What I Liked:
First of all, I loved how this book captivated me. I don't normally read thrillers (weak at heart here) but I couldn't stop reading, even though my chest was feeling heavier and heavier as I flipped through its pages. Everything was weird and creepy, the atmosphere so ... charged. What the characters did with the Order of IV, what the adults and authorities did to protect their reputation ... gosh, so messed up! I'm still wide-eyed to be honest.
The Order of IV is created by a group of friends--Viv, Izzie, Harry and Graham--as a last attempt to create something that will link them together for when they all part to go to College. This group's main purpose is to right wrongs, starting with the mysterious death of a college girl found in the meteor rock in Viv's apple orchard. However, things start to get out of hand when the kids from their High School think it's a cool trend and start acting on behalf of the Order. Madness ensues right after this.
These four friends have a strong friendship that has lasted for several years (dates back to kindergarten I believe!) and I liked how they put so much effort to keep their friendship from falling apart, even if they create the very thing that has the potential to break them. I don't think I would ever have been able to be a part of their inner circle, but everyone who meets them will surely see how they fit together. They belong together. Reading about them as a whole was great and made me long for my group of High School friends which did fall apart after we pursued different careers. And that's how it is, life happens (though mine thankfully not as creepy as how the life of these kids go).
However, the thing that left the most impression on me from First We Were IV was the whole idea of a small town trying to cover each other's tracks for the sake of keeping up a perfect facade. It keeps running through my head how the officer in charge, when Viv discovers the girl's body on top of the meteor rock, tells her (supposedly to appease) that the dead girl was "asking for it" based on her appearance. This was so wrong and it shook Viv's foundation, enough to motivate her to seek some justice for the girl if no authority would bother to look for it.
With that said, I must mention that this book has heavy themes, some that took me by surprise (especially when the characters were revealing secrets as part of an Order of IV activity) and even made me feel nauseous. Now THAT is something I would like to forget about.
What Left Me Wanting More:
There were a few times that I struggled to understand what was going on with the characters, what they were planning and how they would execute said plans. Maybe because there were so many things happening at the same time, especially close to the ending. I often had to go back and reread to try to make a sense of it.
And I was also expecting a bit more from a couple of the main characters. Their reactions to one of the main issues was not what I wanted, what I needed, so it left me a bit unsatisfied. I wanted more anger and justice!
Chock-full of secrets, mischief, and an all-consuming need to preserve friendship while righting wrongs, First We Were IV is the book to jolt your summer nights!