The First to Know by Abigail Johnson

The First to Know

Dana Fields's father never knew his parents. When Dana secretly does a DNA test for her dad, hoping to find him some distant relatives for his birthday, her entire world implodes. Instead of a few third cousins, Dana discovers a half brother her age whose very existence means her parents' happy marriage is a lie. Dana's desire to know her half brother, Brandon, and the ext...

Title:The First to Know
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The First to Know Reviews

  • Christy

    I would like Abigail to write all the things. Talk about feels. She knows how to write families!

  • Madison

    Once again I am left utterly speechless by an Abigail Johnson novel. How does she do it!?!! Because The First To Know is the most incredible, agonising, rip-your-heart-out-and-then-sew-it-back-together, amazing book. Asdffdhngikaldnvj....I hope the publisher wasn't expecting a put-together, coherent review, because all they are going to get is swooning, sighs, exclamation marks and fan-girling. Because it really is just. that. good.

    When Dana decides to surprise her father with a birthday present

    Once again I am left utterly speechless by an Abigail Johnson novel. How does she do it!?!! Because The First To Know is the most incredible, agonising, rip-your-heart-out-and-then-sew-it-back-together, amazing book. Asdffdhngikaldnvj....I hope the publisher wasn't expecting a put-together, coherent review, because all they are going to get is swooning, sighs, exclamation marks and fan-girling. Because it really is just. that. good.

    When Dana decides to surprise her father with a birthday present to beat all birthday presents, she could never have expected the bombshell she would unleash. The DNA testing kit was supposed to unveil some long-lost family members - parents or cousins perhaps - for her father who grew up in foster care never knowing anything about his heritage or family. Instead, Dana discovers that her father has a son. A son who is not that much older than she is...and not that much younger than her sister. Confused and devastated, Dana keeps her secret while desperately trying to learn more about her brother, even if it means getting close to Chase, her brother's cousin, a guy who is starting to mean so much to her, a guy she really shouldn't be lying to.

    This book put me through the emotional wringer. It tore my heart out. I was literally reading some of it peeking through my fingers. I knew that the big unveiling of the truth was going to come, you know from the summary that this secret is going to blow up, big time, but it was still agonising to watch. The part about the DNA testing tearing Dana's family apart didn't really hit me until I got a good look at her family. And while things aren't perfect, while Dana might have problems with her relationship with her Dad, there is no doubting the close bond between her parents, between their whole family. It's really sweet but also sad knowing where the book is going.

    And then there is the romance.... I don't know what to say, I really don't. Except maybe, amazing and incredible and breathtaking and....aghhh!

    There are so many layers to this book. While Dana is wrestling with her family secret she is also trying to lead her softball team to state championships, balance the love she has for her sister with the resentment she feels about their respective talents and choices in life, and also navigate the unrequited feelings of one of her best friends. So the themes of sport, family, friendship, and romance all give so much depth to this book.

    The time Dana spends with Chase is everything she needs and everything she knows she can't have while she is hiding the truth from him. He is so up-front, honest even when he is hurting, and sure about what he wants. Determined, hurting, kind, sweet (and did I mention incredibly attractive). I was a little unsure about the ending as I was nearing the final pages. Surely I wasn't going to be left with a broken (read: wrecked, totally devastated, I-need-ice-cream) heart? But Abigail Johnson not only delivers an emotionally overwhelming book, but one that is also hopeful, loving, forgiving and (sorry, if this is getting repetitive, but) totally AMAZING!!

    In case my review is not already clear, I absolutely loved this book. I can't wait to shove it into the hands of my readers, can't wait to share the reactions and love that this book will inspire. I highly, highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy realistic fiction, contemporary novels that seamlessly combine romance, friendship, relationship breakdown and the importance of family in one incredible book.

    The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

    Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog

  • Sam Kozbial

    Rating: 4.5 Stars

    This was one of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, so I had pretty high hopes for this book. I am happy to report it did not disappoint me. What would you do if you were the first to know something that could destroy your family? This is the question Dana struggled with in this book, and I couldn't stop flipping the pages as I watched Dana build her house of cards.

