The First Part Last

( 257 )

Overview

Bobby is a typical urban New York City teenager -- impulsive, eager, restless. For his sixteenth birthday he cuts school with his two best buddies, grabs a couple of slices at his favorite pizza joint, catches a flick at a nearby multiplex, and gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever: He's going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and fun times with friends are replaced by visits to Nia's pediatrician and countless social workers who all say that the only ...
See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)
$6.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (77) from $1.99   
  • New (18) from $2.00   
  • Used (59) from $1.99   
The First Part Last

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$6.99
BN.com price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Note: Visit our Teens Store.

Overview

Bobby is a typical urban New York City teenager -- impulsive, eager, restless. For his sixteenth birthday he cuts school with his two best buddies, grabs a couple of slices at his favorite pizza joint, catches a flick at a nearby multiplex, and gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever: He's going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and fun times with friends are replaced by visits to Nia's pediatrician and countless social workers who all say that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption. Then tragedy strikes Nia, and Bobby finds himself in the role of single, teenage father. Because his child -- their child -- is all that remains of his lost love.

With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson tells the story of a young man's struggle to figure out what "the right thing" is and then to do it. The result is a gripping portrayal of a single teenage parenthood from the point of view of a young on the threshold of becoming a man.

Winner of the 2004 Coretta Scott King Award (Writing Category)
Winner of the 2004 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Author Angela Johnson follows up her Coretta Scott King Award–winning novel, Heaven, with this absorbing prequel about a single teen struggling to accept his new paternal role.

In chapters that flash between Bobby's relationship with Nia leading up to Feather's birth (entitled "then") and his life now that he's a father on his own ("now"), Johnson paints an honest, vivid portrait of a man straddling the line between childhood and adulthood. Throughout the book, Bobby fights his own sleep deprivation and desire to hand off Feather to someone else for caretaking, and in one tense episode, he takes off to go spray-painting while his daughter is looked after by a neighbor. Chapter by chapter the events surrounding Bobby's situation become clearer, and after the narrative reaches a pivotal chapter (called "Nia") that marks Bobby's transformation into single parenthood, the true surprise comes near the end, when we learn what has happened to Feather's mom that eventually spurs Bobby to move to Heaven, Ohio.

In a powerful, spare read that will grip you on several levels, Johnson delivers a worthy continuation of Heaven. The characters' relationship dynamics -- Bobby with Nia, his parents, and Feather -- are deep yet subtle, while the book's main character is one not often found in young adult literature. The First Part Last is an original read that will stir you to the core. Matt Warner

From the Publisher
U.S. News and World Report Johnson has carved a niche writing realistically about young people's issues.

SLJ, starred review Brief, poetic, and absolutely riveting.

Publishers Weekly, starred review Readers will only clamor for more.

Booklist, starred review Poetry.

