, and Graham, would do anything for one another and have always been on the outside of the social order but have had each other. When they were twelve Izzie, Viv and Graham had found the body of a young girl that had been murdered which drew Harry into the group when he came to investigate what the police and first responders were doing.

Now five years later the memory of that day and the girl Izzie had nicknamed Goldilocks still haunts the friends. The police hadn't done a thing stating she was just another runaway asking for it and now the four friends have decided to do something about it. Forming their own secret society known as the Order of IV the begin to cause mayhem and bring attention to the murder long forgotten by the town.

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy is a young adult mystery/thriller with a tad bit of romance and a whole lot of teen angst added into the story. The synopsis and idea behind this book is one that really should earn five stars from me when reading but unfortunately as with another of Sirowy's books I have read this one fell short of that mark yet again.

First, I had the same problem when reading another by this author but the main character, Izzie, narrates most of the book and I just find her personality lacking. There's just sort of a dullness or odd feel to the somewhat monotone narration but then it would pick up during the action and times with dialogue with the other characters.

Even with lacking a connection to Izzie I was finding the story quite interesting. There are several other things that this group of four have had in their lives that left them wanting answers and struggling with dealing with things to keep up interest as the Order is formed and begins their missions. But at some point during the middle I also felt it start to stall out not giving much progress to the things going on and perhaps dare I say getting a tad repetitive just giving the same details to these events.

Then I got to the end of this book....oh how I wanted this one to redeem itself with an awesome ending after being on the fence throughout the read. However, for this reader I found the ending quite unsatisfying. Some of the events leading to the end went a tad too far in my opinion so I'm not sure what I expected to pull this one out but it wasn't what I found. The answers to the mystery side weren't necessarily bad though, a bit unexpected but the overall just didn't sit well with me. In the end I'd only give this one 2.5 stars, some great ideas but just not a fan of how it was all executed.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Mandy.
636 reviews66 followers
May 19, 2017
I'm already obsessed with that title - even though it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure it out.


*I was sent a physical ARC by the publisher Simon & Schuster and Sirowy's publicist for an honest review - thank you so much for sending me over a copy since you were my first and I might have cried a bit XD*

4.5 crowns

The moment that I saw that book was coming out - I knew I had to have it. Um, the title was amazing. The description was amazing. When the cover came out, it was amazing. Sirowy is amazing. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING. So I knew I had to have the book. And I literally gained one of my best reviews ever with an enlightening:

"I'm already obsessed with that title - even though it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure it out."

Yes, that became my second or third most liked review on Goodreads. Thanks being confused by roman numerals, because you helped a girl out? I'm totally sure that's what got me a copy. XD

Okay, this book lived up to all of my expectations. IT WAS SO TWISTY GOOD. Sirowy is a master of the twist and such darkness. It's creepy, it's weird, it's haunting, it's beautiful. Sirowy manages to do this all in one novel and I literally just sit there going, Omigosh, can I have 20 more books of this?

Sirowy has stunningly beautiful writing. I was floored by her work in The Telling, and she did it yet again with this novel. There are quotes that are just so beautifully done. Her writing isn't the way that Roshani Chokshi is - with poetry and beauty. But it's something that strikes you right to the core with these dark, haunting quotes. It's the way that I love Megan Miranda's work - quotes that will stick with you not for their beauty but because they're their own poetry of darkness. I can only wish I could ever write like that.

The whole premise was so intriguing as well. I will admit that it was a bit slow to start, only because I didn't expect that kind of beginning. However, it worked, and it provided such an interesting way to begin, building up to insanity coming. I've never read a book quite like this, and I don't think I ever will. I really don't want to say too much about the plot, since I'm not even quite sure I could do it justice and don't wait to spoil anything for anyone because dear gosh, there were some twists and turns.

The group aspect was the best. The dynamics were amazing. I fell for each one of the members of the group, and Sirowy fleshed them out. I could easily pick the people out of a lineup, and each one of the group brought something new and broken to the story. Henry was my favorite, but I did adore everyone in the group in their own different ways.

There is some romance - and an adorable ship - but the truth is I really didn't care, because the story was so enthralling. But the ship was adorable. I was all for it.

AND THAT ENDING, THOUGH. :O :O :O I was shocked and awed. So many OMG's.

The only reason that I took a .5 off is not even the book's fault. A lot of the things that the society was doing - so of them are so :O worthy - I just didn't agree with. It was things that I would never do, and I'm like, oh, children, you should really not be doing THAT. NO-NO. I...I felt like the King Triton in a sea of Ariels. I'm not sure if any of you have seen the thing on Tumblr where it's like, you know you are too old to be watching Disney when you start agreeing with King Triton instead of Ariel about land being too dangerous (um, never too old for Disney, though XD). And that's how I felt. XD But...the things made sense for the story and the characters. My personality type was just like NO, GIRL, NO, NO. Again, not the book's fault. Only why it's a negative .5 off.