    •Pro: Many different types of families are explored. Single mom, single dad, foster kid, large family, extended families

    Rating: 4.5 Stars

    This was one of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, so I had pretty high hopes for this book. I am happy to report it did not disappoint me. What would you do if you were the first to know something that could destroy your family? This is the question Dana struggled with in this book, and I couldn't stop flipping the pages as I watched Dana build her house of cards.

    •Pro: Many different types of families are explored. Single mom, single dad, foster kid, large family, extended families, adopted families. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and it's nice to see them represented.

    •Pro: Dana! This young woman was put in a tough position, and she had to hold so much inside as she tried to make the right decision. I couldn't imagine having that sort of information, and knowing it could destroy my life as I know it. She didn't always make good decisions in this book, and her decisions often had major repercussions, but they all came with good intentions, and she learned a lot of herself, her family, and she was better for it.

    •Pro: This books is packed with great characters. I found them all to be well developed and they made significant contributions to the story. I also cared about them.

    •Pro: Speaking of caring, I found myself quite emotionally invested in this family. The joy, the loss, the pain, the betrayal -- it was all there.

    •Pro: There were a lot of side plots, and when I stood back and took in the big picture, I was able to see how they were all part of the big picture.

    •Con: The ending, though good, left me glad about some things, a little sad about others, and with a bunch of questions about yet more things.

    •Pro: The drama was delicious! I kept sneaking little pieces of this book, because I had to know what happened next. It was quite addictive.

    •Pro: There is a lot of love and grace shown and there were a few times I thought my heart would burst.

    •Pro: I loved Dana's romance. Her romantic interest won me over with the first overture he made towards Dana, which was far from your typical romantic gesture.

    •Pro: This book blended stories of families, friendships, relationships, and romance, and it did it well.

    Overall: A heartfelt story of family secrets, filled with great characters and lots of feels.

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  • Julia Ostash (fictionalovers)

    I was blessed to receive an arc of this book from Abigail, and let's just say it was amazing.

    The story centers around a girl named Dana and how she wants to please her dad. She does a DNA test for him, so that he can find his family. When the results come back, Dana, finds out her dad might have a father or son. She immediately thinks it's her grandfather so she contacts him. Finding out the person is actually 18, Dana's life starts to crumble before her. Her dad had an affair.

    Dana meets a guy

    I was blessed to receive an arc of this book from Abigail, and let's just say it was amazing.

    The story centers around a girl named Dana and how she wants to please her dad. She does a DNA test for him, so that he can find his family. When the results come back, Dana, finds out her dad might have a father or son. She immediately thinks it's her grandfather so she contacts him. Finding out the person is actually 18, Dana's life starts to crumble before her. Her dad had an affair.

    Dana meets a guy named Chase, Brandon's cousin, and the two hit it off tremendously. But when Dana and her secrets crumble, so does their relationship. Most of Dana's relationships do.

    This book was a wonderful heartbreaking story about family and love. I loved it so much and I recommend all of Abigail's books.

    This isn't my full review, but you can find the full one on my blog.

  • viktoria

    : This concept excited me so much and it was executed so well. The romance totally won me over in this, which doesn't always happen, but you guys, those beautifully complicated family dynamics

    me. I love Abigail Johnson so much for her awesome sister bff-ery portrayal, especially

    : This concept excited me so much and it was executed so well. The romance totally won me over in this, which doesn't always happen, but you guys, those beautifully complicated family dynamics

    me. I love Abigail Johnson so much for her awesome sister bff-ery portrayal, especially

    . I literally cried at least twice reading this, which is a hard sell for me if it doesn't involve an animal's death.

    P.S. This is the second Abigail Johnson book I've read, and I have to say, she does complicated emotional journeys and family situations well.

