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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

First Time for Everything, Henry Fry: A Review

Little known fact about me, but in college, many of my friends compared me to Bridget Jones. To this day, I have no freaking clue if this is a good or bad thing (because I've yet to actually watch Bridget Jones) but I know that I couldn't wait to dive into this one after reading the summary.

From Goodreads: Danny Scudd is absolutely fine. He always dreamed of escaping the small-town life of his parents' fish-and-chip shop, moving to London, and becoming a journalist. And, after five years in the city, his career isn't exactly awful, and his relationship with pretentious Tobbs isn't exactly unfulfilling. Certainly his limited-edition Dolly Parton vinyls and many (maybe too many) house plants are hitting the spot. But his world is flipped upside down when a visit to the local clinic reveals that Tobbs might not have been exactly faithful. In fact, Tobbs claims they were never operating under the "heteronormative paradigm" of monogamy to begin with. Oh, and Danny's flatmates are unceremoniously evicting him because they want to start a family. It's all going quite well.

Newly single and with nowhere to live, Danny is forced to move in with his best friend, Jacob, a flamboyant nonbinary artist whom he's known since childhood, and their eccentric group of friends living in an East London "commune." What follows is a colorful voyage of discovery through modern queer life, dating, work, and lots of therapy--all places Danny has always been too afraid to fully explore. Upon realizing just how little he knows about himself and his sexuality, he careens from one questionable decision (and man) to another, relying on his inscrutable new therapist and housemates to help him face the demons he's spent his entire life trying to repress. Is he really fine, after all?

I really enjoyed this book. Danny's voice is dry-humor, sarcasm, and enigmatic energy all rolled into painfully real scenarios that will tug at your heart. From page one, I was laughing, and I loved seeing how Danny interacted with his friends, family, and co-workers while navigating his own personal issues. This isn't just a feel good book (although it will make you feel good). Fry addresses pressing social issues with care and candor, illuminating identity, mental health, gender stereotypes, and sexuality--as well as the importance of transitional periods, no matter the age.

Overall, First Time for Everything is an entertaining, enlightening read with heart, soul, and wit. You won't want to miss this one.

Big thanks to Ballantine for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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