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First Time

Narrated by: Michael Fell
Length: 4 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: LGBT, Romance
4.4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Summary

It’s 2007, and no one is out at Hamilton High School....

...least of all Cody McPherson, the star quarterback everyone says is destined for the NFL; the boy who the entire school expects to see crowned Homecoming King in a few weeks. 

Cody’s dad wants to see Cody start the professional football career he’s been grooming him for all his life. Cody’s friends all want him to hurry up and ask Jessica Edmonds to be his Homecoming date. Some days, it feels like everyone in the state of Ohio wants to chime in with an opinion about which college he should play for.

Just about the only one who doesn’t seem to want anything from Cody is Simon Andrews, the transfer student who’s been tutoring him in biology. Cody’s pretty sure he wants something from Simon, though. Not something he can ever admit to, of course. Not something he’d ever do anything about. And definitely not something he expects Simon to want, too.

It’s 2007, and Simon has no plans to come out any time soon....

...especially not before he graduates. Hamilton is the sixth school that Simon Andrews has attended during his high school career, and all he wants to do is keep his head down, his grades up, and make it through graduation without attracting any attention. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things at Hamilton that attract Simon’s attention. 

Well, just one thing, really: Cody McPherson, the too-nice, too-hot, too-straight jock who Simon’s been crushing on - er, tutoring, ever since the start of the school year. 

Simon has started looking forward to his study dates with Cody more than he should. He can’t imagine ever letting Cody know he’s interested. Not after he’s already experienced firsthand just how ugly coming out at the wrong time, to the wrong people, can be. Besides, Simon doesn’t expect to be at Hamilton for long enough to matter. Sure, his mother has promised that this time, she’ll hold down a job long enough for them to stick around, but Simon’s too smart to trust that either.

There’s a first time for everything though, and at Hamilton High School, there are going to be a lot of firsts.

First Time is a coming-of-age gay romance novella of approximately 34,000 words that contains an unruly set of butterflies who take up residence in Simon Andrews’ stomach, biology tutoring that comes with a heaping side of sizzling chemistry, a quarterback with two left feet, a first date with far too many participants, and two boys who are each terrified of coming out...right up until the moment that they finally manage to do it.

Every Stella Starling romance takes place in the same interconnected, contemporary world.

First Time is a prequel to Cody and Simon’s present-day love story, which will be told in the novel Second Chance.

©2018 Stella Starling (P)2019 Stella Starling

What listeners say about First Time

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Amazing YA romance!

While I used to be addicted to NA college-set stories, YA is not as much of a favorite for me. However, I have to admit that I feel like Stella Starling knocked this one out of the park in regards to Cody, Simon and their friends. They felt so real to me and I absolutely loved them. Simon was all kinds of adorable and the way he would just light up every single time Cody directed his attention to him just made me want to cuddle him. And Cody, well, while he was understandably in the closet, after all, he's a gay high school senior quarterback with chances to get drafted into the NFL, living in a small town in Ohio with ultra-conservative parents in 2007, I was happy that he could be somewhat out with the help of his best friends and his teammates, even if only in school. Cody and Simon were super sweet together and frankly, the only reason I'm not rating this book higher is because this is a prequel to a second chance romance and I'm dreading to think how the second chance will come into play. I hadn't listened to any books narrated by Michael Fell, but I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth his transitions were and how perfectly he captured Cody and Simon, his Jessica voice needed a bit of work for my taste, though, but overall, this is an audiobook I can see myself listening to again. Very recommendable!

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    3 out of 5 stars

Sweet First Love

A fairly short and sweet tale of first love and first times. A high school romance between the Jock and the Nerd, a story that’s been told a thousand times and still enjoyed. It’s fairly slow, plenty of angst and ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ but Cody and Si get there in the end. I think this book is the prequel to another of Stella Starling’s books so I imagine we’ll get to see these two boys as grown up. I’ve never listened to any of Michael Fell’s narrations before but I enjoyed his voice and I’d listen to another of his. Don’t expect to be set on fire but if you want a quick and easy listen then give it a go.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good coming of age story

I have a sweet spot for coming of age stories add in my favorite genre and im happy. I really enjoyed the guys in this book. I enjoyed Michale Fell a lot and will check out more of both their work for sure

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    4 out of 5 stars
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So Sweet! Michael Fell is Wonderful

Stella Starling’s First Time is the prequel for her new Second Chance series. The story of Cody, the popular high school quarterback, and Simon, the brainy transfer student, First Time is a coming out, opposites attract young-adult tale. If you enjoy a well written story full of charming characters, good-natured humor, and super sweet romance then Ms. Starling’s stories are going to work for you! This is the first time I’ve listened to an audiobook narrated by Michael Fell, but I guarantee it won’t be the last! With a warm, sensual voice works Mr. Fell is able to perfectly convey the youth of these two young adults. Now that we’ve gotten the story of how they met in 2007, Cody and Simon’s story continues in the present day in Second Chance, which is due to be published this year. an audiobook copy of First Time was provided to me for the purpose of my review

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Coming out, coming of age!

