The YA market is flooded with dystopias and sci-fi worlds, but The First Principle has tackled an issue not found in others: teenage pregnancy. It’s more realistic than child gladiators (The Hunger Games) or giant labyrinths (The Maze Runner). Its female heroine has no bow and arrow, but Vivica – what a delightful name! – fights a frighteningly realistic battle against her controlling government and against herself. As for her futuristic world, I felt it lacked the exquisite descriptiveness of Harry Potter or Divergent. I was left wondering: What do people dress like? How's the food? What do the buildings look like? Yet it did have the essential information I needed to comprehend Vivica’s plight.
Also, I was thankful that there was no instant love between the characters. Ben and Vivica are introduced after they break up, and readers later learn that they were good friends before taking things further. The fact that they don’t get back together after she finds out she’s pregnant raises an interesting question: Should Vivica have to settle with Ben because of the result of one night? There is a possible love interest between Drake and Vivica that would be interesting to read about, but I’m glad that this book focused on her dealing with her pregnancy. As for the Christian message, it is obvious. Ben gives her a Bible, people pray, and Biblical lines are cited in the text. However, I didn’t feel it was overly "preachy." After all, issues like abortion and familial betrayal are universal. The First Principle would be popular among teen girls who love relatable characters and heart-pounding adventures.