  • Kayla (Kayla's Book Nook)

    Human biology really interests me. I love learning about DNA, genetics and how people are the way they are. I also adore reading about family ties in contemporary novels. So,

    definitely met my expectations for a good read. In spite of a few problems I had with it such as its whiny protagonist, I really enjoyed all of its other elements and I can see myself recommending it to other readers.

    For

    Human biology really interests me. I love learning about DNA, genetics and how people are the way they are. I also adore reading about family ties in contemporary novels. So,

    definitely met my expectations for a good read. In spite of a few problems I had with it such as its whiny protagonist, I really enjoyed all of its other elements and I can see myself recommending it to other readers.

    For a brief summary, this novel follows teenage protagonist Dana. For a nice birthday surprise, Dana decides to run a DNA test for her dad so he could find his unknown parents or other relatives. However, she finds a half-brother, Brandon, instead and is left flabbergasted. She would like to get to know him, but does not want to lose her dad's trust. So, she decides to meet and make an effort with his cousin Chase, and get to know her half-brother through him. Soon enough, she and Chase are falling for each other. Can Dana keep this a secret without destroying her dad's trust?

    As I touched on,

    Her stubbornness and constant complaints turned me off, and for the most part I couldn't stand her. Fortunately, all of the other aspects of this book were strong enough to overweigh this, so it is easy for me to shift my focus off of Dana and onto the positives about this wonderful story.

    In light of the positives, the plot was quite unique and captivating. Although it didn't have the most realistic storyline in that I don't think it would be as easy for Dana to get in touch with her stepbrother in real life, it was for sure

    I thought that the romance with Dana and Chase, though unlikely, was adorable as well! 

    To sum everything up, 

     was an interesting story. The storyline had me enthralled and the writing style was up to par, however the unlikable character of Dana is what bothered me the most.

  • Laura

    This was so touching *my heart*

  • Librarians' Choice

    Once again I am left utterly speechless by an Abigail Johnson novel. How does she do it!?!! Because The First To Know is the most incredible, agonising, rip-your-heart-out-and-then-sew-it-back-together, amazing book. ....I hope the publisher wasn't expecting a put-together, coherent review, because all they are going to get is swooning, sighs, exclamation marks and fan-girling. Because it really is just. that. good.

    When Dana decides to surprise her father with a birthday present to beat all birt

    Once again I am left utterly speechless by an Abigail Johnson novel. How does she do it!?!! Because The First To Know is the most incredible, agonising, rip-your-heart-out-and-then-sew-it-back-together, amazing book. ....I hope the publisher wasn't expecting a put-together, coherent review, because all they are going to get is swooning, sighs, exclamation marks and fan-girling. Because it really is just. that. good.

    When Dana decides to surprise her father with a birthday present to beat all birthday presents, she could never have expected the bombshell she would unleash. The DNA testing kit was supposed to unveil some long-lost family members - parents or cousins perhaps - for her father who grew up in foster care never knowing anything about his heritage or family. Instead, Dana discovers that her father has a son. A son who is not that much older than she is...and not that much younger than her sister. Confused and devastated, Dana keeps her secret while desperately trying to learn more about her brother, even if it means getting close to Chase, her brother's cousin, a guy who is starting to mean so much to her, a guy she really shouldn't be lying to.

    This book put me through the emotional wringer. It tore my heart out. I was literally reading some of it peeking through my fingers. I knew that the big unveiling of the truth was going to come, you know from the summary that this secret is going to blow up, big time, but it was still agonising to watch. The part about the DNA testing tearing Dana's family apart didn't really hit me until I got a good look at her family. And while things aren't perfect, while Dana might have problems with her relationship with her Dad, there is no doubting the close bond between her parents, between their whole family. It's really sweet but also sad knowing where the book is going.

    And then there is the romance.... I don't know what to say, I really don't. Except maybe, amazing and incredible and breathtaking and....aghhh!