Publishers Weekly
A 16-year-old tells the story of how he became a single dad.In a starred review of this companion to Heaven, PW said, "The author skillfully relates the hope in the midst of pain." Ages 12-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Narrated in first-person point of view from the perspective of Bobby, a young, black male, this adolescent novel depicts life before and after having a child. By showing the tremendous responsibility that accompanies teenage parenthood, Johnson attempts to compel teenagers to evaluate the ramifications of premarital sex and pregnancy. Because most stories are written from the perspective of the teenage mother, the author presents her story in a unique way by writing from the viewpoint of a teenage father. The cover of the novel depicts a young African-American male holding an infant, which foreshadows the content of the novel. Stylistically, by titling the chapters consistently "now" and "then," except for one chapter is titled "Nia" and the final chapter titled "heaven," Johnson compels the reader to examine closely the changes that occur in Bobby's life. The title as well the book's division into four parts help emphasize the tremendous impact that Feather, Bobby's baby daughter, has on the young protagonist. By setting the book in New York, Angela Johnson helps debunk many common stereotypes. The entire novel attempts to teach about life, growth, and maturity. Johnson does a good job of showing the impact that having a child can have on life. 2003, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 12 up.
—Alicia Dodson
KLIATT
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2003: On the cover of this book is an appealing photograph of a young black man with a tiny infant. This picture introduces the novel to the YA reader—here is the story of a teenage father, loving his little daughter. How did this happen? Angela Johnson tells us the story through the narrative of the father, Bobby, in a series of vignettes "then" and "now." For Johnson's readers, there is even a connection to her previous novel, Heaven, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. There is believable language, with occasional swearing and some references to Bobby's sexual experiences with Nia, the baby's mother. Bobby is an urban teenager from a middle-class family, with parents who truly care about him and his baby. Stress over the baby's arrival, however, causes the parents' separation, and this, of course, doesn't help Bobby cope. Bobby and Nia had planned to give the baby up for adoption, but then tragedy strikes Nia, and everyone's future is changed. Bobby is a loving father who adores his baby even though it seems impossible to take good care of her, go to school and prepare for college, and stay in touch with his good friends. Johnson has a way of getting to her readers' emotions with few words, creating characters we really care about. Her young people are thoughtful, conscientious, and loving—certainly with failings, but trying to do better. (An ALA Best Book for YAs and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award.) KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 132p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
VOYA
I'm really glad that Johnson wrote this prequel to Heaven. Bobby was a character that everyone wanted to know more about. This well-written book is not like anything that I've ever read before. It goes fast and has realistic fiction, romance, and suspense all in one. Most teen pregnancy books are about what the girl goes through, but this one is written from a different, exciting angle. Both girls and boys can read it. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Simon & Schuster, 144p,
— Teens' Top Ten nominator, age 13
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Angela Johnson's Printz Award-winning novel (S & S, 2003) is perfectly suited to the audiobook medium, and Khalipa Oldjohn narrates this first person tale with poignant authenticity of tone and pacing. At 16, Bobby struggles to be a father to his newborn daughter while keeping up with school, maintaining his boyhood friendships, and trying to live up to his parents' expectations. Told in alternating passages of "Now" and "Then," the back-story that has brought Bobby to this point falls steadily but deliberately into place, with the revelation of why Bobby is a single father arriving only near the very end. In spite of its brevity, the story is complex and satisfying. Bobby is both boy and man, responsible and overwhelmed, near panic and able to plan an intelligent and loving future for Feather, the daughter he adores and nurtures. In audio format, this story can readily be shared in just a class period or two and will grab listeners immediately, making it an ideal subject for class discussion. It will also be instantly popular for leisure reading outside of school.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"The rules: If she hollers, she is mine. If she needs to be changed, she is always mine. In the dictionary next to 'sitter,' there is not a picture of Grandma. It's time to grow up. Too late, you're out of time. Be a grown-up." Sixteen-year-old Bobby has met the love of his life: his daughter. Told in alternating chapters that take place "then" and "now," Bobby relates the hour-by-hour tribulations and joys of caring for a newborn, and the circumstances that got him there. Managing to cope with support, but little help, from his single mother (who wants to make sure he does this on his own), Bobby struggles to maintain friendships and a school career while giving his daughter the love and care she craves from him at every moment. By narrating from a realistic first-person voice, Johnson manages to convey a story that is always complex, never preachy. The somewhat pat ending doesn't diminish the impact of this short, involving story. It's the tale of one young man and his choices, which many young readers will appreciate and enjoy. (Fiction. YA)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689849237
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Series: Heaven Trilogy Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 84,410
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Angela Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels The First Part Last, Heaven, and Toning the Sweep. The First Part Last was also the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award. She is also the author of the novels Looking for Red and A Certain October. Her books for younger readers include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book When I Am Old with You, illustrated by David Soman; Wind Flyers and I Dream of Trains, both illustrated by Loren Long; and Lottie Paris Lives Here and its sequel Lottie Paris and the Best Place, both illustrated by Scott M. Fischer. Additional picture books include A Sweet Smell of Roses, Just Like Josh Gibson, The Day Ray Got Away, and All Different Now. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio. Visit her at AJohnsonAuthor.com.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The First Part Last


By Angela Johnson

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2003 Angela Johnson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-689-84922-2


Chapter One

now

My mom says that I didn't sleep through the night until I was eight years old. It didn't make any difference to her 'cause she was up too, listening to the city. She says she used to come into my room, sit cross-legged on the floor by my bed, and play with my Game Boy in the dark.

