Through the Lens is the first book in Shannon Dermott's Through the Lens series. When I was given the opportunity to read and review Broken Lens, I knew I wanted to read where everything had began for Jessa and Ethan. Though Broken Lens is a standalone, I always like to read in order if possible. So I bought Through the Lens and proceeded to read this one straight through. I will say that I read this in pretty much one sitting and there was a lot that I liked. I did have some issues though, but I am still looking forward to continuing Jessa and Ethan's story.
Jessa Shelby is tired of being the fat twin that is ignored by everyone, while her beautiful and skinny twin Jenna gets all the attention. When Jessa loses weight and changes her life, things start to fall in to place for her. The summer before her senior year, Jessa gets a job and strikes up a friendship with the handsome Ethan Hart. Though Jessa likes him, she quickly finds out that Ethan has a girlfriend. Knowing she can't have anything with Ethan beyond friendship, she starts to see Josh Macon, the football star that she has always had a crush on. But as the summer continues, she finds herself falling for Ethan rather than Josh. But when Ethan's past catches up to them, Jessa soon realizes that she might have placed her trust in the wrong person.
I have to say that I liked Jessa and Ethan. These characters didn't have all the same annoying habits that I often times find frustrating when it comes to YA and NA books. Not that they didn't show their age at times, but I just thought that they were smarter and less irritating than a lot of others I have seen. Jessa was smart and I loved that she had morals. She knew that going after Ethan would have been wrong, and she didn't pursue him when he had a girlfriend even though she liked him. That said a lot to me about the type of person that she was, and I was glad to see that she was able to put her own wants aside in favor of doing the right thing. I liked Ethan, and I was glad that he was able to become friends with Jessa and teach her about photography. These two were developing a great friendship, and I think that is part of what made me root for them. I liked that things weren't instant, and their connection was genuine. Ethan and Jessa had chemistry and it was clear that there was an attraction between them, and I was glad that we got to see the tension build.
I will say that I thought that there was some unnecessary stuff in this story though, and it seemed to be brought in randomly. Ethan's absent mom suddenly reappearing, the identity of the attacker/missing girls plot that happened at the very end of the story, Bradley's former interest in guys, the drama with Lucy...all of it just seemed to be a bit more than needed considering everything else going on. My other big issue with this book was that it needed an editor in the worst way. Normally I don't comment on missing words, wrong choice of words, grammar and spelling, but since this was a published book that I bought on Amazon rather than an advanced copy (and seeing as how this was published in 2012 and it is 2015), I feel like it is necessary to point this out to potential readers. There has been plenty of opportunity and time for this to be fixed, and it was pretty bad. If that sort of thing annoys you, this one might not be for you. I will say that it was the worst at the beginning of the story and seemed to get better throughout, although that might have just been me getting used to it. This book ends with a happy for now, which sets up the story for Broken Lens. I liked this one and am interested to see where things go from here for Ethan and Jessa.