Reviews for First Part Last

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #2
"My daughter is eleven days old." So begins this tale of sixteen-year-old Bobby, who is venturing alone into fatherhood like someone exploring an alien planet. Narrator Oldjohn's voice is deliberately matter-of-fact as Bobby makes his way through a new reality made up of binkies, bottles, disappointed parents, and abandoned friends, as well as a fierce love for his baby. Although the plot's structure is complex -- alternating back and forth between "Then" and "Now" -- Bobby's earnest and impulsive voice carries listeners along in a way that is intimate and involving. Because Oldjohn has so clearly established this as Bobby's story, the baby's mother's brief appearance (voiced by Kole Kristi) near the end comes as an interruption -- almost a shock -- in an audio production so beautifully focused on one young man's struggle to do the right thing and become the person life requires him to be. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2005 February
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.