We never talked.

I guess I thought she needed to be there. And she must have thought her being there made everything all better for me.

Yeah.

I get it now. I really get it.

We didn't need to say it. We didn't have to look at each other or even let the other one know we saw each other in the glow of the Game Boy.

So last week when it looked like Feather probably wasn't ever going to sleep through the night, I lay her on my stomach and breathed her in. My daughter is eleven days old.

And that sweet new baby smell ... the smell of baby shampoo, formula, and my mom's perfume. It made me cry like I hadn't since I was a little kid.

It scared the hell out of me. Then, when Feather moved on my stomach like one of those mechanical dolls in the store windows at Christmas, the tears dried up. Like that.

I thought about laying her in the middle of my bed and going off to find my old Game Boy, but I didn't.

Things have to change.

I've been thinking about it. Everything. And when Feather opens her eyes and looks up at me, I already know there's change. But I figure if the world were really right, humans would live life backward and do the first part last. They'd be all knowing in the beginning and innocent in the end.

Then everybody could end their life on their momma or daddy's stomach in a warm room, waiting for the soft morning light.

then

And this is how I turned sixteen....

Skipped school with my running buddies, K-Boy and J. L., and went to Mineo's for a couple of slices. Hit a matinee and threw as much popcorn at each other as we ate. Then went to the top of the Empire State Building 'cause I never had before.

I said what everybody who'd ever been up there says.

"Everybody looks like ants."

Yeah, right....

Later on that night my pops, Fred, made my favorite meal - cheese fries and ribs - at his restaurant. I caught the subway home and walked real slow 'cause I knew my mom had a big-ass cake for me when I got there, and I was still full. (In my family, special days mean nonstop food.)

I never had any cake though 'cause my girlfriend Nia was waiting on our stoop for me with a red balloon. Just sittin' there with a balloon, looking all lost. I'll never forget that look and how her voice shook when she said, "Bobby, I've got something to tell you."

Then she handed me the balloon.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The First Part Last by Angela Johnson Copyright © 2003 by Angela Johnson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 257 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(167)

4 Star

(55)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 257 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2009

    First part last

    The book First Part Last by Angela Johnson was really good. Anyone looking for a good book that is short and and still fun to read, this is the book for you. You learn alot about teenage pregnacy, and all of the things you have to over come. The main characters name is Bobby, he is 16 and since he had intercourse with his girlfriend Nia, his life has changed forever. Bobby has to get rid of friends, sports, and his studies. Once his girlfriend Nia has the baby, he has to take care of it, he never sleeps anymore because Feather is keeping him awake. Bobby is raising this baby all by himself. When the baby was born they were going to put Feather up for adoption. Bobby loved Feather at first sight, so he decided that he wanted to take care of him. That might have been the worst decision he has ever made. People think that they wont get pregnant but this story shows that it happens often. I Liked the book alot, I reccomend this book to teenagers that are thinking about having sex for the first time, it could change your mind.

    29 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2011

    Loved it!!!

    Overall this was a great book... im happy to see a males point of view in raising a kid... no men dont give birth but this book shows just how a woman steps up and takes resposibiliy so can a man... great read :)

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2003

    The World's Greastest Book on Young Parenthood

    This book is one of the best books that I have read. It had capture me in Part 1. I've read this book in three days. I wanted to keep reading it and bring it home so I could finish it. But, I couldn't It was time for me to leave and go. But, this book is great. I gave it 5 stars because, it deals with the pressure of going to his parents and Nia's. Him crying for his mom because, he now has to be a grown up even though he's just a kid hisself.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    I really wanted to fall in love with this book, but... I never did. From the beginning of the story I disliked Nia and couldn't understand why the daughter, Feather (dumb name by the way) lived with her father instead of her mother as that is not typically the case. I understand it now, but I still don't really like Nia. The book is written with parts of Then and Now alternating... but each part of the story is told so quickly, it's a little confusing. Overall the book could have been better, but it wasn't the worst book I've read.

    7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Read this challenging book!

