ARC Review: The First to Know

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Title: The First to Know

Author: Abigail Johnson

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

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 extent of her dad’s deception, clashes with her wish not to destroy her family. When she sees the opportunity to get to know Brandon through his cousin, the intense yet kind Chase, she takes it. But the more she finds out about Brandon, her father’s past and the irresistible guy who’ll never forgive her if he discovers the truth, the more she sees the inevitable fallout from her own lies. With her family crumbling around her, Dana must own up to her actions and find a way to heal the breach—for everyone—before they’re torn apart for good.

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!


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, imagine my excitement when I found out that they were all meshed together in this book! 

The First to Know 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, Dana was not the most agreeable character. 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 riveting enough to be relatable and enjoyable. I thought that the romance with Dana and Chase, though unlikely, was adorable as well!

To sum everything up, The First to Know 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. If you are into heartwarming and captivating stories centring around family ties and cute romance, then be sure to give this book a try!

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*



What are some good novels you’ve read that centre around both romance and family ties?❤️

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