Oh, this book was everything I wanted it to be. Sirowy has made me a lifelong fan now, and I love how she makes these characters and story dark, twisty, and morally complicated. I'm so happy that I have a copy of this on pre-order, and I cannot wait for more of Sirowy's book. If you're looking for beautiful writing, something dark and weird and wonderful, or just a good story, this book is for you. 5 crowns and an Anna rating!
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,268 reviews337 followers
August 25, 2017
4,5 “friends to death” stars


WARNING: mystic, sometimes cryptic review ahead. Send your complains to Alexandra Sirowy as it’s her writing that turned me into a zealot reviewer J


First of all I want to thank Alexandra Sirowy for sending this fantastic book. It’s not often that I get a hardcover to review and I’m so damn happy because now I can admire this GORGEOUS cover on my shelves and take as many bookstagrams as I want to.


Second it will be a challenge to review this book without spoiling the story. Why you said? Well just go read the synopsis and tell me if it’s not cryptic and vague!

But fellow bookworms if you love mysteries delving into the minds intricacies, if you want to know how peer pressure can make us go out of control, if you love dramatic stories just read this savage book!


"No matter how much you see, there are bottomless seas you don't. What I am certain of is the heart of it. First we were four. Now we are three"


And so begins this story…


Do you remember your last year? When you had great friends you know for years went to the movie with, played pranks and dare? Do you recall thinking life would soon separate you? You would go to different towns, study in different colleges and lose your special bonds. Fast forward some years and you would only be distant memories for these childhood friends. Bitter sweet right?

Well that’s the trigger of the story.


They were four. Four friends. Tied for life.

On the verge of adulthood. Last year of high school.


Soon to go their separate ways. Their bonds could not break. They would be united forever. In something their own. Something secret. Something they would remember forever. Stronger than family bonds.


They created “The Order”.


Viv was the drama queen. Loving the stage. Strong in her difference. Fierce in her friendship.

Graham was the daredevil. The loud mouthed. Loving to read and solve mysteries.

Harry was the quiet one. Future journalist he missed nothing and had a sharp intellect. Bullied for his lack of wealth he endured, for his mom.

Izzie is our narrator. The good girl. The one walking the line until…

Afraid of what the future had in store for their friendship. She wanted to unite them forever. She was The Order’s creator. The driving force behind the story.

"We swear that the Order doesn't end, ever, not until one of us dies and we aren't four anymore."


With The Order came power.

And power is intoxicating. It makes you bold. Thirsting for more. A tool for revenge. A mean to make up for injustice. It can turn you into a fierce animal. You don’t think you ARE and FEEL. You want more. Always more.

Secrets are shared. Sometimes you’ll feel lighter as you shared your burden. Sometimes it will revive old demons and give birth to your quest for revenge.
"Not all secrets liberate the teller. By sharing with Harry that afternoon in the Ghost Tunnel, I had excavated memories that had been buried. Freed they hovered over me. They were storms reminding me that life wasn't a grand game. Death was present. Possible."



What began as a mean to solidify a friendship becomes its own terrible entity.



"I wanted to believe in what was bigger than me, which is not a terrible thing except when others are hurt by what you invent. We were together, tripping with words and laughter, giddy to play mad scientists to our monster. This is how I didn't notice the beginning of the end."

Now I must honestly say that it was not insta love with that story.

The first chapters were about the birth of their friendship. It was really cute to read about it sure but it was not mysterious even if Alexandra’s writing is faultless. Then something dramatic happened derailing the story. The trigger to this madness that would happen five years later.


Izzie, Graham, Viv and Harry were MY friends. So many times I wanted to stop them. So many times I wanted …


From a sweet friendship story I was thrown into complicated games. I witnessed how power can change people. Dark secrets were buried in this seaside community. Indifference and selfishness can kill or let some killer stay unpunished. Peer pressure can escalate into something ugly. And I wanted more, always more. It was a reading frenzy.

Do you love secrets? Do you love friendship stories with moving and very well portrayed characters? Are you fans of revenge an, mysteries? Then I would recommend this story a thousand times.
Profile Image for  ••Camila Roy••.
161 reviews49 followers
June 21, 2018
RATING: 3.75/5

The four of us met
Loved one another
Danced under a blood moon
Shared our secrets, though too few and too late
And for a time, together, our friendship was a universe

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the writing is gripping and the characters are very interesting. On the other hand, I did not like the ending and I’m having a hard time understanding what was the point of the story.

In this book we follow four best friends: Izzie (our POV), Graham, Viv and Harry. It’s senior year and Izzie’s having a hard time accepting their inevitable separation once they go off to college. She comes up with an idea that will not only bring them closer together but make their last year fun and meaningful. They create a secret cult-like society and call it The Order of IV. What starts as an innocent game soon turns into something twisted and dark, resulting in the death of one of the 4.

Going into this I expected secrets, lies, dares, danger, etc. And I got most of it. I became attached to the characters and loved their friendship. As the story progresses their interactions become more intense. Feelings are discussed and they start revealing important secrets. There’s a love triangle too and I do not know if I liked it or not. I mean, it made sense because of the bond the characters shared but the way they handled it was kinda weird.

Now, about the ending...I cannot get on board with it. Before the death of one of the 4, there was another event that took place and it was a BIG part of the story. When I finally learned what happened, I was disappointed, to say the least. I swear it made no sense whatsoever. Then there was another revelation and that one was better, but it still felt weak to me. I’m pretty sure I miss the point of the story. Don’t start a cult? Don’t be too close to your friends? Idk😂. I might need an epilogue.

