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review 2014-03-15 16:52
Where It Began- Ann Redisch Stampler
Where It Began - Ann Redisch Stampler

This is one of those books where the protagonist wakes up after a car crash with amnesia and has to figure out what happened. Except in this case, she's in denial about what actually happened the night of the crash even as the clues pile up. It's psychologically interesting, if predictable. I loved Gabby's voice and her passion for art as well as her realistic, frightening low self-esteem and the whole plotline about her "drinking problem," which has several twists. Very well-done.


Sigh that the Indian girl is the one with caricature-like uber-strict parents, although to be fair Gabby's other friend is a white born-again Christian with the same problem. I really liked the depiction of the stupid, frustratingly dense, but sweet and basically moral Andi and the driven Huey, who finally reveals the brutal truth to Gabby.



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review 2012-02-16 00:00
Where It Began - Ann Redisch Stampler I was truly suffering from a brain funk after finishing Where it Began. It wasn’t that the book was complicated, so I had a lot to get my head around. But it was just the long winded path the book well more specifically the main character Gabby took to finally discovering the truth! Seriously Gabby kind of made your head spin in exasperated circles.Gabby wakes up near the remains of her boyfriend Billy’s battered car with no recollection of how she got there, when in hospital she still can’t remember a thing, it takes her a while for things to slowly make sense. She was driving and ended up slamming into a tree and smacking her head. Her blood level showed she was way over the limit and consequently the smack to her head has left her with retrograde amnesia. The only thing that she remembers was that Billy Nash her boyfriend was with her in the car, but she doesn’t know what happened to him after that. Did he manage to escape? Is he hurt? Is he still alive? No one’s telling her anything, her mum just flips her off, and she won’t let her friends come to visit her either. She’s more concerned with making sure Gabby’s looking perfect physically, not the least concerned about her mental state. On top of all that Gabby also has the police breathing down her neck.I really enjoy reading books dealing with memory loss, I’ve come across some okayish ones in the past but Where it Began started really well. You’re thrown head first into Gabby suffering from a head trauma, and you have all these questions flying all over the place, what are they not telling Gabby? Where’s Billy? Is the fact that he’s not got in contact with her and everyone’s tight lipped about him mean he’s dead? Why’s Gabby’s mum so selfish? Will we ever find out what really happened? Would Gabby get her memory back?Despite starting off well, I had several problems with this book and thus my 2 star rating. Initially the book had the constant need to flit back and forward between time spans, so one minute you’re in hospital with Gabby, the next she’s recalling a memory of when she first started dating Billy and then you’re thrown back into the hospital and then back into the past, and so on, at times it was utterly mind boggling. I know it was there to establish the back story about Gabby’s huge make-over; finally becoming noticed, becoming part of the popular crowd and everything she remembered up until the accident. But at times I really wanted to shout would you please get on with it! I really didn’t give a toss about the back story; I just wanted to know what really happened. It was also hugely frustrating when Gabby kept constantly yammering off the point. However what truly grated me about Gabby’s character was her infatuation with Billy. It’s like she had blinkers on throughout the entire book he was loving, caring, good-looking, everything he said was right, he was doing everything for her, basically she thought he was perfect. I don’t know if when Gabby banged her head that she knocked the part of her head which was for common sense too, but ugh some of the drivel she spouted about Billy I really wanted to slap some sense into her. Gabby’s parents were also another major annoyance in this book, like seriously does no child have decent parents anymore? Gabby’s mum Vivian honestly made my blood boil, first her daughter has suffered a major head trauma, she’s lucky to be alive, but all she’s concerned with is how she looks, instead of remaining by her bedside, she goes shopping whilst she’s in hospital for make-up so she can spruce her daughter. Obviously because that would be Gabby’s number one concern right now her appearance?“You were so beautiful, you were”“It kills me to see you like this.”What a way to boost her daughter’s confidence, whilst she’s lying in bed cut off from her friends and the outside world, not having a clue what’s going on and suffering from a head trauma. Gabby’s dad was just the invisible parent, wandering aimlessly in the background making occasional appearances or just drinking himself away.Basically Where it Began started off as a highly anticipated read but ended up being a big disappointment. The book went around in maddening circles and frustrated me to a no end with two faced and pathetic characters. Favourite quote;“I thought she knew” argghh!!”This review and more can also be found on my blog: The Readers Den
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review 2012-02-16 00:00
Where It Began - Ann Redisch Stampler It started interestingly enough with a sense of confusion and not knowing that was conveyed quite effectively. Except the trip down memory lane was not a pleasant one because in the end all I felt was sorry for this girl who's a bit too used to describing herself as “sub regular.” And lost memory or not, her story was funny~ just not in a funny ha ha way. Her running commentary on being sub-regular and being the moon to Billy’s earth was in simple terms: off putting and quite disappointing. Yet, I finished this, holding (clinging?) to the hope that she’d realize how off she sounded when she voiced what little she thought of herself. Point one. Props on being normal girl, non AP/academically inclined girl. Props on being sort-of funny and negative. But, and this important: the problem was how the negativity was always directed at her. She saw nothing good in herself. And from her POV, it seemed like her family was of no help there either. Because aside from being self-directed, the negativity seemed to come from her parents as well. And if Gabby’s thoughts were to be believed, I was half a mind to go, Father, meet daughter, not prized horse to wow others over. Mother, meet daughter; she not Barbie. Get over yourselves and help her! And by ‘help her,’ I don’t mean those vats of make up! Now, me trying to be less than negative would concede to the fact that maybe, just maybe, her parents might have been saying that she had to make do with what she had. BUT this reverts back to the problem that she didn’t think she had anything going for her! Anyway, the consequence? A girl who refers to herself as “sub-regular” time and again. And, a consequence of that? Me, coming to loathe said term.Point one and half. Like I said, the first time she made a funny at her own expense, well, it was (funny.) But the next time and the next time and the next time after that? Not so much! If her observations started out as funny- scathingly so, the repeated references on how non- smart she thought herself or how unappealing she found her looks all simply succeeded in frustrating me. My ‘ha- ha’s’ devolved in to a ‘Please, stop. It’s sad; you’re sad.’Point two. Props on being aware how utterly sad you actually are, Gabby. She was all “Billy this and Billy that.” Again, it was so sad and so utterly frustrating how a good portion of Where it Began was all about her wanting him… because she saw him as the best thing there was about her. She saw herself as an extension of him (and so it seemed, did everyone else! Point three. Recall how I praised that sense of confusion and not knowing effectively conveyed at book’s open? Well, come the end, I was almost wishing those feelings back. Then at least, this picture of self deprecating girl would not be in my mind. This girl who thought all she had going for her was a hot boyfriend. She’s sad and frustrating. And it's too bad that the good ended to soon because soon all that was what was revealed was a girl I felt too sorry for to even like. No wonder everyone (and I kid you not, when I say, ‘everyone’ was thinking what they were.)But wait! There is a reason (or two) for those stars you see up there. Namely... Thank you, God Huey! When everyone all could not, it was the one who stood apart who managed to say what was on everyone's mind... then sort of saves the day. Though, dear me, I do wish she’d saved it herself. So, there’s Huey to consider. Plus that one moment that I was in total agreement somewhere maybe two or three pages to the close, with this accurate exchange of, Gabby: “I am so lame.”Lisa: “Totally pathetic.” And my parting shot is best conveyed in Filipino: Ang tanga naman ng batang ito. Nakakainis.Thank you S&S Galley Grab.
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review 2012-02-04 00:00
Where It Began - Ann Redisch Stampler FIRST POSTED ON www.fiction-freak.blogspot.com

