When First Love Becomes Forever Love.

First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

I’m still living in the world of First Love. The audio book may have ended, but I’m not ready for the story of Axi Moore and Robinson to end. I want to rewrite the last few chapters of their beautiful story. A story filled with hope, strength, humor, and loss.

I normally summarize a story in my own words, but I find this description from James Patterson’s website too perfect to try and rewrite.

An extraordinary portrait of true love that will move anyone who has a first love story of their own.

Axi Moore is a “good girl”: She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn’t tell anyone how all she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson—who she also happens to be madly in love with.

When Axi spontaneously invites Robinson to come with her on an impulsive cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out of control after the teens find themselves on the run from the police. And when Robinson suddenly collapses, Axi has to face the truth that this trip might be his last.

A remarkably moving tale very personal to James Patterson’s own past, FIRST LOVE is testament to the power of first love—and how it can change the rest of your life.

Though I highly respect James Patterson’s extraordinary career–I honestly haven’t read too much by him since he hasn’t published many romances except for those he’s just started publishing under his new imprint, BookShots. However, when I saw this romance that he co-wrote with Emily Raymond, I knew it was probably going to be good–and I wasn’t disappointed. Granted, I’m not sure how much of this book was written by Patterson versus Raymond, but this book will make you smile, cry, laugh, and appreciate your own life twenty times over.

When I started reading this book, I was guilty of expecting the plot to go a certain way. I was wrong. This story goes much deeper than Axi just being an unhappy kid wanting to escape the boredom of small town living by going on a road trip. Robinson was much more than just a high school dropout. I didn’t realize until the story progressed that both Axi and Robinson had met as cancer patients in the hospital. That makes their relationship reach a deeper, more intimate level than the typical first love relationship. Nothing builds unbreakable bonds than getting chemo treatment and facing death together.

The adventures of Axi and Robinson as they drive across America are somehow both far-fetched and realistic at the same time. I mean, how many times can kids steal cars with witnesses and not get caught? Why wasn’t there a manhunt for two teenagers who handcuffed a cop after threatening him with his own weapon? You’d think the police would have checked with the local bus lines to see if anyone matching their description had bought tickets. Nevertheless, this journey ended up setting Axi and Robinson free on so many levels. Free to love one another. Free to reinvent yourself. Free to simply exist in the moment, without any fear for what tomorrow may bring. I think this book can teach many people to get out of their daily grind and truly live. Especially since none of us are promised tomorrow.

As a side note, in case you didn’t catch it, I read the audio version of First Love, by Hachette Book Group. Narrator Lauren Fortgang truly hit the nail on the head in her portrayal of Robinson and Axi. I truly felt like I was listening to the two teenagers. Props to a stirring, awesome narration!

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Oh, Dad.

Friends, since it is National Tell A Story Day, I’d thought I’d share one with you. This story began when a smart, bright, and beautiful bookworm decided to take an all-american road trip with her family, which is not something this lovely young woman’s family has done much of during her lifetime. After flying across the country, the bookworm, her husband, and her parents drove from Las Vegas to Denver, driving a distance of 1419 miles. Some of the highlights of the trip included the Grand Canyon, rafting down the Colorado River in the Glen Canyon, touring a slot canyon, biking in Moab, Utah, and so forth. They spent days looking at the dry, red sandstone mountains and monuments that make up Arizona and Utah before driving up into Colorado. After spending the night in Aspen, Colorado, the family woke up the next morning and took a short road trip through the meandering mountain roads to visit arguably the most photographed peaks in the United States–Maroon Bells.

Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells, Aspen Colorado

Maroon Bells and the lake at its base were quite gorgeous, but the family left to continue up the mountains to Independence Pass–the highest paved road in the continental United States, which many signs touted as “The Top of the Rockies.” The Colorado mountain views were stunning. Although it was only mid-October, snow had already fallen twice in the region and was clinging to the distant craggy peaks. It provided a colorful contrast to the golden Aspen trees and evergreen spruces that clung to the steep, rocky sides.

America's Scenic Byways - Top of the Rockies

America’s Scenic Byways – Top of the Rockies

After hours and hours of driving through the meandering mountain roads, the dad of the family started saying that he hoped to never see mountains again. The daughter just slanted her eyes and said something like, “What did you expect to see in Colorado?”

As the family drew nearer to their hotel in Denver, the dad, ever the talker in the back seat, started to try and remember this singer who used to sing this song…something about Rocky mountains. The singer’s name, John Denver, finally popped into his head, and the dad pondered out loud, “So, are we ever going to see these Rocky mountains that John Denver sung about?”

The daughter and her husband looked at each other in disbelief.

“Dad, we’ve been in the Rocky mountains all day. How have you not realized this?”

This daughter deserved to be sainted for her patience.