I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 8/27/2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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.
\r\nNo 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.\r\n\r\nBut 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?\r\n\r\nRobyn 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.
I adored this book. My words do not do it justice, but it is the epitome of classic YA literature and I think everyone should read it. And I’ll tell you why right now.
You will identify with every character inside these pages because some part of them is/was you in high school.
Most YAs are told from the female perspective, and let’s be honest: YA has a mostly female demographic, too. But in The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, the first-person narrative is told from a male protagonist’s point of view and it is done well. I identified with Ezra’s trials and tribulations, even if I am a girl. His problems are gender-neutral and easy to relate with. As is he. He just wants acceptance, from others and himself, but what he doesn’t realize is, for others to accept you, you have to accept yourself first.
You will learn that happiness cannot be measured.
All of the characters in The Beginning of Everything struggle to find happiness in physical forms and objects. Ezra’s struggle with happiness begins in the very first chapter when his best friend suffers a personal tragedy, which in turn affects the future of their friendship. Cassidy Thorpe, Ezra’s love interest, struggles to find a way past her own grief. Even Ezra’s best friend, who surprisingly is very carefree despite the tragic first chapter, struggles to accept himself, although he was probably the character who was the most honest with him- or herself in the novel.
My favorite quote even talks about happiness as a measurement in the beginning of chapter 6:
If everything really does get better, the way everyone claims, then happiness should be graphable. You draw up an X axis and a Y axis, where a positive slope represents a positive attitude, plot some points, and there you go. But that’s crap, because better isn’t quantifiable.
And I get it. I’ve lived by this my whole life: Happiness is in the heart, not the circumstance. It cannot be measured.
There is something about old dogs that tugs at the heart. Ezra’s old poodle, Cooper, might be the best dog ever, for standing by his master when he’s down and out, and being his last protector. I cried a little for that dog.
This book is FUNNY. Seriously laugh-out-loud funny. Ezra’s nerdy friends, as well as Ezra and Cassidy have great one-liners and witty banters back and forth, sometimes they are quite mean, but the humor lends a brevity to this serious book that made me snicker many many times. I love all characters who make me laugh.
Everyone in life is connected, somehow. I wish I could explain this without giving away the plot, but let’s just say that it sort of reminded me of the movie CRASH, and when you read it, you will understand. It reminds you that your life can also change in an instant. Like so many of these characters’ lives did.
Basically what I’m saying is, the plot is fantastic, the characters are realistic and this book earns five stars from me.