Overall, I liked this but it suffers from the same condition as many mystery YA novels nowadays: Crappy Ending Syndrome. I still recommend it, it has a strong dark vibe and you might enjoy the ending more than me.
Profile Image for Krysti.
355 reviews126 followers
March 30, 2017
This is the first book of Sirowy's that I've read, and it will definitely not be the last! This book starts with a hint of a mystery, and then leads straight into another mystery. Watching Sirowy weave the two together into one seamless plot-line was fascinating. There's also some elements of horror sprinkled throughout the story that just gave me the chills in the best way.

AND there's a secret society in this book, a secret society run by teenagers that effectively calls out the adult citizens of their small town on their corruption.

The characters were very well-written. Each member of the Order has their own, individual personality and quirks, and the way they all interact with one another is authentic and wildly entertaining. This is one of those books that you're sad to see come to an end, because you don't want to say goodbye to the characters yet.

I've said this in previous reviews, but setting a mystery/thriller in a small town is genius. The idea that people who you think you know everything about are capable of such treacherous acts is truly terrifying and definitely ups the suspense.

The ending of this book is just WOW. I cannot recommend this one highly enough.
Profile Image for Sarah Swann.
710 reviews981 followers
June 2, 2019
I really enjoyed this one. It’s a slow burn, definitely character driven. The characters were complex and their bond is unshakable. They all had issues and had a hard time dealing with them. The secret society thing was good and I enjoyed those ritual and rotes sections of the book. And a few things surprised me. Really good!
Profile Image for Wendy F.
890 reviews183 followers
August 10, 2017
Wow, that book sure left me extremely conflicted.

My problem wasn’t that the book was bad. It wasn’t. The writing and prose as beautifully intricate. The author did a spectacular job of building individuality in the characters, which automatically raises my enjoyment of the book. Characterization, for me, is the most important quality in a story. It’s more important to me than the plot because it’s the characters who bring the emotion and that’s my favorite aspect of reading. It’s because of that I couldn’t possibly give First We Were IV less than 4 stars, regardless of what made me conflicted.

Even then, putting the characters aside, the plot was really good. I’ve never had a thing for stories about secret societies, but something about First We Were IV drew me in, even though I had no idea what I was getting into. This story had some wacked out shit, for sure. I legitimately liked this cast of characters, but the power definitely played with their dynamic and took the story to uncomfortable places. I feel like I’m pretty good at figuring out the mystery, but every time I had a theory all the clues were shaken up again. Between the actual story and the players, I really can’t complain about anything the author did.

It wasn’t anything the author did wrong that made me feel conflicted, it was more about the choices these teenagers made. I know that sounds odd, because the author wrote the teenagers and made their choices, but the problem wasn’t believeablity. The characters didn’t feel written, they felt honest, which is why I don’t think it was the author. Characters can have a mind on their own, and these were angry teenagers. I just think my adult brain can’t wrap my mind around how they could possibly have thought what they were doing would be helpful or right. The best villains are the ones who think they are doing right, and I think these characters could easy be seen as villains. I liked them in varying degrees, some far more than others, and I felt their passion. It was what their passion motivated that I struggled with.

I don’t want to say too much more, because going into this read it’s really important you don’t know much. As much as I want to discuss the ending, I’m going to refrain. I do have so many opinions though, so please read First We Were IV and come back and chat with me. I know I’ll be thinking about it for years to come. Sometimes its the conflicting ones you just can’t let go of.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Books for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you liked this review and would like to read more, check out Birdie Bookworm.
Profile Image for Vicki.
2,153 reviews84 followers
November 13, 2017
Friends watching out for friends, bullies, revenge, secret clubs, family, mystery, twists, things that comprise a good book. I really enjoyed this one for the most part. As with any books that include bullies, there were parts I didn't like and that angered me...introduce Conner...ugh, people like him don't belong on this earth until AFTER they've changed their ways.

First there were IV (beginning with Izzie and Graham, then add Viv and after Harry moves in he joins the group and together they form a secret society). Harry was probably my favorite character, possibly because he was the "journalist" of the group. But I really enjoyed him. Four young people forming a secret society for the purpose of basically revenge is not likely to serve a good purpose, and this club had its issues that led to some problems that were quite serious. As they got known (even though they were secret) the bullies and popular kids wanted it...call them the initiates.

Even though the actions that the Society of IV decided to wreak upon others to get revenge weren't of the best nature, I still quite enjoyed the book. (I'm trying not to give away any spoilers!)

Recommendation: I recommend this one and say I think it's worth reading.
Profile Image for Tara.
340 reviews92 followers
October 9, 2018
My original rating was going to be 5 stars, but now that I've slept on it and thought about it some more, I have some issues with the story that keep it from being perfect.

Strap in, because I have a lot to say.

Writing: 5/5. The writing was excellent. I fell into the story so easily, even from the first page, and it usually takes me a chapter or so before I get used to the style.

Characters: 5/5. Characters are a huge part of a story for me, and I was not disappointed by these Four at all. I really grew to care about each of them, both individually and as a group. They remind me a bit of the Gangsey, in that they all seem to be a little bit in love with each other.

Setting: 5/5. You can't go wrong with a small town setting, at least not in my eyes.

