FIVE STAR REVIEW by READERS' FAVORITE
Praise for First, Last, and Always:
“Kim Lehman’s writing and the plotline reminds me of something Sarah Dessen would write. I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of the [YA] genre.” –Manda Reads, Book Review Blog
“Such a feel-good story! It will be a book that students in early high school love and I feel confident recommending it to them.” –Shamni Stewart, Librarian at Banbury High School
“I hand-on-heart loved this book! The characters were so believable that I fell in love with them instantly.” –The Mad T-Party Book Review Blog
“From the beginning to the end, you were rooting for the happy ever after.” –Inner Workings of the Female Mind Blog
“Beautiful and sweet story of first love. Great characters and story line.” –Sarah Bittel, Educator
“OMG—cutest story ever!! A must read!” –Goodreads Reviewer
First, Last, and Always
by Kim Lehman
e-Book and Paperback Available on Amazon.
Book is FREE for subscribers of Kindle Unlimited.
CHARLOTTE Hubbard dreams about falling in love on a daily basis, but she's long rejected the idea that someone would ever be interested in an overweight, unappealing girl like her; an opinion that is shared by her way more popular and attractive sister who seems to enjoy pointing out Charlotte's flaws as much as possible.
AND . . .
Then there's MILES Fiester, who thinks that making the basketball team is as impossible as getting the girl he's liked since grade school to notice him. He'd have more luck getting his deadbeat dad to visit him for a day. But, in the first few weeks of high school, Charlotte and Miles come to discover that life is unpredictable, love happens when you least expect it, and there's always a first for everything.
First, Last, and Always is the story of two best friends dealing with the complexities of being a teenager--it's about FIRST loves, LASTing friendships, and remembering that family will ALWAYS be there, whether you realize it or not.
What readers are saying about Kim Lehman's sophomore novel . . .
"Fans of John Green or Rainbow Rowell will enjoy the endearing, human simplicity of
Charlotte and Miles' journey to finding love."
"FIRST, LAST, AND ALWAYS is an extra-large love story that fits . . .
First, Last, and Always
by Kim Lehman
There comes a time in the life of a teenager when you realize that pretty much everything your parents say or do will most likely embarrass you. Like yelling at you in public in front of other parents and friends, or picking you up at school in their shabby sweatpants and disheveled hair, or pretending to be cool by using words like “rad,” “sweet,” or “whatev.” As teenagers we know they don’t realize what they’re doing, but it’s humiliating nonetheless.
Today, on the second day of high school, in my bedroom, I am having one of these moments.
“Mom, the jeans don’t fit.” I hold up the faded denim pants in front of me so that my mom can clearly see the width of the waist is two sizes narrower than my actual body size.
“I just bought those for you. They have to fit.”
“I thought you tried them on in the store.”
“No, I didn’t. You wanted me to get them because they were seventy-five percent off.” My mom, Dee (short for Deena), is a notorious bargain shopper. If it doesn’t come from Costco or Kohl’s and it isn’t discounted on top of the already discounted rate, she doesn’t buy it.
She waves her hand at me dismissively. “We got them because they were in your size and you said they were supercute.” Actually, she said they were supercute. I would never use the word “supercute.” “Put them on. I want to see.”
This is the point when I realize it will not matter how they fit. Not only does Mom like to ensure that she’s always right, but she continually dismisses the fact that I’m big. According to her, I’m an average teenage girl who happens to have a little extra meat on her bones. “Curves are flattering,” she likes to tell me. She needs glasses. I’ve been big my whole life. Not obese or anything, but it’s hard not to consider myself anything other than that when most of the girls in school are a size zero and I’m a size eight.
“Mom, they’re way too tight.”
“They’re jeans. They’re supposed to be snug on the curves.” When I don’t make a move, Mom purses her lips and glares at me with the intensity of an agitated wild animal. It’s a look she’s perfected over the years. “Don’t make this difficult, Charlotte. Please try them on. I’d like to see for myself.” She says this as if I couldn’t possibly know whether an article of clothing will fit me correctly.
