Book Review: The First I Do by Sarah N. Ham

Rating: 2 out of 5.

A quick read with some issues that I think could be easily fixed.

Book CWs

  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault
  • Bullying
  • Controlling/Abusive behavior


When Maybelle Lloyd and Michael Hawkins were children, they participated in a wedding–their wedding. They don’t remember, but it was enacted at the request from Michael’s terminally ill mother.

Thirteen years later, Michael overhears the Lloyd’s arguing with his father about a piece of mail. When he sneaks in to take a peak, he is met with the biggest shock of his life: the wedding was signed off on and has been recognized as legally legitimate for years!

When Michael tells Maybelle the truth, the two of them are forced to decide if they should get their marriage annulled, or give it a fair chance.

Review (No Spoilers)

I feel like I need to give a bit of background before I get to my main review.

Firstly, thank you so much to Sarah for sending me a free copy in exchange for a review. If any of you have talked to Sarah, you might have observed that she is possibly the kindest person in the world. When she reached out to me about reading her book, she did so in basically the nicest, most respectable way possible, and I super appreciate her for that.

Secondly, this genre is totally out of my norm so even though I didn’t like this book, it’s definitely possible that some of the things I didn’t like are actually completely normal.

The book is classified as a Christian young-adult romance and basically I figured, hey, I’m Catholic and I love me some young-adult romance so it can’t be much different right? Wrong.

For starters, the book is censored. And by censored, I mean super censored. For example, the word “piss” as in “you piss me off” was written as “p*ss” (which idk about you but that kind of looks much sketchier to me).

Also, there was a lot of emphasis in not having pre-marital sex, which again, could totally be a Christian genre thing but it felt super weird for me (despite the fact that I, myself, am celibate).

Okay, now let’s talk about some other things.

This book has at least 3 instances of sexual assault in it–one of them basically being rape. To add on to this, the rapiest one of all was totally excused after like a page. When I read it, I kind of went into full on rage mode and even considered not finishing the book. I really don’t think it needed to be in the story.

Something else that I thought was out of place was the weirdly dramatic ending. I thought the book was coming to a really nice conclusion when all of a sudden the end of Chapter 19 basically jumped out of the bushes and punched me in the face. From then on, I felt like the book had suddenly changed tone and I had no idea why. I literally wrote “honestly wtf is happening” as a note because I was so confused.

The last thing I want to mention is just a quick note that the writing needs a copy edit. The book itself is a super quick read–I read it in a few hours even with all of my highlighting and notes–but typos and awkward/clunky wording did slow me down a few times. If you check out my Kindle notes on Goodreads, you can see some examples of the types of things I commented on.

All in all, I think this story has a lot of potential as a light-hearted, non-serious read. It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but if you do decide to take a look at my kindle notes, you’ll probably notice that I was having a lot of fun at times. I even laughed out loud during several parts. I probably won’t pick up another Christian romance novel anytime soon but I am sincerely grateful to Sarah for giving me the opportunity.

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