EDIT: I just re-read this and I realized how immature I was when it came to reviewing. Wow. Anyways, jsut needed to say I KNOW IT ISN'T VERY PROFESSIONAL.

So because I'm new to the whole blogging/book reviewing business, I don't receive ARC's. I just have to deal with whatever books I buy from Amazon or Barnes and Nobles, or library books. But, thanks to a certain giveaway on Goodreads, I finally managed to get my hands on Where it Began, which comes out in March. You have NO idea how much I was screaming when I found out

Yeah, basically. Anyways...this book is so similar to Stolen in so many ways, but so different in so many other ways. It warmed my heart. It broke my heart. It made me cry and made me smile. Gabby's the kind of girl who just wants the perfect, the safe, life to live. And so she becomes the picture of perfect and catches the eyes of Billy Nash. Or does she? Because when things are getting tough, when she can't remember anything about the accident that crashed Billy's car and took her memories, he's not there. And he only communicates with her through Instant Messaging. And in public? He's once again the boyfriend of the slu* of the school. But it's just an act, right? To protect her. That's what it is.

As much as I could connect with Gabby, I really didn't like her. She was blind in some situations, desperate in others, hostile when she shouldn't be, and consenting when she should've fought back. These were the things that stuck out, the things that I didn't like much. The things the irritate me. But then, how would you react if what happened to her happened to you? So I can't very well judge Gabby (especially since we were seeing things in her POV).

I can't say I was all-knowing when it came to the ending of the book, but I did suspect a few things. What actually happened though, shocked me out of my mind. It made me think. What happened in that book should never happen to anyone, but that stuff happens almost everyday without us knowing. It makes me think that sometimes the "perfect" life is the "fake" life, that there's not one single person who is perfect in all ways. But that's my philosophical side talking.

To be honest, it wasn't the summary that got my attention. It was the cover. I know, I know, we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but who hasn't? I entered the giveaway, not really expecting to win. But I DID!!! And I am so grateful that I did. So if you see this book in the bookstore and you don't think it sounds that great, read the first few pages, then judge. The blurbs don't always give you the full blow of a book.

Pages: 384
Series: Stand-alone Book
Genre: Realistic/Mystery-ish/Romance-ish

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review 2011-07-07 00:00
Where It Began - Ann Redisch Stampler I tried, really tried but I just can't do it. It isn't connecting so time to move on.
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