Plot: 4/5. For the most part the plot was great. I love the idea of a secret society, and I would've loved to have had something like the Order of IV when I was their age, both for the friendship and the excitement (though I would've been way too chicken to do most of the things they did, lol). The biggest problem I had was with the ending, and I'll explain why under the spoiler section.

So, to recap: I really liked the writing, the characters, the friendship, the secret society and the adventure that came with it. I didn't really care for the romance or the ending. I wish it had been done better, but it wasn't, and that's that. It's still a great book, and I'm glad I read it.

4 stars!
Profile Image for Asma.
231 reviews16 followers
December 7, 2017
A group pf four friends attempting to create a memorable senior year ended up establishing an Order that seeked to solve a mysterious crime through the use of rebellions. Eventually, things got out of hand and one of them was killed after they succeeded in terrorising the whole town.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kylie.
751 reviews20 followers
July 18, 2017
This book literally broke my heart. From the very first sentence, you know one of the four will die and just getting to know them all so well makes it so hard to say goodbye to one of them. I loved the friendship, I loved the four individually, I love how one thing led to another. But I hated knowing that at the end there would be 3. There were times I would read something and think I may know who didn't make it, but there was never one moment that I knew for sure.
There were so many mysteries and secrets and it's just so nicely (but heartbreakingly) tied up at the end. It doesn't end and that's it. Everything is explained which I loved.
And the cover is one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen!
Profile Image for Meekachii.
194 reviews261 followers
January 21, 2018
I was given an arc copy of this book so I could give you guys my honest review. This book is about a set of four friends that create a group they call, in short, the order. They decide to prank people they think have it coming for their "movement". I don't really want to say much more than that. I have to say that I was really drawn into this book very quickly. There was a lot of mystery and I really liked the way the book was written. There was a great background story for the characters when they were younger as well. I probably read the first 75% of the book within a couple of days. Then it seemed as if the book changed a bit for me. I felt like there was less mystery and intrigue towards the middle although it was still written well. Then the main characters and their "order" they created started doing things I found hard to read. First off, there's animal cruelty in here which was a big shock and disturbing to me. Then the characters were doing things that were just crazy to me. I could never see myself being put in any situation in which I might do any of those things. If we were looking through the eyes of an "evil" character I think I may have been able to stomach it better...but these are ordinary teens that do some pretty bad things and I feel like they...sort of...get away with them too easily. The end was pretty good and I feel like things were explained well enough. I ended up giving it a 3.5 because I was definitely sucked into a lot of aspects of the story and it was a fast, fun read at times. A little hard to bear at other times.
131 reviews83 followers
July 12, 2017
Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

I'm the worst kind of mystery reader. Generally about halfway through with the story, I get bored and decide to flip to the end to find out who the killer is. I don't know why but i'm usually not capable of reading an entire thriller without KNOWING what is going on. It's always a little disappointing but I can't help myself. I always peek.

Until now!

This book kept my attention until the very end. I never thought to look ahead because I was too involved with what was going on with the characters in the book. I love strong friendships and close relationships in books and that's what First We Were IV is based on. Yes, there is a mystery that becomes more and more prevalent throughout the book but the focus is on the characters. Viv, Izzy, Graham and Harry are best friends and it focuses on how that friendship is changed by the circumstances. Especially when they start to get some attention from the popular kids at school.

I also thought that the book flowed perfectly. The characters motivations were understandble. It made sense to me. While the ending was a complete shock, it also made perfect sense when I thought back over the course of the story. For a mystery book cynic, like myself, this book was a breath of fresh air.

Earlier this year I had the chance to do a First We Were IV Fancast. Check it out if you are interested in who I picked for Viv, Graham, Harry and Izzy!

About the Author

Alexandra Sirowy is the author of the young adult thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker Award® Nominated THE TELLING, and the upcoming FIRST WE WERE IV. Alexandra attended a women's college as an undergrad and received her graduate degree in International Studies. When she isn't writing, she loves to travel, read, eat, and get into mischief. She lives with her husband in Northern California.




Tour Schedule: 

Week 1
July 10:  Bookish Lifestyles - Tote Design
July 11:  Brittany's Book Rambles - Guest Post
July 12:  Emily Reads Everything - Review
July 13   Biscotto's Books - Moodboard
July 14:  Forever Lost in Literature - Review

Week 2

July 17:  My Friends Are Fiction - Guest Post
July 18:  Literary Legionnaire - Review
July 19:  The Reader and the Chef - Review
July 20:  Novel Novice - Guest Post
July 21:  Dark Faerie Tales - Interview

Week 3

July 24:  YA and Wine - Review + Guest Post
July 25:  YA Book Central - Spotlight
July 26:  Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Review
July 27:  A Perfection Called Books - Guest Post


1 signed hard cover copy of FIRST WE WERE IV
Fujuifilm instax mini 9 Polaroid camera in smoky white (& film) like the one in the book!
Strand of gold stars
FIRST WE WERE IV swag (temporary tattoos & bookmarks)
Evie Seo Designed Tote Bag

Embeded code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC disclaimer: US entires only. No purchase necessary to enter, giveaway items provided by Alexandra Sirowy.This review was originally posted on Emily Reads Everything

Profile Image for Kate.
1,216 reviews2,209 followers
April 14, 2018


That trigger warning is the biggest thing that brought this book down for me - I just cannot fathom the need to hurt animals, even fictional ones, or imagine a scenario where characters should think that its okay.

