Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider [Review]

The Beginning of Everything4.5 out of 5 Robots!

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release: August 27, 2013
Hardcover: 335 Pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I really really liked The Beginning of Everything.  First of all, Ezra has the exact wry, slightly sarcastic sense of humor that I love in a narrator.  There were times I literally laughed out loud and I don't usually do that.  We meet Ezra several months after a bad car accident that ends his high school tennis career.  Ezra was once one of the most popular kids at school, dating the most popular girl in school, and partying with his jock friends.  But now he struggles to fit in with that social circle again.  He can no longer play tennis and without his captain status, he loses connection with his former friends.  Now he is all broody and finds himself reconnecting with his childhood friend, Toby and his circle of debate team friends.  It is there that he meets Cassidy, who really opens his eyes to life outside of popularity, sports and their small town. 

What I really liked about this book was that Ezra was a character with a lot of depth.  Even when he reflects back on his former life and realizes how narrow his life was, you can tell that Ezra was never completely shallow.  But he still has a lot to learn and room to grow and I enjoyed seeing him pull out of his funk and "wake up" to the possibilities around him.  His relationship with Cassidy was sweet and exciting, but didn't play out the way I expected. 

My only complaint was that the popular kids were so stereotypical.  Dumb, loud partying jocks.  Mean, judging popular girls.  Ezra's ex-girlfriend is basically a Queen Bee caricature.  But I was willing to overlook the stereotypes in favor of the humor and other characters (who are fleshed out quite a bit more).

Overall, an excellent contemporary read.  I highly recommend it.

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