Review: The Beginning of Everything

Monday, April 13, 2015
Title: The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Synopsis 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.

My Thoughts

My return from my reading slump started with Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything. It narrates the story of Ezra Faulkner, former star tennis player and golden boy, whose life changes when he gets into a car accident that renders him injured and unable to play. Suddenly, he doesn't know where he belongs anymore. Is he really still part of the cool kids? Or is he better off with his former best friend Toby, the debate team, and even Cassidy Thorpe, the strange, quirky new girl with a tragedy of her own?

Ezra is, if anything, a really admirable character. I felt for him, how devastating it must have been to just lose everything that you’ve been working for in one night, and it’s great that he survived, but what’s even greater is how he used what he faced as an avenue to really find himself and not just let other people’s expectations control how he lives his life. I love that he made something positive of what he experienced, that he actually started questioning his life and making changes for his own happiness.

He fits well with Cassidy, who I like for her quirkiness and her general lack of care for what other people think. It's hard to trust her because it becomes pretty obvious that she’s hiding something, but despite that, I still felt really bad for her in the end. I guess that’s the thing about her—even without meaning to, you find yourself caring about her more than you thought you could.

The rest of the characters are stereotypical—the jocks, the geeks, all that stuff—but I have to say that I really adore Toby and how he is so accepting of Ezra even long after they grew apart. He’s that friend who’s always got your back, and I’m glad that Ezra has someone like that.

I don’t think the plot is exactly new, but Schneider’s good writing pulled me right in anyway. I enjoyed hearing the story in Ezra’s voice; it’s surprisingly believable, and the puns every once in a while are fun, too. I was expecting that Cassidy would have this big revelation of her secret, but I admit that her tragedy still took me by surprise. What really stuck with me, though, is the ending. Some may find it a bit disappointing or even sad, but I personally love it—its message is different from other books I’ve read (or at least I think so), and it’s what makes me like this novel so much more.

The Beginning of Everything isn’t perfect, but it’s worth the read. It talks about life, loss, and the idea that even the worst of tragedies might just help bring out the best in us.

My Rating


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