Other than that, this book was actually very good - honestly, very entertaining, very unique, and kept me wanting to flip the pages. The characters were BEAUTIFULLY developed and I felt like I really knew each and every one of them. The story was interesting, but I almost wished we'd gotten more about the meteor and what was actually up with that. The ending was half a little anticlimactic but half extremely tugging at your heart strings.

Overall, recommend as an entertaining, fast, YA dark contemporary.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,506 reviews36 followers
August 4, 2017
I was hoping for a little more creepiness and intrigue from this story. It was about 10% murder mystery, 20% friendship and 70% high school drama, mostly bullying and who likes who kind of stuff. That translates to about 9 hours of teen drama and it was just too much to hold my interest. The mystery was fairly straightforward but I was surprised in the end by the identity of the murderer. A big warning for animal deaths in this story. What's a secret society without ritual animal sacrifice after all? They are fairly descriptive and gory so be warned if sensitive to that kind of thing.

The audiobook narrator was just okay. She had a really odd intonation that bothered me throughout. It was very robotic and unnatural but she did speak clearly and sounded appropriate for the teenage characters.
Profile Image for Erin Wolak.
400 reviews11 followers
November 25, 2017
After listening to 12:49:00 of this audio book I can absolutely say that this was one of the worst narrated books I've ever come across. I might not have disliked the book as much as I did had it actually been read well instead of in a mostly monotone voice. The story itself was apparently interesting enough that I kept listening even though I didn't care about anything other than finding out who killed Goldilocks and which character died at the beginning (which was technically the ending but whatever).

The writing by itself didn't feel like there was any feeling behind it. There was little emotion other than anger for anything. Even when a couple got together there wasn't really any happiness behind it. All it did was dissolve into anger and hurt and more hatred towards the murder the Society was trying to solve/avenge. Speaking of the society let's break this down. It was started because one of the main characters (Izzie) decides she wants something that is going to officially tie all four best friends together even after they all go off to different colleges and move away from each other. She wants them all to remain together forever and basically decides that the one horrific thing that ties them together (the murder of a teenage runaway) will be a good sort of base case they can use to start doing rebellious acts against the people in the town involved in some of the cover up behind the murder. WHAT! Seriously. That's the most back asswords way of trying to accomplish something like that. Instead of just coming forward with anything they may have as evidence they decide to just start this secret thing where they start committing vandalism in an attempt to flush this murderer out. The kicker however with this whole club thing is rather than just remaining completely void of anything even close to resembling anything about it they decide to wear the god damn symbol on themselves in subtle but not subtle enough ways that it attracts the attention of the most popular and asshole-ish in the freaking school. Yep, for four of the smartest people they are freaking idiots throughout this entire book, because not only did they just attract that unwanted attention they then have to invite those people in as 'initiates' to make sure they now don't spread the word that the four of you are the ones vandalizing things.

The only thing in the entire book that was actually a twist for me was in the last chapter or two when you actually find out who killed the girl on the rock. When everything is split wide open about the affair mentioned briefly throughout the book, when you find out everything that actually took place the night of the murder and who all was behind it the whole thing came as a shock to me.

In complete honesty it felt like the book could have been 100 or so pages shorter and nothing within it would have felt any different. We wouldn't be missing any major portions of the plot and it wouldn't have taken me quite so long to finish because boredom would have been much shorter lived. If anyone else has read this book comment below what you liked or didn't like about it! I'd love to hear from you guys! Follow me on Twitter under @brutalbookworm
Profile Image for Lee Kelly.
Author 4 books299 followers
July 24, 2017
This book absolutely knocked me over. It's classic Alexandra Sirowy, with her unique ability to balance deftly drawn characters and relationships with creepy, twisty, is-it-real-or-supernatural thrills . . . and yet there's something very special and poignant about this one. It's an ode to friendship, a tragedy about trying to stop time - a story about losing people we love slowly and all at once. And it's all wrapped in a deliciously page-turning package.

I struggle to name other books like it... perhaps We Were Liars (though I identified more with the characters in IV) and Big Little Lies. Books where you care about the characters so much you're terrified for them as you chug toward that inevitable, unfathomable end...

Highly highly recommend.

Profile Image for Jessica Taylor.
Author 4 books230 followers
May 28, 2017
Fast-paced, thrilling, and darkly entertaining. Come for the plot twists but revel in the delicious, gorgeous writing. This is my absolute favorite of Alexandra Sirowy’s novels!
Profile Image for Melissa (thereaderandthechef).
529 reviews167 followers
July 20, 2017
*This review can also be found on The Reader and the Chef & YA Books Central. Huge thanks to Brittany's Book Tours for the review copy in exchange of my honest opinion.*

Remind me again to never read YA Thrillers at night. First We Were IV is a book that has haunted me for the last few days but I do not regret it AT ALL because it's so GOOD. The mystery, the suspense, the secrets, the ending... GAH! You should definitely read it.

