Title: The First Twenty
Author: Jennifer Lavoie
Release Date: May 12th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Dystopian
Humanity was nearly wiped out when a series of global disasters struck, but pockets of survivors have managed to thrive and are starting to rebuild society. Peyton lives with others in what used to be a factory. When her adopted father is murdered by Scavengers, she is determined to bring justice to those who took him away from her. She didn’t count on meeting Nixie.
Nixie is one of the few people born with the ability to dowse for water with her body. In a world where safe water is hard to come by, she’s a valuable tool to her people. When she’s taken by Peyton, they’ll do anything to get her back. As the tension between the groups reaches critical max, Peyton is forced to make a decision: give up the girl she’s learned to love, or risk the lives of those she’s responsible for.
Although The First Twenty is set in a post-apocalyptic world, its organisation is eerily similar to our own modern society.
The two main groups exist each other; not peacefully but in hostility. The Settlers live symbiotically, whereas the Scavengers are a rebel force, stealing and killing to survive.
Peyton is on the side of the Settlers, who have claimed an abandoned mill as their home. She succeeds her murdered father as head of security; vengeful and grieving.
Nixie is a Scavenger, captured whilst raiding the mill. She is the calm to Peyton’s storm and despite the animosity which should exist between them, they are drawn to each other.
These two characters intrigue us, especially because we know how their stories are unfortunately woven together and wonder how this secret will emerge.
Peyton may be in a weakened emotional state, but she is physically strong and I don’t think we expect her to be overshadowed by Nixie’s character, though she is. Nixie is smart and caring – and she has her gift.
The relationship between Nixie and Peyton is definitely the focus of the story though the romance is subtle and sweet. Jennifer Lavoie ensures that The First Twenty has a character-driven plot, but this means that the story is slow in parts.
When I started the book I expected to be wowed as I was by Jennifer Lavoie’s Tristant and Elijah. Although this didn’t happen for me, I recognise that The First Twenty is a valuable contribution to the LGBT YA genre.