Once again I’m a little behind the times with the YA releases, but when I catch up it’s never a disappointment.
The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: HarperCollins – Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Pages: 335, Hardcover
Received Copy: Personal Library (purchased from EpicReads Story Crush Tour at B&N)
Synopsis (via Goodreads)
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
When the Story Crush tour made it’s way to my area, I went going into this to grab some great reads that I was finally ready to buy even though they’d been released for a while. In edition to getting a new book haul I was able to listen to the authors discuss a Q/A and their process through writing their novels promoted as well as writing in general. I paid attention to the advice and answers and remembered hearing Schneider mention severed heads, a silent dance party, and The Great Gatsby. That was all I knew going in but I walked away with much more.
Once I started reading I couldn’t really put it down. I enjoyed Ezra’s story and the twist in plot–what was refreshing is this felt like a really original story. Time after time I feel like the more I read, the typical similarities I notice in the books I choose. I really didn’t see the ending coming, maybe I just was being a naive reader, which I tend to be–getting mixed up in the story and the characters, swept away before I step back to see the big picture. I also could relate to the feelings Ezra was feeling throughout this time in his life. While our situations are different, Ezra feels stuck between his old life and his lack of new one and I found myself sympathizing with him in my real life now.
Things I liked:
Ezra was refreshing because he was honest. He saw bullshit for what it was and ended up finding his way. I loved that his character wasn’t typical. Recently there’s been discussion on Twitter about having more diversity in books and I couldn’t agree more. While Ezra was white, he was in an accident that set him a part from the norm he was used to. Think about the last time you read a book with a character that had a disability, a disease, a missing limb, blind, or deaf. Ezra’s accident left him at a disadvantage physically and that was nice to see. You read stories about perfect people all the time and you think nothing of it. While there was still a bunch that he could do, other simple tasks he could not. I also enjoyed his re-emergence into a great group of friends and remember who he was instead of who he used to be. Cassidy was unique and I liked her a lot. She was smart and a true individual, definitely enjoyable to read.
Again, while the storyline did have the usual character was cool now uncool and needs to find themselves, The Beginning of Everything put a different spin on things and taught us (well one of the fun things anyway) that never underestimate just how cool the dorky people seem. FYI the debate team tournament was epic and I clearly felt like I missed out on the fun when I was in high school by not joining. (Although I’m not very good at arguing so I would’ve been at a loss, but still!)
Oh my gosh guys, it’s so pretty! It’s more noticeable with the hard cover version after you remove the cover, just FYI. The roller coaster is the defining moment that helps Ezra rise in the ranks at school all for it to come down later in life but it was the moment that helped break apart a friendship that shouldn’t have disintegrated in the first place. I made an awesome discovery and was able to tweet to author Robyn Schneider about how the cover seems to be symbolic to where Gatsby is all throughout the novel. The roller coaster (see pic above) loops remind me of T.J. Eckleburg’s glasses that see all and are looming in The Great Gatsby story. Pretty cool, huh? Schneider seemed to see the symbolism too so I’m thinking this might not have been done on purpose, but it’s a really cool notion for the book!
There are some situations in the story that slightly creep past PG-13 and I loved that. The fade to black’s are so lame, BUT sometimes the graphic is not for everyone. While not graphic at all, the reader never truly experiences a fade to black without a healthy build up to the point. Another thing is the language. I went through a period in high school where I hated swearing but all my friends did. Now I curse like a sailor, but the language was authentic and I also loved the voice of Ezra. Written by a woman, I hardly noticed a difference, just that I was reading from a male POV. I’ve read a few stories where details are noted like type of shoes a female character is wearing or other name dropping that a guy just would not pay attention to even though as the author, you want to supply those details. Just another nice observation I had from the book 🙂
Overall the book is great and I’d definitely recommend it to to either own or borrow from a friend. I’d rather own it, personally, but I could see myself taking this book off my shelf and cracking it back open in a few months–a re-read novel definitely!
Later gators….and happy May, everyone–time just flies by these days!