What I Liked:

First of all, I loved how this book captivated me. I don't normally read thrillers (weak at heart here) but I couldn't stop reading, even though my chest was feeling heavier and heavier as I flipped through its pages. Everything was weird and creepy, the atmosphere so... charged. What the characters did with the Order of IV, what the adults and authorities did to protect their reputation... gosh, so messed up! I'm still wide-eyed to be honest.

The Order of IV is created by a group of friends--Viv, Izzie, Harry and Graham--as a last attempt to create something that will link them together for when they all part to go to College. This group's main purpose is to right wrongs, starting with the mysterious death of a college girl found in the meteor rock in Viv's apple orchard. However, things start to get out of hand when the kids from their High School think it's a cool trend and start acting on behalf of the Order. Madness ensues right after this.

These four friends have a strong friendship that has lasted for several years (dates back to kindergarten I believe!) and I liked how they put so much effort to keep their friendship from falling apart, even if they create the very thing that has the potential to break them. I don't think I would ever have been able to be a part of their inner circle, but everyone who meets them will surely see how they fit together. They belong together. Reading about them as a whole was great and made me long for my group of High School of friends which did fall apart after we pursued different careers. And that's how it is, life happens (though mine thankfully not as creepy as how theirs go).

However, the thing that left the most impression on me from First We Were IV was the whole idea of a small town trying to cover each others tracks for the sake of keeping up a perfect facade. It keeps running through my head how the officer in charge, when Viv discover the girl's body on top of the meteor rock, tells her (supposedly to appease) that the dead girl was "asking for it", based on her appearance. This was so wrong and it shook Viv's foundation, enough to motivate her to seek some justice for the girl if no authority would bother to look for it.

With that said, I must mention that this book has heavy themes, some that took me by surprise (especially when the characters were revealing secrets as part of an Order of IV activity) and even made me feel nauseous. Now THAT is something I would like to forget about.

What Left Me Wanting More:

There were a few times that I struggled to understand what was going on with the characters, what they were planning and how they would execute said plans. Maybe because there were so many things happening at the same time, especially close to the ending. I often had to go back and reread to try to make a sense of it.

And I was also expecting a bit more from a couple of the main characters. Their reactions to one of the main issues was not what I wanted, what I needed, so it left me a bit unsatisfied. I wanted more anger and justice!

Final Verdict:

Chock-full of secrets, mischief, and an all-consuming need to preserve friendship while righting wrongs, First We Were IV is the book to jolt your summer nights!
Profile Image for Ivory.
78 reviews52 followers
October 16, 2017
To tell you the truth, I would only give this book 3 stars. I found it rather dry all the way through. There was really no climatic parts until you got to the end. Sure, you wonder as to who the "killer" was( which, for me, was the only thing that kept me interested). Without giving anything away, it was about a group of teens doing mischievous things in order to get their town to take notice of a murder that had happened 5 years previous. Some things, were a little overboard in my opinion, however that seems to be the whole idea of the book with reference to the murder in each chapter to keep readers interested. The ending......rather disappointing in my eyes. They were four, now they are three. No loose ends, the author tied everything up in a nice little bow. Each character went their own way......and voila......the book is done.
This of course, are my own thoughts. It is a quick read, so if you are looking for a book to fill in while your trying to figure out what series you want to read, then go ahead and dive in.....just don't expect too much.

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Profile Image for Alysa Morley.
543 reviews9 followers
August 1, 2020
So the idea of this was really interesting, and certainly entertaining. While the characters themselves were annoying and juvenile at times, I truly enjoyed reading about their relationships and interactions with each other.

The main downside (for me) is that it just didn't have the depth, grit, and darkness that I would want from a cult book. It's not at all a bad book, but it's very YA. Teens thinking about teen things, teen problems. So basically it has a lot of teen angst, which I just don't love so much at my age and place in life.

I enjoyed seeing this story unfold and the character dynamics kept me invested even when I was rolling my eyes. The ending was quite rushed given how long it took things to escalate, but I feel like that's half the books I read these days.
Profile Image for Kait.
487 reviews11 followers
August 15, 2017
**Originally posted on The Fandom**

Dark, edgy, and wholly unpredictable, Alexandra Sirowy’s First We Were IV is the wild summer read you need. I was sucked in right away thanks to the chaotic prologue and from there, this story presented a full spectrum of emotions smothered in suspense.

Izzie, Viv, Graham, and Harry see themselves as outcasts and are just looking to make their lives a little more memorable before graduation. They’ve been best friends since childhood and senior year means they’re close to going their separate ways. Viv is the one with dramatic flair, Graham is the daredevil, Harry is the quiet, sensible one, and our narrator, Izzie, is a little bit of each. There’s one chilling fact we learn about the group early on: By the book’s end, one of them is gone.

They start a special group they call The Order of IV as a chance to turn their hangout sessions into parties and share some devious secrets. That is, until the rebellion begins. First it’s minor ways to impress their classmates and “right the wrongs” of their small town, like getting the pervy vice principal in trouble. It’s not enough. Soon, they turn their attention to the mystery behind a shared trauma: A Jane Doe they found dead on Viv’s family’s property years earlier who they’ve nicknamed “Goldilocks”, a girl the police immediately dismissed as a runaway killed outside of town and dumped, even though signs of her murder were all around town. It’s time to remind the adults who let it slide that a girl died and justice was never served.