Two seniors, a nerd and a jock, brought together by tutoring. They are sweet and yet courageous with their feelings. Their friends are awesome too. This is a feel good kinda romance. Two youngsters finding themselves and breaking patterns at their school. Very endearing!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

First time..........with this author

First Time was a well read book. Michael Fell was easy to listen to. The story was the usual, jock meets fellow student. Cody was trying to be straight to fit in but knew he was gay beneath. Simon was the misfit he hires to tutor him so he can pass his Finals. Cody is under pressure from his Dad to become a professional football player and he has the pressures of his frends expectations for Homecoming. Simon however had been moved around a lot and just wants to put down roots. He wouldn't dream of telling Cody he likes him because of past mistakes. This is the story of how they get together. I have heard great things about Stella Starling and this is the forst time i have read/listened to her work. I will need to get my checkbook out as I feel I may have a few new books on my TBR list.

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Young love, first love :)

What a sweet story! Cody and Simon are young college students - Cody is a high school senior and athlete, while Simon (another student) tutors Cody. Cody is firmly in the closet because he does not want to hurt his chances of becoming an NFL player. But Simon tests his resolve to keep that part of himself hidden. What develops is a sweet, romantic and fun romance between them. This is an HFN story - complete in itself, but it does make you want to know how they will fare in the future :) Michael Fell does a good job with the narration - I had no trouble knowing which character was talking. He captured Cody and Simon's youthful sound particularly well. He was very easy to listen to and get lost in the book. This is a great way to enjoy the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome

I really enjoyed this audiobook. The story was great. The characters were excellently brought to life through great narration. I can’t wait to listen to more audiobooks from Stella and Michael.

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It’s just so sweet!!! I loved this story!!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars 🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 3 (but oh so sweet!) 🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 4.5 So many butterflies! It’s just so sweet!!! I loved this story. It’s a perfectly told, first love story. It’s so sweet and endearing I had butterflies too. I love Simon and Cody and their sweet crush to a first love story. So many parts of this story are just so heartwarming as we see Cody and Si fall more and more for each other while keeping their relationship/connection a secret from (everyone and) Cody’s family. My favorite part is Cody and Simon’s school “coming out” at prom and how all their fellow students (mainly the rugby team) dance as same-sex couples to make Cody and Si feel included and supported. This part brought tears to my eyes and even though it’s a story gave me hope for the human race and how sweet kids can be when it matters. I loved this story and the narration was great. I look forward to more from this author, series, and narrator all of which were new to me. My heart is full. Thanks, Stella for such a wonderful story ❤ !!! Thanks for reading!

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    4 out of 5 stars

Sweet high school romance, wonderful narration

This is such a well written first time romance by Stella Starling. Though it's quite a short story to listen to, only four hours, there is a fair amount packed in as you would expect with the highs and lows of school. Yet there wasn't as much drama as I was expecting which I think made me like it more as occasionally, you just want a low angst romance with a bit of fluff. Stella has provided that with Cody, star footballer, and Simon, 4.0 student, and their unfolding romance from student and biology tutor to working at the possibility of more. There are several great secondary characters, Jessica and Brian especially, who show their friendship in subtle ways but effective in helping Cody move towards what he wants. My first story narrated by Michael Fell and he does such a great job with these characters! Sounded young enough to be in high school but effective enough to portray all of the emotions that they go through as they attempt to show their true selves to each other but no one else. I really enjoyed Michael's narration and just fell into listening to the story, managing it in one day. Definitely a recommended listen.

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  • Jennifer Smith
  • 23-05-20

Michael's Terrific Job of So Sweet First-Time Love

Michael Fell did a terrific job with this wonderfully sweet story of first-time love between a high school football player and his tutor. I love how supportive the football player's friends were and how in love Cody and Simon are. Michael brought the story to life so skillfully that it made it so much fun to listen to! Recommended to anyone who enjoys sweet, hot love stories!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Zell Oakley
  • 29-03-20

A good comfort read, but very little else

I read "The Boyfriend Game" by Stella Starling, but when I bought First Time, I didn't quite put it together that it was the same author. And if I'd known it was, I wouldn't have bought it. Not that I disliked The Boyfriend Game, it was just a little too unrealistic for me. I did like First Time, however, so I'm glad I bought it. Cody and Simon are crushing on each other hard at the beginning of First Time, and being very obvious about it. From the very first chapter, however, the audience knows that all of Cody's friends already know about it and are working to get them together. Since Simon doesn't seem to have friends (he's new in school), this means that every character in the book is already ok with Cody and Simon having a relationship right from the start. Which is great--I actually think jocks and cheerleaders get a bad rap in fiction; most of the ones I know are perfectly nice people--but it doesn't really leave much room for any sort of conflict. There were a couple avenues I thought the book could go down to throw a couple obstacles in Cody and Simon's path, but Starling never quite gets around to actually doing it, so what we're left with is a novel that starts out with everyone relatively happy and they just keep getting happier throughout. Which is good, if you're looking for a comfort read. But don't go into this expecting any complications or angst whatsoever. I don't particularly like huge amounts of angst but a little conflict would have been welcome. The book does say "A Second Chance Prequel" on the cover but there doesn't seem to be any more books in the series (maybe they're being written). The book doesn't have a lot of sex in it until the final chapter which is quite explicit. Again, not a complaint. Michael Fell does a great job as narrator.

