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review 2015-09-30 08:41
The Beginning of Everything/Robin Schneider
The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider

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.


I absolutely adored this book, its characters, and how they evolved.


This was a love story, but it was also a character-driven tale of self-discovery and understanding what one really looks for in life.


Ezra is going down as one of my favourite YA narrators yet. He's quirky and fun, likable but real. He has his own little mantras, such as his thoughts on personal tragedies, that recur in a way that sometimes makes me shake my head in amusement but are enjoyable and touching.


He leaves his comfort zone and continues to live after his accident that would leave some people unwilling to leave their room. I was constantly impressed by how he just got up and kept going, and I related to his stubborn pride that had him late to classes as he limped.


I loved that Ezra's disability didn't become the only factor of him, yet how at the same time it wasn't forgotten--Schneider slipped it into small moments that made it feel very real.


All of the characters in this book were interesting and memorable. From Ezra's parents to his old group of friends to a younger girl in his new group of friends, I could see everyone having their own life and their own story separate to Ezra's. I enjoyed Toby especially and his good humoured personality.


The ending was gorgeously written, perfectly real, and made my heart clench into a million pieces.


I highly recommend this book as a tale of growing up and really discovering who you are.

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review 2015-06-19 20:13
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider

I had really high hopes for this book. I can’t exactly pinpoint exactly what it was that made me think this was going to be really awesome. It could be the cover, which I try not to fall for, or the comparison to John Green. Whatever it was, I was really looking forward to The Beginning of Everything. Unfortunately it wasn’t all I had hoped it would be.

First, something about it made me think that it’s going to be super funny. It was, just not as funny as I thought it would be. Ezra had jokes, he was witty and he had a sarcasticness to him that I liked but it didn’t make the book less tedious, and it was tedious. I felt like the writing was all about trying to be smart, but what it ended up being was a little bit boring.

Also, while I did like Ezra and thought he was funny, I did not like Cassidy at all. Here’s the thing, she was a bitch. Yes, very clearly she had a secret. Something happened to her, and you can tell she’s haunted by it. Whatever. It doesn’t change the fact that she wasn’t a very good person. Even before she switches to Ezra’s school, back when Toby knew her as a girl at the debate competitions, she was described as flighty and that she was known for breaking hearts. Then, multiple times throughout the book, she just really grated on my nerves. Honestly, I just didn’t get it because while Ezra was maybe a little shallow, he was obviously nice. He didn’t hold grudges, he knew when he was being a dick and he’d apologize for it. He deserved someone nice too, and if I had written The Beginning of Everything I know who I would have picked.

What I did love, and why I gave this a C+, was Toby. He was such a good friend. It didn’t matter what had happened in the past. He didn’t harbor any deep seated anger, although anyone would understand if he did. He was just there, to help Ezra after his tragedy, as though they had always remained best friends. I would have loved if the author had focused on the friendship in the book, rather than a contrived romance. There was so much untapped story there, and one that deserved more time.

I’d read a book that focused on Ezra and Toby.


See this review, and others, at Badass Book Reviews!

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review 2015-03-28 00:00
The Beginning of Everything
The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider OMG THE FEELS.

This was the second book I’ve read from Robyn Schneider, the first one being Extraordinary Means which won’t come out until May 2015, and I’m really amazed by the way she writes. When I read the ARC of Extraordinary Means last year, I told myself Robyn has to be an auto-buy author for me. This novel just solidified that fact more.

This book tells the story of Ezra Faulkner, one of the most popular boys in their school and how he fell in love with Cassidy Thorpe, the new girl.

This book hit me just right in the feels. Robyn Schneider writes amazingly realistic fiction. It’s very relatable, funny and heartwarming. It’s as if she really understand teenagers, which is really a good thing.

Ezra was a very likeable and relatable character, despite his flaws and I’m not talking about his physical flaws. He might be an asshole but he really was kind and funny most of the time. He’s got an awesome sense of humor, especially the puns. His relationships with most people were unpredictable but once he realized who his true friends were, it solidifies. I also love the fact that he has a dog, Cooper, because I love dogs. I really enjoyed it when it seemed like Cooper was communicating to him with his eyes and Ezra’s trying to voice it into his head with Cooper sounding like Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. And no, I so did not imagine Leo DiCaprio as a dog. Okay… maybe a little…

Cassidy was the kind of girl that could easily be my best friend. I love her to pieces. She was really interesting, especially during the first parts of the book where Ezra got to meet her. She seemed weird and awkward but I think it’s pretty normal for someone who just transferred school. I love her wits and her sense of humor as well. The kind of friendship she had with Toby and the others, including Ezra, was really great.

