written by Robyn Schneider
published August 27th 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
genre Young Adult/Contemporary/Coming of Age/Romance
read in English/
originally titled as Severed Heads, Broken Hearts
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?
"We move through each other's lives like ghosts, leaving behind haunting memories of people who never existed. The popular jock, the mysterious new girl. But we're the one who choose, in the end, how people see us."
Ezra Faulkner was the 'it' guy, the guy you would exactly want to date in high school: A popular jock who's also the captain of a team (tennis varsity, in this case), President of Junior Class, hanging with the popular crowd... And you would want to be the popular girl she's dating. But it was all in the past, before an accident left Ezra with a shattered knees and removed all the dreams he had.
Now Ezra's suffering in silence. He sees himself as the one whose life is screwed by the tragedy; having to use a crane to walk, not talking and keeps avoiding his old buddies, fired from the tennis varsity team, cheated by his girlfriend, and all. It's horrible. All those big plans he had about getting a scholarship for college is no longer exists. He used to had all his life planned ahead, now it's all just a fragment of memory. Ezra is no longer the guy who has high confidence and happy, he's now quiet, has a lot of insecurities about himself, and feeling sad pretty much all the time.
At this time Toby, a guy who used to be Ezra's bestfriend in the past (before Toby's own tragedy strikes) comes and invites Ezra into his own crowd: the debate team. Then Ezra meets Cassidy, the girl whom then he fall in love with. Being in Ezra's head is kinda depressing since he's full of these negative vibes directed toward himself, so reading about how he falls in love with Cassidy was a relief. They do many things together, one of my favorite part was when Cassidy took him sneaking into a university class unnoticed. This experience ended up with Ezra's feeling 'freshened' and I love reading what he thought about it.
"I've never been walked out of a classroom with my mind racing with what I'd learned, and I wanted to savor the feeling as long as possible. It was as though my brain was suddenly capable of considering the world with far more complexity, as though there was so much more to see and do and learn."
I know how much fun college could be, Ezra, I know! ;)
The first pages of The Beginning of Everything was truly enjoyable. Robyn Schneider didn't waste much time to laid out the problems, and she mastered the art of writing a story from a high school boy's point of view excellently; not once I ever stopped for a moment feeling that this isn't how a boy supposed to think! No. Ezra's voice, eventhough like I said above, kinda depressing at times, but also believable, full of charm, witty and likeable (On another note, he reminds me a lot of John Green's characters. Particularly Looking for Alaska's Pudge). I instantly understand how easy it was for Ezra to be the it guy, because everyone who know this guy will simply love him. He's clearly the main factor that made reading The Beginning of Everything fun.
Moving on to the middle part, though the book talks a lot about tragedies and the horrible turnout of events it usually comes up with, The Beginning of Everything does not focus much on the angsty side, so it was all good. It's the book that makes you reflect on your own high school days, of how was it like, being on the popular side, or sitting on the geeks' table... Did you have enough fun? Have you done all the things you wanted to do as a teenager?
The romance side was okay for me. Cassidy, being this quirky, energetic and mysterious girl, was described by Ezra as 'full of riddles and quotes'. I enjoyed all the parts where their friendship developed into something more, then the days of them being a couple. They're lovely together. But as a character, I honestly dislike Cassidy. She's confusing and quite infuriating with all the push and pull attitude. The mysterious side of her is tiring, I kept wishing that Ezra would just leave thegirl to herself. Ugh! Seriously. There were actually times where I just wanted to slap and strangle this girl sooo much. But then other awesome secondary characters (i.e Toby, Phoebe) made it up with their appearance throughout the book.
"I can't decide whether you're just crazy, a liar, or someone who likes hurting people. You're all riddles and quotes and you can't give me a straight answer about anything and I'm tired of waiting for you to realize that you owe me one."
I was not satisfied with the ending. At all. At first I was furious and I was like, ugh I've read the book for nothing! But then again, the more I keep thinking about it, the more I like how Robyn Schneider ended the book as it is. What's important was how the tragedy, its aftermath, and how all the characters in the book helped Ezra to discover his real self, to review his goals and finally settled with this understanding of how he's the one who can handle his own life; how did he want to be defined by other people, how he sees himself.
All in all, The Beginning of Everything is much more than a book about romance. The self-growth of Ezra is an amusing journey to follow; I really like being inside his head. It's a story about reconnecting with people, creating new experiences and relationships, finding the strength to change our life, dealing with the tragedy of your life and recovering from it. Furthermore, self-respect. Appreciate and give more credits to your ownself. For a debut, The Beginning of Everything is great, eventhough without a satisfying resolution. You love reading John Green's book or other books that has a teenage boy as its main character? High school story? Coming of age? Try reading this one! ;)
“Oscar Wilde once said that to live is the rarest thing in the world, because most people just exist, and that’s all. I don’t know if he’s right, but I do know that I spend a long time existing, and now, I intend to live.”
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Still unconvinced enough? Compare my review about The Beginning of Everything with what others have said about the book:
Ally on Goodreads
Lauren from Love is not a Triangle
Have you read the book? Or do you have it on your to-be-read list? What do you think about Ezra? Did you find it hard to like Cassidy as well? Let's talk!
See you in other reviews! Have fun and read some more ;)