Grunting, I slide my pajama pants off and pull the jeans over one leg and then the other. By the time I make it halfway up my thighs, the material is tight and clinging to my skin. I pull harder. When I reach the point just below my hips, there is nowhere else to go. I can’t fasten them, and the elasticity in the material is at capacity. They’re stuck. Mom, however, does not seem to see this.
“Oh, they fit you fine. You look superfly.” She smiles and gives me a thumbs-up.
Superfly? Oh, Lord. In an effort to convince me how cool she is, my mother has turned into a blind, soul-talkin’ black man from the seventies. “Mom, my underwear is showing.”
Walking over, she grabs the waistline and starts to lift, hiking the pants up my body as if she’s shaking a pillow into a pillowcase. “Just . . . a little . . . more . . .” She’s exerting so much energy trying to fit me into the jeans that she starts to perspire. She’s as desperate for me to fit into them as I am to get out of them. My body jostles from her movements. “Hold up your arms and suck in your stomach. I almost have it,” she says.
I can’t believe this is happening. I feel like a deformed blowfish that’s ready to explode. As I suck in my stomach and hold my breath, my older sister, Alexa, passes the bedroom door in her bathrobe and towel turban. She’s probably the only person I know who can make terry cloth look fashionable. Alexa’s the anomaly in our family of big-boned, dark-haired Irish meat-and-potato lovers. She’s gorgeous—like, model gorgeous. I’d die for her pencil-thin frame, thick, honey-blond hair, and smooth, flawless skin. I don’t think there’s a freckle or birthmark anywhere on her body, and I doubt she even knows what a zit is.
“Good God.” She snorts, stopping to peek in. “It’s like you’re trying to fit a watermelon into an ant hole.”
Mom scowls. “That’s enough out of you,” she scolds, walking over. “Why don’t you finish getting ready for school?” Closing the door on Alexa, she returns to me to resume her tugging.
Mom doesn’t notice I’m upset. Probably because disparaging comments from Alexa have become regular occurrences in our household. Alexa teases, Mom threatens, and all the while I keep quiet. It’s not easy pretending not to care. Especially when the person who’s making the comments is someone you once considered your closest friend. Those days are long gone. We’re just too different now. I guess we always have been, but growing up seems to make it more noticeable. I can remember when we were kids, parents would say to my mom, “What a beautiful girl, Dee. Alexa’s as perfect as a peony.” When people met me, it was simply, “Oh, my, what a healthy-looking child.”
With a couple more tugs at my waistline, Mom stands back. There,” she says, letting out a huge sigh, admiring her hard work. Letting my arms fall by my sides, I push out a breath, relieved that it’s over with. As I do, the button on the jeans flies off, ricocheting against the wall across from me. My reaction is a distorted mix of mortified justification. I so want to say, I told you so.
Mom curses under her breath: “Dammit.” With another sigh and an apologetic look, she finally relents. “Okay, fine. Take off the jeans. I’ll take them back.”
I unzip the pants as fast as I can and twist myself free of the denim vise so I can breathe fresh air. Mom extends her arm for me to drape the pants over them. When I do, she scowls.
Exiting with jeans and button in hand, Mom closes the door. Once she’s out of the room, I scour my closet for something to wear. My clothes and I conduct a staring contest for what feels like days. How is it that I can have twenty shirts, ten pants, and four skirts, and still feel like there’s never anything to wear?
Getting more depressed by the second, I settle for a pair of old worn-in jean shorts and a gray T-shirt I wore three days ago that’s sitting on top of my laundry basket. Lifting the shirt to my nose, I smell the pits. Good enough. With the most difficult decision out of the way, I brush my hair, pull it back into a ponytail, slip on a pair of flip-flops, and bound down the stairs.