After a few successful attempts at getting the school and the town’s attention, The Order of IV gains a following. Students begin creating their own rebellions under the symbol of IV. Another group of students, including Viv and Harry’s childhood bullies, suspect the original four and want in on the excitement. The chance to subjugate the teens who harassed them throughout their lives is too good to pass up, thus The Order forms an initiate level. They force the initiates to embarrass themselves, to incriminate themselves as they paint the town red in an attempt to force out Goldilocks’ killer. But more people means more problems as everyone lusts for control and their own version of revenge. It’s not long before founders and initiates alike are spiraling to new lows in the name of “justice”. When they find their answers and get their revenge, will it be worth the humanity they’ve lost?

First We Were IV is so intensely fascinating because it focuses on the gray areas. Izzie and her friends start The Order mainly out of boredom with good intentions, but once they see that they can do, they can’t let it go. All of the characters are incredibly interesting and you root for their push for justice, but they never feel like the “good guys”. You support them, but you don’t always like them. Each of them wants to use The Order to exorcise their personal demons, but doing so means putting all of them at risk.

With each passing rebellion, the stakes get higher and higher. The story keeps you constantly in suspense as you wonder what will go wrong and when it will happen. Small moments click together to form a terrible picture. It’s more than a murder mystery, it’s an grisly thriller with teeth of its own, all leading to a shocker of an ending. It’s not a light summer read and you’ll be reeling with emotions by the end, but this story is so consuming that I don’t think readers will mind one bit!
Profile Image for Amanda [darjeeling_and_jade].
361 reviews59 followers
October 19, 2017
The Order, its power, it’s a high. I feel it. But it’s also like this shadow I keep seeing out of the corner of my eye. I turn my head and it’s gone. It’s there. Dark. Waiting.*

It’s senior year, and Izzie, Harry, Graham, and Viv are the center of their universe. Self-made outcasts, they love each other fiercely and defiantly, ignoring the insults of their classmates. As the year begins, fear that their friendship will disintegrate after they go their separate ways begins to burn through Izzie. On a whim, she suggests that they start a secret society to stay together–no matter what. When the other three agree, they draft a secret society modeled after the ones they determine to be great. The Order of IV becomes their way to get back at their classmates and their small town, righting what they perceive to be injustices and doing it anonymously. There’s a certain power to invisibility, and they relish in how they can control it. When their rebellions are noticed by other classmates, the four of them realize that their power extends even further than they thought. Power is all-consuming. And it can get away from you.

Never lie.
Never tell.
Love each other.

I’m going to backtrack a bit. When the novel starts, Sirowy takes us through a little bit of the history of the four friends. How at first, when Izzie was young, she was one. Then, with the addition of her first friend–her best friend, Graham–they became two. It goes on to explain how Viv became three, and Harry–the last and a recent addition to their town–became four. The year they become four is also the year that a girl is discovered murdered in their small town, posed ritualistically. It sets in motion an obsession for Izzie, one that has haunted her: who is the girl that was murdered? And why was her murder never investigated?


When they first start the Order of IV, it’s for small rebellions: procuring evidence that their vice principal is a pervert, proving that a planning committee is basic. The four of them soon become restless with these small infractions; sure, they’re rebelling, but what is it all about? That question leads them back to the murdered girl with her arms and clothing positioned to look like wings on the meteorite that they used as a landmark when they were younger. It drives them to do something about it. To make it right. Because something happened that night. Something was covered up. And they’re going to uncover it.

It hit me, abrupt and as hard as the water smacks your cannonballing form. We had a say in the world. As us, we were invisible. As the Order of IV, we were powerful.*

I loved this part of the novel. When they decide to investigate something that their small town cops and mayor ignored, it gives them a reason for their secret society. The small town setting is kind of fascinating. It’s a little like looking at a diorama, where everything seems to be perfect. When things go wrong, people don’t want to admit that it could be their friends or neighbors. They protect that small town feel because they don’t want to damage their reputation. People who shouldn’t be protected are protected and things are ignored because no one wants to admit that something so heinous could occur in their town.


While I loved the small town setting because it narrowed the scope of the novel, I did not enjoy the high school setting as much because it was nothing new. It ended up taking over everything else in the novel. Instead of focusing on discovering who the murderer was and why it was covered up, the novel was about the petty every day revenges of high school. That was a huge disappointment to me. I expected a little high school drama, but the novel completely derailed from the mystery-thriller premise. When it became more about high school jealousies a lot of my interest was lost. It ended up cheapening the mystery part of the novel.

It was occurring to me that secrets weren’t only dangerous for those who kept them–it was dangerous to know them.*

Part of the Order is the requirement that they share and keep each others’ secrets. At first, they’re normal. Small. Things like having crushes on a mutual friend in the past. Things that aren’t a big deal in the scheme of things. But when new secrets come in, secrets that could land people in jail if they get out, the Order takes on a more dangerous element. The Order allows them to lose themselves under the mask of the Order. They can be anonymous. They can get away with things because with the mask, they’re not thinking of the consequences. I like how that was explored a bit in the novel. Characters began to do things they wouldn’t have considered doing as themselves. As Izzie, Viv, Henry, or Graham, they are small. As members of the Order, they are larger than life. There’s an appeal to becoming someone else. Someone who doesn’t think of consequences. I loved reading how it spiraled out of control and how it eventually caught up to them in horrible ways.


