330 pages // e-galley from Edelweiss (thank you!)
Published August 27, 2013 by Katherine Tegen
BOOKSTORE: The Book Depository • Amazon
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?
Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.
It's no secret that I'm not a die-hard fan of contemporaries, but yet, Robyn Schneider's debut called to me. Maybe it was because it sounded so different from the usual "girl meets boy, they fall in love, drama, drama, drama" plot we see so often nowadays. Or maybe it was its previous title, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, that caught my attention (I'm kind of sad they renamed it), but either way - The Beginning of Everything was a humorous, emotional, and totally unexpected read. I loved every bit of it!
Ezra Faulkner used to be the king of his school - until he caught his girlfriend cheating on him and left a party, only to come face to face with his own tragedy. A car slams into his, shattering his knee and ruining his athletic career forever. Now an outcast, he finds friendship in his ex-best friend Toby, the debate team, and the beautiful Cassidy Thorpe. The only problem is that life isn't quite done with him yet.
This book. This book. It was amazing. It left me speechless. It left me positively reeling. From the storyline, to the characters, and down to the dialogue, Robyn Schneider crafted a story that anyone will find easy to connect to - even though it's narrated by a guy! I thought that Schneider did a wonderful job with Ezra. He wasn't a bad boy (as authors sometimes feel the need to do to their male characters), but his narrative was as realistic as male narrations get. In fact, The Beginning of Everything had a very Perks of Being a Wallflower feel to it. Both Ezra and Charlie have similar problems, and both find solace in the outcasts of the school. And though their voices were quite similar, never once did I get the two confused. One of the reasons why he's such a likable character is because he's a Harry Potter fan:
Begging my mom to take us to Barnes and Noble at midnight to get the latest Harry Potter book and promising we wouldn't stay up all night reading but doing anyway.
"Not at all, I just don't get how the Arch Alchemist became mortal all of a sudden."
"Because he split his soul into seven pieces and hid them all over Justice City," Toby retorted.
"You turned our comic book into a Harry Potter rip-off?" I spluttered.
Next is Cassidy, the love interest and also the center of the book. Her intelligence is actually apparent, and better still, she's another HP lover!
"Is that a Gryffindor tie?" I asked.
"And an official Harry potter Merchandise sweater-vest," she confirmed smugly.
She's also full of wit:
"I'll send you secret messages," she promised. "In Morse code. With my Hello Kitty flashlight."
"Wait," Cassidy persisted. "About what I said yesterday? I didn't know. God, you must hate me. Go ahead, I give you permission to aim an invisible crossbow at my heart."
"What's your fourth period?" I asked, filling the silence.
"Speech and Debate." Her lip curled, as though she'd gotten stuck with the class like I had.
"Me too. Listen, you should go ahead.
"And let you take that invisible crossbow and aim it at my back?" she scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous."
And so we were late together.
These quotes don't really show how complex Cassidy's character is, but trust me when I say that the romance between her and Ezra was swoon-worthy. They have so much chemistry that it wasn't hard at all to root for them.
I also mentioned that this book was unexpected. It was, in many ways. Ezra turned out to be nothing like I expected, and the turn of events toward the end caught me by surprise. I might have even shed a tear or two after the book ended, because there's just no letting go of characters who've wormed their way into your heart like Ezra and Cassidy and Toby did.
There's no denying that Robyn Schneider's writing is full of humor and quip, and her debut was undoubtedly one of best contemporaries I've read, ever. If you're like me, and have always preferred science-fiction or fantasy or paranormal over contemporary, then The Beginning of Everything is a book that won't disappoint you. If you're a contemporary fan, then this is a must-read! This is definitely a book you want in your life.