Book Review: The Beginning of Everything

About the Book:

Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.
Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.
As Kirkus Reviews said in a starred review, "Schneider takes familiar stereotypes and infuses them with plenty of depth. Here are teens who could easily trade barbs and double entendres with the characters that fill John Green's novels."
Funny, smart, and including everything from flash mobs to blanket forts to a poodle who just might be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby, The Beginning of Everything is a refreshing contemporary twist on the classic coming-of-age novel—a heart-wrenching story about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

About the Author:

Robyn Schneider is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She lives in LA, California, but also on the internet. You can follow her on YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Review:

Seventeen year old golden boy Ezra Faulkner’s life is thrown into turmoil after he meets with a tragedy and has to give up his dream of playing tennis in college. But he believes that everyone has this tragedy after which things that truly matter start happening to them. For his estranged best friend, Toby Ellicott, it was when they were in the seventh grade. A severed head became what was the undoing of his and Toby’s friendship.

Of course in light of his recent tragedy, golden boy get usurped from his throne, has to watch his ex-girlfriend get together with one of his best friends, and starts feeling like a fish out of the sea in a world that used to be familiar to him.

Ezra’s accident leaves him with a limp and the need to depend on a cane. And while his entire world gets plunged in darkness and gloom, Cassidy Thorpe enters his life like the shining beacon of hope. Only she is just as much an enigma. The only thing they know about her is that she had transferred from a prestigious boarding school, and once a champion debater, had dropped that completely from her life. As fate would have it, Ezra and Cassidy end up with the same elective – you guessed it, debating!

I honestly do not understand why there’s such a lot of hate towards this book. It surely isn’t for everyone and there are complaints about the book being too slow. But that’s how it is when it’s the story of two extremely broken people trying to find their way into the light. Only, one of them never lets on they’re broken. They don’t want to get help or get better. They keep people at an arm’s length forever.

Ezra’s story was heartbreaking but I will admit this was one of the first young adult novels that I’ve read that didn’t make me breakdown and cry. It made me sigh, turn to the next page and end the book with a lot of hope for a better tomorrow. While I realize that this is not a story that will resonate with everyone, I like how the author tries to convey through the story that our personal tragedies do not have become the definitions of ourselves. It is part of who we are and it will certainly shape who we would become. But it doesn’t have to be the only thing about you.

Give this book a fair chance. And try not to read it when you’re already mesmerized by other series. It deserves its own time and headspace to be read.

Get your copy here:

Favourite Quotes:

“You see? You're just figuring it out now, but I discovered a long time ago that the smarter you are, the more tempting it is to just let people imagine you. 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 ones who choose, in the end, how people see us. And I'd rather be misremembered. Please, Ezra, misremember me.”
― Robyn Schneider, The Beginning of Everything

“I wondered what things what things became when you no longer needed them, and I wondered what the future would hold once we'd gotten past our personal tragedies and proven them ultimately survivable.”
― Robyn Schneider, The Beginning of Everything