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  • Jacobo Rodriguez
  • 04-12-19

Great book

Perfect book for high school gays! Its a beautiful romance for high school sweethearts and their friends!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Diane
  • 06-10-19

Not for me

I received an ARC of this audio for my honest review. I listened to a couple of chapters and stopped as it didn't catch my attention to want to finish it. This was my first book by this author. Not a fan of the narrator at all.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • dontkickthebaby
  • 04-09-19

There is no plot

This book is heavy on meaningless dialogue that never goes anywhere. The tedium will chase your attention away. Several minutes later, you’ll realize you have not been listening to the book, rewind, then realize you didn’t miss anything the first time. Listen to The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair instead.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Esther A
  • 03-09-19

Sweet Story

This is a sweet story of Simon and Cody in high school who each have a lot to lose by coming out. Simon is tutoring Cody and although they are attracted to one another, they are each afraid to do anything about it. Some things are worth taking a risk for and I'm so glad that Simon and Cody could see that. I'm looking forward to reading their story, this was a prequel, to see how they turned out. The narrator did a great job with the characters and the story. I voluntarily reviewed a gifted copy of this audiobook.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 01-09-19

Sweet high school romance

I was a little leery of a coming out in high school story. I’ve heard too many disastrous tales to know it always ends well. Or even sometimes. No one in my high school came out although later some did. Turns out my prom date was gay. I probably knew it but didn’t understand. Beyond my realm of experience. That was the early 1990s. Have things gotten better? Today, perhaps, but 2007? I wasn’t holding out a lot of hope. Simon is a young man who has been hurt a lot. Those tasked with caring for him haven’t done a great job. His mother tries, but consistency isn’t her strong suit and Simon’s in his sixth high school in four years. I moved twice and that was traumatic enough, but six schools? Almost too much to bear. He’s learned his lesson, though, and he has no intentions of making friends. Safer that way. Cody is the quarterback in a football town. In a football state. Hell, in a football nation. The NFL is still the be-all and end-all for some many young men. For some, it’s a way out of poverty. For others, it’s all about the fame. For still others, like Cody, it’s about making people proud – people of the town, to be sure, but his father in particular. And if he were to disappoint everyone? Almost too much to bear. I liked this story. I liked that both young men had plenty to lose but were still, in the end, willing to take the risk. I loved that they got support from the most unlikely of places. I was thrilled that the book had such a positive tone. What I’m really excited about is seeing where this high school romance lands the two young men. The synopsis gives a few hints – this is a prequel novella and the book takes place ten years later. Part of me aches suspecting these two don’t spend those ten years together, but how realistic is that anyway? Sure some marry their high school sweethearts right out of school, but often people’s paths veer significantly from their intended goal. Does Simon get to study science at university? Does Cody make it all the way to the NFL? Needless to say, I’m looking forward to finding out. I really enjoy Michael Fell’s narration of the story. These are two young men and Michael nails both characters really well. He did a great job and I hope if the next book gets narrated that he’s brought back. So if you’re looking for a coming of age story with some interesting twists and two great protagonists, this is your book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel R.
  • 24-08-19

Can't wait for the next.

Great! First time listening to narration by Michael Fell and am hooked. Even though this is a shorter listen it is full of everything you could need in a story. Cody and Simon are both dealing with their own insecurities and struggles with coming into your own. Fell represents them brilliantly, I really felt like I was there with them and watching their connection grow. Can't wait for the next.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • FHR
  • 22-08-19

Finding courage and acceptance

This was a sweet story about two teenagers who find the courage to be themselves and ultimately find acceptance in their circle of friends. The plot is realistic with teenage emotions and challenges. The characters were well described and developed. I'm eager to see what happens to them in the future. The narration was smooth and engaging. An enjoyable experience.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Violet Marshall
  • 09-08-19

A Great Prequel

This is a great prequel with good writing. The plot was entertaining and it was steady throughout the book. I found the story and characters wonderful. The characters were developed and thought out. Cody and Simon are the MC’s of this book. An enjoyable coming of age book that I can highly recommend as a good read/listen. The narration was good it wasn’t monotone and there were different voices. I voluntarily read an advance copy of this book for an honest review.