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The First Part Last

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Title: The First Part Last  
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Subject: Michael L. Printz Award, Teenage pregnancy in literature, How I Live Now, The White Darkness, On the Jellicoe Road
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The First Part Last

The First Part Last
Author Angela Johnson
Country United States
Pages 131
OCLC 50810558
LC Class PZ7.J629 Fi 2003

The First Part Last is a young adult novel by Angela Johnson that deals with the subject of teen pregnancy. Johnson writes the story in first person narration from the perspective of Bobby, the 16-year-old father, setting it apart from most books on the subject. The book is divided into four parts and its chapters alternate between "then" and "now."

Bobby and Nia, the child's mother, are urban upper-middle-class African-American teenagers in New York. Although the parents initially intended to give their daughter Feather up for adoption, Bobby raises the little girl on his own and realizes how hard it truly is to be a parent. Bobby becomes tired all the time, and can't always get to school on time. Bobby's mother won't do any of the work, because she feels that doing so will only make Bobby more dependent upon them. Nia, while giving birth to Feather, gets eclampsia, a life-threatening complication, which leaves her in a permanent coma. In the end, Bobby moves to Heaven, Ohio.


  • Characters 1
  • Major Themes 2
  • Reception 3
  • Awards and nominations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


  • Bobby -
  • K-Boy - Bobby's friend
  • J.L. - Bobby's friend
  • Fred - Bobby's father
  • Mary - Bobby's mother
  • Paul - Bobby's brother
  • Mr. Wilkins - Nia's father
  • Mrs. Wilkins - Nia's mother
  • Coco Fernandez - Bobby's neighbor
  • Nia - Bobby's girl-friend and the mother of Bobby's daughter
  • Nick - Paul's kid
  • Nora - Paul's kid
  • Feather - Bobby's baby

Major Themes

Kristi Jemtegaard said that Bobby is “venturing alone into fatherhood like someone exploring an alien planet.”[1] The author also said the novel deals with “disappointed parents and fierce love for his baby.


The First Part Last received mostly positive reviews. The Nell Beram said that “Johnson has a unique storytelling strategy."[2] Another author from Publishers Weekly discussed how Bobby's descriptions of Nia conveys to people what a “loving and trustworthy father he promises to be.”[3] However not all reviews from Publishers Weekly were positive; the author also said, “the only misstep is a chapter from Nia’s point of view which takes readers out of Bobby’s capable hands.”

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ Jemtegaard, kristi (March–April 2004). "The First Part Last"Angela Johnson . Just No Okay Just No. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Beram, Nell (July–August 2003). "The First Part Last"Angela Johnson (high school). Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "The First Part Last" . Publishers Weekly (high school). June 16, 2003. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Coretta Scott King Book Award Complete List of Recipients—by Year, American Library Association, retrieved 2009-01-17
Preceded by
Postcards from No Man's Land
Michael L. Printz Award Winner
Succeeded by
How I Live Now

External links

  • review

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