    There are so many layers to this book. While Dana is wrestling with her family secret she is also trying to lead her softball team to state championships, balance the love she has for her sister with the resentment she feels about their respective talents and choices in life, and also navigate the unrequited feelings of one of her best friends. So the themes of sport, family, friendship, and romance all give so much depth to this book.

    The time Dana spends with Chase is everything she needs and everything she knows she can't have while she is hiding the truth from him. He is so up-front, honest even when he is hurting, and sure about what he wants. Determined, hurting, kind, sweet (and did I mention incredibly attractive). I was a little unsure about the ending as I was nearing the final pages. Surely I wasn't going to be left with a broken (read: wrecked, totally devastated, I-need-ice-cream) heart? But Abigail Johnson not only delivers an emotionally overwhelming book, but one that is also hopeful, loving, forgiving and (sorry, if this is getting repetitive, but) totally AMAZING!!

    In case my review is not already clear, I absolutely loved this book. I can't wait to shove it into the hands of my readers, can't wait to share the reactions and love that this book will inspire. I highly, highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy realistic fiction, contemporary novels that seamlessly combine romance, friendship, relationship breakdown and the importance of family in one incredible book.

  • Amy's Book Reviews

    4.5 STARS

    When Dana wants to surprise her father, who grew up in foster care, by finding his biological relatives through DNA testing, she never expected to find Brandon, her same age half-brother. Brandon wants nothing to do with Dana or her sister or their father. And Dana’s mother has no idea. She doesn’t want to break up their family by revealing the truth.

    Abigail Johnson’s sophomore effort is filled with drama and heart. Dana’s a beautifully flawed character. Crushed under her softball coach

    4.5 STARS

    When Dana wants to surprise her father, who grew up in foster care, by finding his biological relatives through DNA testing, she never expected to find Brandon, her same age half-brother. Brandon wants nothing to do with Dana or her sister or their father. And Dana’s mother has no idea. She doesn’t want to break up their family by revealing the truth.

    Abigail Johnson’s sophomore effort is filled with drama and heart. Dana’s a beautifully flawed character. Crushed under her softball coach dad’s tough expectations, feeling second best to her sister Dana truly wants to get he father an epic birthday person, biological family. Her methods aren’t always wise or honest, but she genuinely wants to make everything right for everyone.

    THE FIRST TO KNOW, at its core, tells the story of family working through disappointments in themselves and in each other. At times heartbreaking, at times hopeful Johnson proves she’s even better the second time. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

  • Lili  Marcus

    This is a new author for me so I didn't really know what to expect. I just thought upon reading the synopsis that the plot is interesting.

    I wasn't disappointed.

    A story of a young girl who's trying to prove herself to her father, that pushes her to plan this ridiculous gift for his birthday. And that gift results to whole new problems Dana and her family have to face. Expectedly, there's so much drama in this story that I really welcomed with open heart.

    The feeels...

    Usually there are parts in dr

    This is a new author for me so I didn't really know what to expect. I just thought upon reading the synopsis that the plot is interesting.

    I wasn't disappointed.

    A story of a young girl who's trying to prove herself to her father, that pushes her to plan this ridiculous gift for his birthday. And that gift results to whole new problems Dana and her family have to face. Expectedly, there's so much drama in this story that I really welcomed with open heart.

    The feeels...

    Usually there are parts in drama or realistic fiction that can be boring and slow especially in novels that I just skimmed over them, But the author didn't give me a chance to do that. Every scene I devour because I got invested in the story and especially to the characters. I fell in love and care for them , especially Dana, because of everything that's going around. This is a story of a family who learned how to accept themselves and forgive.

    Be warned, this book will wreck your emotions yet will leave you hopeful and contented.

    Oh did I really almost forgot about Chase. Yeah the romance... :) :) It was sweet and unique in it's own way. I was even surprised I'd like the romance in the book. Maybe because, I wasn't expect there would be a definite romance in the story but again the author didn't disappoint.

    I think I just added another author on my favorite realistic writers list. :)

    I was given a review copy by the publisher and author.. Thank you. :)

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