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Monday, September 30, 2013

ARC Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

There are moments when you just know you're in for a great read with a mere glance of a book's first sentence.
This is one of those times.
It was love at first line.

Title: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Release Date: August 27th 2013
Published by: Katherine Tegen
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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?

A single moment can change everything. A tragedy can change lives forever.

Ezra Faulkner was your resident golden boy, good looks, good grades, great family. But all of that was before the accident, before he found out that he needed a cane to walk, before he had to give up playing tennis. Now hanging out with his usual crowd doesn't feel right anymore. Being homecoming king suddenly feels irrelevant, being popular felt like an unusual idea. In his search to find out just who Ezra is post accident, he crosses paths with his childhood friend Toby, who himself faced a tragedy of his own early in life, and his unlikely circle of friends. Then there's Cassidy Thorpe. She was like someone from a dream, smart, full of life and infinitely interesting. With Toby and Cassidy, Ezra's life was starting to take a bright, new shape, one filled with new adventures, opportunities and friendships that seemed impossible before. But as Ezra continue to fall for the mysterious Cassidy, the secrets and intrigue that seems to accompany her was starting to feel like another tragedy waiting to happen.

I will never get tired of saying this: Ezra has a great, strong voice. Throughout the novel, I absorbed each and every word he uttered, every thought of his. I never got tired just listening and feeling everything his character had to give and present to a reader. For a golden boy who should have sounded shallow given the initial set-up of his character, the depth of his personality is a surprise. The struggle he poses felt real at the very least, palpable and relatable at most. As much as I wanted to pity him, I found myself urging Ezra to be strong, because if there was anyone who could get through that one moment of tragedy to start anew, it was him.

Like Ezra, intrigue was what I felt when I encountered Cassidy Thorpe. In a sense, she was different. Smart, eloquent, deep, fascinating. Cassidy had a fresh, unusual take in life that attracts Ezra. Where Ezra's life revolves on parties and tennis games, Cassidy takes parts on debates and attends college lectures she's not even enrolled at. There were moments where I felt she was so real, so fascinating and so quaint. She was like a rollercoaster ride, with dips and high points, thrills and lulls. She's a joy to read, like a slice of happiness with a certain piece of sadness attached to it. She was the missing piece that completes a puzzle, but not Ezra's.

Toby was twelve when he faced tragedy in the face, quite literally. His quirks are what made me love him, and the fact that even though he and Ezra drifted apart as they grew up, he was there ready to be his friend all over again. Toby's quips and random musings always manage to make me laugh. He makes everything bearable because despite not being popular or school royalty, he knew how to have fun in his own geeky way. Along with Phoebe, Luke, Sam and Austin, they represent the misfits, with oddities and flaws that endears them to the readers in their own unique way. They were the kids you notice for not being part of the normal crowd, but are fascinating in their own way once you get to know them. They were my crowd, my kind of people.

The bittersweet romance that transpired between Ezra and Cassidy, as well the truths and lies that binds them both was worth the read. What happened to both of them felt right, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Life doesn't always turn out the way we want it to be and that's exactly what happened to them. Where one was urging the other to break out of the cage that confined him to a world that doesn't fit him anymore, the other could not break out of her own, trapped in a world full of regrets, pain and sadness even she couldn't escape.

There's a lyrical, almost painful feeling inserted in parts of Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything. There was no need to use big words to express and pass on to the readers Ezra's feelings: regrets, sadness, loneliness, confusion, envy, wonderment, hate, love. The smooth, simple way the story was presented was enough to speak to the readers. It's such an interesting part of reading, always, to find out just how much lesson a story conveys, and Robyn Schneider's story drove several points home. Do we let a single tragedy define us for life? Where does one find the courage to start over and find one's self again? How good is being normal? Can you be different and still live a life filled with things that can make you whole? Ezra's story answered these questions and tells the reader something more.

Severed Heads and Broken Hearts, they were the perfect words one can use to describe, in essence, what this novel is all about and yet readers can still find something more in it. Something profound that can coax emotions that's sad and happy, good and bad, the what ifs, the whys and why nots, the realization that even though tragedy can change a person's life, there's bound to be at least one person who will cross your life and help you change it in a way you never expected it to be. Sometimes they stay, and sometimes, they don't.

Once in a while there comes a novel that just speaks to you unlike any other story you've read. The Beginning of Everything is that kind of book. I do not even need to recommend this to readers as much as I did for other books. When you come across this book and the urge to read hits you, remember that Robyn Schneider created a masterpiece worthy of reading. What beautiful story telling from Robyn Schneider!

My rating:

Content (plot, story flow, character):
I love this book, period. It got me out of my reading slump and it gave me one of the best reads I've had this year. I want more for Ezra. More. But what this book taught me was that sometimes it's better to let go. Sometimes we have to venture out on our own and be brave enough to discover what's in store for us after the hardships life has thrown our way. There's a deep lesson or two underlying somewhere in this story, you just need to discover it and see what it tells you after you've read it.

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
Don't get me wrong, I love this cover and it shows one of the moments that started everything in Ezra's life, but I still adore the previous cover more than this one.



    1. Girl, I'm waiting for your review! Post it, ASAP! :)

  2. This sounds so amazing. I can't wait to read it.
    Dog Breeds

  3. Awesome review! I haven’t heard of this book, but I’ll be sure to add it to my TBR pile. :)

    Andy @ Owl Always Be Reading

  4. "Love at first line" is a great descriptor! I think I fell for the writing of this book pretty fast too-really enjoyed reading it and hope for more from Schneider.

  5. I enjoyed this book but not much as you did. Great review :)

  6. Great! Inspiring! Eye opening!

    This book is an all around gem. The only issue I had was with Cassidy- I found her attitude to be off putting at times (even after knowing the ending, I still think some of it was... just not right). Anyhow, loved this book!

  7. I think Robyn Scheineider needs to give John Green writing tips when it comes to effectively used humor. I loved this novels and I am actually sad I did not read this duri ya holiday break because I sacrificed a few hours of sleep.


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