I read this book on my flight back home from NCTE back in November and I have been impatiently waiting to share this book with readers, but no more!
The premise of this book is that the summer before high school, Dan is presented with an opportunity to travel to Europe with a school group for 3 weeks, but he is initially ambivalent. He wants to experience new things, but he's not sure he wants to do it with some of his classmates. But as the trip goes on, he realizes how much bigger the world grows for him as he tries new and forbidden things for the first time (beer, cigarettes, coffee, and even steals a bike... this was the 80s... we were all feral in the 80s ), has his first summer romance, and he sees what the world has to offer beyond his small hometown.
I read this book on my flight home from NCTE and it was the perfect book to read on a plane. My experience living in Europe was in my 20s but I saw so much of my own experience in this book and how the world became so much bigger for me. I loved the way the story was structured, I love how it ended in a way that it felt like you were watching a movie, oh, and I also love that I understood most of the German throughout the book and laughed so hard when Dan was baring his soul to Helga, his Austrian host mother whom he lived with for a week and she said "Es tut mir leid, dass ich nicht verstehe was du sagt." This book has so much heart and is relatable in so many ways, whether that's the travel angle, the "middle school was torture" angle or the pining away for a summer romance angle. So many readers will devour this book and I'm so glad it's finally out in the world for more readers to love.
A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat
Published: February 28, 2023
Publisher: First Second
Genre: Graphic Memoir
Audience: Older middle grade/younger YA
Disclosure: ARC received at NCTE 2022
Purchasing the book from the above Bookshop affiliate link supports independent bookstores and gives me a small percentage of the sale.