    The first part last by Angela Johnson, is an amazing book. I really recommen you to read it. The author really explains everything with details its very esay to understand she makes you feel like you were one of the characters in the book. Bobby the main charaters would change your mind about babies, if your a person that don't like babies he will make you feel how wonderful having a kid is,but mostly he's going to give you a lesson when to have one too. Its not that easy, so read this book its very intersting and emotional.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2010

    The First Part Last

    I recently read this book and i thought it was really good! The book was very realistic! Things like teenage pregnancy and death during labor are real life things that are not planned or predicted! I felt that the father was very smart and deep and that he didnt quite know what he was doing or what he'd gotten himself into but he did the right thing for himslef and his baby! All in all its a great book not very long but has a very lomglasting impact!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    Not the best

    I thought this book was overly ambitious. I get how this is to provide insight on the male side of teen pregnancy, but it really wasnt anything I didnt expect. Some of it was confusing because Bobby never straight out said anything, he was all dramatic using metaphors and imagery. Simple acts like waking Feather up could lead to him babbling about something different for pages to come. Why didnt he flat out say what happened to Nia? What the heck happened to this story? It was just too short to really portray anything. Im sorry, but I was disappointed.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    I remember this !

    I remember my teacher had the class relad this in turns. It was a good way to teach us about these issues. Really good book for a teen to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Great

    Awesome book i read when i was 12 ...and its a great story with a lot of cuss words thou

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 10, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Book!

    I usually buy and read about 2 to 3 books a week and this is in my top 10 favorites. Everyone usually focuses on the mother when it comes to teen pregnancy, but this book is told by the father who is raising his baby alone. The entire book is great, but the ending is amazing! I think teenagers and Adults both would enjoy this very touching story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2011

    Inspiring

    Every teen should read this!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 3, 2011

    fantastic book

    i loved this book! its a great read! =) it made me think about the choices that we make in life as teenagers...i think teens should read this book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Great

    It is ver moving. It is very powerful and enjoyable. I would recomend this to anybody and everybody.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Click on this review

    Tell me the summary of this story, including ALL of the juicy details. The headline should read: SPOILER ALERT!!! Thank you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2012

    Highly recommend!

    I work in the field of adoption so I enjoy reading about teens/unplanned pregnancy in my "free time." This book was an excellent read for really any teen who is sexually active or thinking about it, or has a friend who is. This book gives the unique perspective of the birth father. And the ending is both sad and unexpected. A must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Amazing

    This book captures the mind of teens towards talking about teen pregnancy. Its important to explain to your child the struggles and changes you have to do just because of that one mistake of getting pregnant while still being a teen. This story explains the life of uthis boy named bobby and the life changing moments he has to do while raising his daughter by himself.......... :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 21, 2011

    first part last

    this book is off the chain and the hook it involves teen pregnacy and bieng a mother and a father stepping up to the plate doing the right thing owning up to there responsibilities....i really like this book and i think that you will too so check it out................?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2010

    THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!

    Introduction

    In the book, Bobby and Nia have a baby together at a young age. While giving birth to Feather Nia dies and Bobby is left to take care of and raise the baby. At first he wanted to give Feather up for adoption but he faced his fears and did it.

    Description and summary of main points
    Bobby is your classic urban teenaged boy -- impulsive, eager, restless. On his sixteenth birthday he gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia that changes his life forever. She's pregnant. Bobby's going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and hanging with friends no longer seem important as they're replaced by visits to Nia's obstetrician and a social worker who says that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption.
    With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson looks at the male side of teen pregnancy as she delves into one young man's struggle to figure out what "the right thing" is and then to do it. No matter what the cost.
    Evaluation

    The book was good but I don't think that it was good enough to get five stars. The book was very confusing and at many points in the book I didn't know what was going on. If the story was longer then it might be better, but the story wasn't ever telling me anything different. It told me the same things over and over again.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion I would never recommend this book to anyone because it isn't that good. I like to read books that are about pregnancy at a young age but this book wasn't that good to me.

    Your final review
    The book was not good at all. Don't ever read it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    Its good

    Asome

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Awsome book ever

    I love this book it a heart felt book and the baby on the front cover is so ctue i looooove this book.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This was post by kiarah lemon love u all !!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 257 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)