I was really intrigued by the secret society aspect of First We Were IV. I can completely understand the fear of losing your friends–especially when you’ve been together for so long. I think that most people wouldn’t think about creating a secret society when faced with the loss of this closeness, so I enjoyed reading how they justified its creation and what they did under its banner. While it was a way to remain close, it quickly became a way to control others. When you know someone’s secrets, and they know yours, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before you use that to your advantage. Reading how the Order changed them was interesting because you saw how much of their personality was fluid or relied on their friendship. Their true personalities eventually came through.

We outshone the star-choked sky. We stared into space and didn’t wonder what was there because we were the universe. All wormholes led to us.*

It’s rare that I wish for more narrators, but I really wanted that to happen in First We Were IV. The four of them were so different that I often wondered why they remained friends. It would have been really fascinating to see how their characters developed and changed as the story advanced. There were a few short bits that focused on the other characters through video transcripts and I loved reading how they were unraveling as things occurred. I wanted to see more of that. Tension builds if a reader knows something but a character does not. It would have been cool if that had been a stronger element in First We Were IV.

We’d come so far–sacrificed, rebelled, and planned. I wouldn’t allow anything to derail us before our finale. And already I’d stopped considering it a finale, an end. My breath stuttered at the thought of no more rebellions. No more revenge…I had invented the Order. I had aimed it at Seven Hills. I had vowed revenge for Goldilocks. And though I wasn’t certain what shape we’d take next, rebellion had dug its claws into my heart and wouldn’t let go.*

The whole plot of First We Were IV is that they form a secret society and want to get justice for injustices. But that’s not really what ends up happening. Instead they focus on getting revenge against the popular people–those that have made their lives a living hell. The plot meandered through their initial rebellions, attempting to build up to the main event: unmasking the killer. Unfortunately I feel that First We Were IV failed in this aspect. The final moments of the plot are rushed through an attempt to complete the promise to the reader that this is about more than high school. This novel promised a mystery but I didn’t feel the suspense of one. I think ultimately I am disappointed because I believe that there should be a change and a point to the events occurring in the novel. At the end of it, I feel like something should have changed. I didn’t really get that feeling from First We Were IV. Others may feel that losing something was the change, but I kept hoping for a bigger change that never came.

Ultimately, I would recommend First We Were IV to readers who enjoy a little bit of suspense in stories that center in high school. I enjoyed that the novel didn’t focus too much on the romances that were occurring, so that was refreshing. I think it’s an interesting idea that will entertain many readers. It just wasn’t for me.

I received a copy of First We Were IV from the publisher via Netgalley. First We Were IV was published on July 25th, 2017.

2.5 stars.

*Quotes are taken from an advance reading copy and may have had changes before publication.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,020 reviews103 followers
January 1, 2018

Alexandra Sirowy's First We Were IV is a difficult book to sum up. On one side, I really liked it - it was thrilling, dark, and even a tad bit chilling. The perfect Halloween read. On the other side, some parts just didn't work for me.

So lets start with what worked...
1) The prologue/flash-foward - Prologues are always a tough sell for me. I like them when they're well done and serve a purpose by either setting the scene or inducing intrigue. I don't like them when they feel unnecessary. Here the prologue was done well, very well in fact. It was chilling and thought-provoking. Some things were revealed while others were not. We knew that something had gone wrong - very wrong - but other than that we didn't know much.
2) The characters - They're complex. An interesting combination of likable and unlikable. When the story begins, the four best friends want to do something exciting, something to make their senior year incredible. I could understand that; however, what I liked the most was how close-knit the group was. They seemed completely unbreakable at first.
3) The mystery - There's a couple of different mysteries at play here, and all of them were well developed. I also never could quite predict how everything was going to end.

What I Didn't Like:
1) The pacing: It started off fast, but then dwindled down to a turtle speed. I actually read the first 100 or so pages and then put the book aside for a few weeks. I just didn't feel the need to finish it as soon as possible.
2) The romance: The romance here gives off a Juliet-and-Romeo feel. It's very do-or-die, and I'm all for high-stakes romance, but I just didn't feel the connection between the main character and her love interest. It felt more like a matter of convenience rather than passion.

What I'm Conflicted About:
1) The ending - I don't want to spoil anything so I'll keep my comments short here. I understood why Alexandra decided to end the story this way - it was dramatic as well as impactful. However, at the same time I just wanted something different. It didn't even have to be more hopeful; instead, I wanted better for the characters. Here's these four best friends who have everything at first and then they end up with nothing. It just didn't feel right.

Would I suggest First We Were IV? Yes, I would suggest it to fans of thrillers. It's not the best thriller in the world; however, it's still decent and it provides an interesting ending.
Profile Image for Abi.
359 reviews56 followers
July 30, 2017
Hmmmmmm. There was a lot I liked about the book (the dark writing style, the plot summary, some of the characterization) but something about the storytelling didn't strike me as genuine. I didn't care much about the characters or find their toxic friendships believable. The cult progressed way too abruptly and awkwardly for me to find engaging. The book was an entertaining ride but as a whole, it was a bit underwhelming in face of its massive potential.
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