The First Thing About You
– Chaz Hayden –
Published 6 September 2022
The First Thing About You is a funny and honest story about friendship, falling in love for the first time and finding your way as you grow up.
Harris and his family have just moved to New Jersey. For Harris, it’s a fresh start. No longer will he only be known as the guy in the wheelchair. It’s his time to break out of the box people put his in when they first see him. First thing on his list is a new aide to join him at school instead of his mother. Miranda is a young nursing student and seems to understand the real Harris. As Harris befriends the geeky Zander and the boys on the football team, he is also drawn to Nory. But friendship and love is hard to get right and Harris must learn to see beyond his own expectations, just as he wants others to do with him.
This is a fantastic coming of age story. Harris is a fantastic narrator. He likes to gauge his likelihood of getting along with someone by asking them about their favourite colour. It’s his way of making that snap judgement people usually apply to him after seeing him in his electric wheelchair. As he navigates starting at a new school, training his new nurse, parties, getting drunk and all the chaos of being a teenager, he also has to figure our falling and love and how to be a good friend. It might mean changing some of his thinking.
Harris is lucky to have a fantastic family and the characters are super important to the story. I loved how the many secondary characters were so well developed. His mother is super awesome.
This is an epic debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Chaz Hayden writes next. His style is hilarious and refreshing and this novel definitely fits into the own voices bracket, giving the story and Harris’s voice authenticity.
A must have for any school library collection, I can’t wait to share this delightful story with my readers.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Genre: Realistic fiction
Themes: Relationships, friendship, high school, disability, family.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references. Frequent coarse language, f*** (19), sh** (27), sl** (1), as***** (15), pi** (12), di** (2).
Published: 6 August 2022 by Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 384 pages.