The other characters weren’t flat. I love that they’re given enough dimension and exposure to not be considered as minor. Toby, Ezra’s best friend, was pretty funny as well. So were Austin, Phoebe and Luke. Their gang actually reminded me of my high school friends. I also love the fact that they’re on the debate team and the fact that they do love to geek out. I loved the Harry Potter and Doctor Who references, and possibly a huge Vampire Weekend one because the band was mentioned twice and the main character shares the same name as the band’s frontman. AND I DO LOVE VAMPIRE WEEKEND.

I loathed Charlotte’s character because I do HATE bitches with all my pure heart. She’s unnerving and I want to poke her eyes out with her own fingernails. Really, props to Robyn for effective writing. As for the other “jocks” most of them were just pretty much dumb assholes which I found actually pretty funny.

The story was really appealing and heartfelt. I read this one in less than 24 hours which wasn’t really surprising because I basically devoured Robyn’s other book. I have to admit though that the ending wasn’t really solid for me but the entirety of the book helped overcome that one. The book was very interesting, relatable, realistic and yes, heartbreaking. I am definitely looking forward to more of Robyn’s works.
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review 2014-10-05 21:38
The Beginning of Everything
The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider

“Tell me, what is it you plan to with your one wild and precious life?”

There are a few moments in this book that I can walk away with and this is one of them. Cassidy tries to get Ezra, 17 to recreate his own life into something that he can call his own. After his accident, he needs to make his own statement. Ezra feels that everyone has a personal tragedy just waiting to happen and Ezra’s car accident was the event that changed his life. Adjusting to life without sports and walking with a cane, Ezra throws his past friendships away. No longer the guy who lites up the room, nor the jr. class president or the sports team captain, he is just Ezra, the guy who almost got killed. The way he ignored his friends really irritated me. These friendships which he has had for many years, he allows them to slip between the cracks without acknowledging them because of his anger and irritation. Not wanting a pity party, he casts them out yet he stares at them from a distance, it’s as though he still longs to be a part of them. He connects with an old childhood friend and Ezra realizes that this friendship had never died, which I thought was remarkable considering how he never nurtured it. These two boys were in totally different circles before the accident and now they reconnect. As he clings to this new set of friends, I want to think that he is creating friendships but his eyes are still set on his previous friends, the group of jocks which he knows his legs will never be able to compete with again. I wish this struggle was written more clearly and developed as it would have made the story more interesting. Ezra also struggles with girls, both before and after the incident and I had issues with how he connects with them. He longs to move forward with Cassidy yet Charlotte is still in the picture which drove me insane after everything he endures with Charlotte. Cassidy herself, I couldn’t handle this girl. She’s new to the area and even in the end after the dance and the story she told Ezra, I still couldn’t stand the girl. She could have had everything yet I couldn’t understand why she chooses the life she is leading.

I really thought Ezra would have this light bulb moment where things would click and he would wake up to his own senses. There were times when the light would flick and he would get something and then, he would understand something but I don’t think he really understood it enough to do anything. I was disappointed in this one.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-09-20 18:04
The Beginning of Everything [Robyn Schneider]
The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider

This book isn't normally something I would read, but I ended up really liking it.  I tend to dislike Young Adult novels, so I avoid them just to spare myself the annoyance.  I'm kind of afraid to review this book at all, since the parts I remember the best are the ending which would really spoil the book.  


I'm not sure I liked the whole tragedy theme, although that was very dramatic and made sense given that this is from the point of view of a teenager.  I did like Cassidy's point about everyone's life being a tragedy, since a Shakespearean tragedy is a play that ends with a funeral. At the same time, it's not really fair to call everyone's life tragedy - yeah, everyone dies but you can't live your life like your waiting for the end (which is a point Ezra makes).  



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