Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

22 May, 2013 Reviews 10 comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn SchneiderThe Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Series: Standalone
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on August 27th 2013
Pages: 330
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon Good BooksBook 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?

Robyn 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 have never condoned person and book relationships due to the many detriments they bring with them. I’m talking a bunch of tiny paper cuts, all over your face. However, I believe the day has come for me to change my tune.

One of my absolute favourite things about this book was the attention to detail, all the little ornamental bits that made every paragraph delicious. It should be noted that this book contains:

  1. A dog that has the soul of Jay Gatsby
  2. A debate tournament dress code violation in the form of a Gryffindor sweater
  3. Numerous Doctor Who and other nerd culture references

It’s clear even from the small glimpse of Ezra’s life pre-accident that  he doesn’t exactly belong with his group of popular-jock friends. Even though Ezra spends the rest of the book attempting to discover who he is, his voice remains distinct throughout. He was reflective and cerebral, and his dry humour decorated the narration, making even the darkest parts of the book catch light just a little bit.

Not only was Ezra’s own voice sharp, the interactions with Toby and Phoebe and, of course, Cassidy were all brilliant. The characters in this book are for the most part fleshed out and on all parts entertaining.

Severed Heads and Broken Hearts (the original title) would have been an apt name for this book. Not only is it fitting within the context, it packs a swift and calculated punch. The Beginning of Everything, though dramatic and important, kind of falls flat in expressing how impacting this book manages to be.

The only thing that bothered me was the way the ‘popular kids’ were portrayed. In a book that demands for its characters to be examined complexly, I would have liked to see a bit more dimension in the tennis-team members and Ezra’s ex, Charlotte. Yes, they were more immature than Ezra and his friends, but it would have been interesting if they had been more than shallow. Instead they felt like props to belittle and demonize, as well as sources of painful quotes. “I mean like, don’t you want to be like everyone else?” Charlotte asks of Ezra.

Despite this, the Beginning of Everything is a thoughtful, observant and hilarious book that just might be worth enduring paper cuts to the face for.

Adrienne Fray

Adrienne Fray

Reviewer at Cuddlebuggery
Born and raised in the middle of a desolate expanse of prairie land, Adrienne has learnt quickly that there are only two options for a happy survival: read constantly, or become very, very bored. Find her on GoodReads.

10 Responses to “Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider”

  1. selselxu

    Severed Heads and Broken Hearts does sound like a better book title 🙂
    Erza sounds like a sweetheart! Lovely review, Adrienne 😀

  2. Danny_Bookworm

    I absofreaking looooved this book. It was so much and then some more! It was sweet and true and real and I loved it. 
    But, I agree with you the previous title did fit the story so much better ;( I foung it perfect, while I find the new one just OK ..

  3. Allie Christo

    I’ve heard such good things about this book, so I’m really glad you enjoyed it too. I’ll definitely be picking myself up a copy soon!
    (Don’t really don’t get why they changed the title though … Severed Heads and Broken Hearts sounds so much better)

  4. Shelver506

    You’re the second reviewer to completely go gaga over this book. Adding it to the TBR list ASAP.

  5. K blah blah

    Hey, great review. I understand and agree what you mean when writers one-dimensionalize the populars. It just seems either lazy writing to me or weak. I get that they’re attempting to elevate the “loser” and protagonist of the book but if his/her counterparts are hollow, it doesn’t say much about them, does it?

  6. veela_valoom

    Sounds good.  Haven’t read it, but in principle I agree about how writers tend to portray popular kids.

  7. Alex / AnimeGirl

    I really liked The Beginning of Everything, but I did like the original title better.
    Thought it was fun and thoughtful even though I never warmed to Cassidy – I don’t like people who push other people away just because they have suffered in the past.

    But I LOVED Toby and his friends – except for the mean one who treat his gf badly – they were smart and funny and sweet and supportive.
    Alex / AnimeGirl recently posted…Book Review: Her Favorite Temptation by Sarah MayberryMy Profile

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