The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Title : The Beginning of Everything
Author : Robyn Schneider
Genre : Contemporary
Published Date : 
August 27th 2013
Pages : 335
Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
Source : Publisher, in exchange for a fair and honest review

From 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? 

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.


The first time I saw this book
—you know just how a cover-judger I am—it really didn't make me want to read it. But then again, it was like probably no secret anymore that I'm easily sold when there's this tag saying this book is a heart-wrenching, or thought-provoking, or something along that line. So when I read the blurb of this book and saw that shining golden line of "a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel", ha, yep, screw the cover. Read it right away.

And oh, by the way, when I got to read the book, I finally understood that the cover actually had more meaning to it than just an orange-y roller coaster.

"So who I was in the aftermath of my personal tragedy?"

The Beginning of Everything began with how Ezra Faulkner—the boy who ruled the Eastwood High and seemingly had it all—had an accident that broke his knee and took away his ability to play tennis ever again, and with it, all of his glory. But when his life seemed to fall out of place and every thing he had known became worthless, come the new girl Cassidy Thorpe to the never changing city of Eastwood, bringing her mystery along and took Ezra on her up and down. But what would become of the ex-king and the mysterious new girl, when Ezra realizes just how far Cassidy would take him under?

First of all, let me just tell you how super beautiful the writing of this book is. It was fun and hilarious, but still full of meaning behind it all. If I marked the pretty quote from this book while reading, it would probably be covered with Post-It all over it. Seriously, it's THAT beautiful.

One thing I also particularly notice was how distinct and captivating Ezra's voice is. His narration was humorous, sarcastic, easy to read, and yet really contains his personality. And although it was all seen from the eyes of a boy, I still found that the story was overall enjoyable.
His hurt pride of having the 'King' status forcibly taken from him was really believable too, make the reader feel what he felt, but without being cheesy or overly dramatic.

As a character, Ezra Faulkner was really well-developed, too. His action was reasonable, and he was not that type of character who did whatever-the-reader-would-love-me-to-do kind of thing, which really gave a nice touch of reality to this book.
One thing that I really couldn't understand, though, was how every single person in Eastwood High just seemed to want Ezra on their life. Like no matter how often and sudden he dumped his current gang, they would happily accept him back whenever he went back, even if he dumped the popular crew for the nerd, and vice versa. 
Like, man, feel a little betrayed, at the very least? That kind of 'I'll accept you back anytime' attitude never happens on real life. Ever.

Cassidy Thorpe—his counterpart—on the other hand, was really an intriguing character. Unfortunately, she turned into somewhat your typical girl in the middle of the story, and then transforming again into a selfish bitch nearing the end. I just really had this mixed feelings toward her, like I want to hug her and punch her at the same time. Because however bitchy she might had become, I think her character is just so solid that I couldn't bring myself to loath her but rather see her reasoning and agree with it. 
And that really broke my heart because I just loved Ezra and loved Cassidy as well and it just felt like :

In the end, I think Robyn Schneider did a great job with Cassidy's character and how she coped up with everything happening inside her small small world, and how Ezra react with it all and not turning all angsty and acted like his world end that very moment. Magnificent work there, Robyn.
Although some of the side characters, like Jill Nakamura, Sam, and a whole lot of the tennis and cheer squad, were just completely purposeless, in my opinion.

But although the narration and the characterization was great, what made this book lost its one last star was honestly its plot. Sure, the beginning was good and piqued my interest, but the middle part, unfortunately, was sagging a lot and just seemingly aimless. One thing didn't affect another, and it just felt like a bunch of random scene being glued together, and then was put there in the middle of it all.

Fortunately, though, the story picked its pace up again later, and although the ending was not at all satisfying, I do still think it was beautifully realistic, and showed us how Ezra truly changed and finally grew out of his teenage's indecisiveness and found where he belongs after all.

Overall, The Beginning of Everything was quite a nice read for me. With its strong characterization, captivating narration, and the realistic story, I think this book would appeal to all of you who love reading contemporary story that was not all bubbly and happy, but rather thought-provoking and meaningful.

Cheers, x

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  1. i love this book! robyn scheneider just writes beautifully!

  2. Aha, same for me. The cover is pretty off-putting, yellow kind of gives me a headache. Sounds like an emotional read with awesome writing! I'm glad you liked it so much!

  3. I love how your review says everything I wanted to say about the book. I didn't understand how so many people missed how awesome it was. The yellow cover I think is awesome. It's out of the ordinary and really caught my attention.

    1. Yep, I was kinda reluctant to try it because I've seen many 1-2-3 stars ratings on GR, but glad I did! Thank you Chanpreet!

  4. I loved being in Ezra's head! It was such a fun time to experience everything from his point of view, as someone who's used to being popular but then 'fell' & 'kicked away' from his throne. The book was such a pleasant read for me, if only the ending would turn out the other way... Heheh :P

    1. I hope so too .__. But oh well, maybe that's the lesson :D

  5. HELLO NEYSA!! :D *waves* so good to see you're back to posting again!! <3 Miss your reviews so much hehe ;p

    Don't worry, I wasn't particularly interested in this book either. I mean, when I saw it for the first on someone else's blog, I just scrolled through the rest of the page because of how dull and unattractive the cover was/is for me! >< Now that I've seen glowing reviews for it all over the place, perhaps I'll just give it a shot even though it's not my type of read -- who knows I might like it anyway? ;)

    1. Hey Kezia!! *Ways too excited* *hug*

      You should! This turns out to be a good book :)
      I particularly gave this book a try because it's not your usual happy-bubbly-giggly-wtv kind of contemporary, and I love that kind of story! :D

  6. I completely agree with your review! I loved the writing and Ezra was amazing and we can't forget Toby, Ezra's AWESOME best friend (who needs his own book, honestly). I never really liked Cassidy and she annoyed me so much that I actually rated it 3.5 stars instead of the rightful 4 it probably deserves. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it and great review! :)

  7. Overall this sounds like a great book with interesting characters. I am especially interested in finding out how the cover ties into the story. Thanks for sharing! :)

  8. Hi Neysa! Just like you, the cover of the book didn't really caught my attention but the phrase "lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel" did. So i might give this book a try ;) Great review btw, it made me want to read the book right away.

    1. Hi Anj! Thankies :D And yep, you totally should. The story really live up to the "Lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching" sentence!


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