- Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books
- Release Date : August 27th 2013
- Pages : 352
Synopsis: 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.
The Beginning of Everything tells the story of Ezra Faulkner, the popular high school tennis star with the perfect senior year in front of him. But it all falls to pieces in a moment when Ezra is hit by a car and left walking with a cane. Now, his girlfriend has left him, he doesn’t know how to relate to his friends and has resigned to spending his senior year alone. Then he is taken in by his neighbor, Toby, and along with a few quirky debate team members Ezra grows in ways he never expected.
I’ve been waiting on this book for a while. I was first introduced to Robyn Schneider through her YouTube channel RobynIsRarleyFunny. I liked her personality and how she straddled the line of beauty guru and nerdiness. And as a watched more videos where she discussed the book along with other personal anecdotes I found myself getting really excited for this release. And after finally getting my hands on an advanced copy, I have to say this book didn’t disappoint.
Ezra’s first-person narration is laid back and tinged with humor, making it very easy to slip in to, I found myself just flipping through the pages. Despite his injuries, Ezra still has remnants of being the popular, but modest good looking guy, and this perspective is not usually the one we get in YA
This novel also has a love interest in Cassidy Thorpe, the mysterious transfer student and former debate star, who takes Ezra under her wing when he finds himself on the debate team. I was concerned Cassidy would be a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but she completely steers clear of that trope and has problems of her own. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but I can honestly say I have never read a character written quite like her. In fact, by not making her a Manic Pixie it kind of made me see why we like Manic Pixies so much.
There are plenty of pop culture references to be had as well. Schneider is a commentator on a Dr. Who talk show, so there are quite a few Dr. Who references as well as very specific Harry Potter references and probably more that I didn’t even catch.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this book starts getting compared to John Green. If you are familiar with his work it’s hard not to think of his novels while reading this book. I mean when Cassidy discusses escaping the panopticon (the idea the entire world is a prison) it’s hard not to think of Miles and Alaska going to seek a great perhaps in Looking for Alaska. Or how when Cassidy talks about being misremembered it’s hard not to think about Margo and Q in Paper Towns and being misimagined.
This novel isn’t perfect. This book definitely screams “privilege” because all the characters are rich suburban kids who seem to live in a bubble. Not mention it is far from passing theBechdel Test because the named female characters in this book never speak to each other and (outside of Cassidy) are only identified as girlfriends to male characters And it is kind of hard to see those things in a book that at times can be very smart and witty. But, I don’t think that should diminish from the value of the actual story.
A witty contemporary with an endearing protagonist about the tragedies in life we see in front of us and the ones we never expect.
*ARC received from Book Expo America.