Title: The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Release date: August 27th 2013
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: BEA - I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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My rating: 3 out of 5 starsGolden 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?
The Beginning of Everything is the kind of book where I just don't know what to say - I didn't care for it one way or the other. There were a couple of good things and a couple of bad things, but nothing that would make me want to declare my love for the book or complain about it, either. It's just very... meh.
The characters are very average. Ezra is an okay main character - he's easy to relate to, but he's nothing special. Cassidy is a little too cliched for me to really like her. Toby is a fun secondary character, but he doesn't play a big enough role to have really made an impact. None of them are bad characters, but I didn't develop any real emotions towards any of them and couldn't get myself to really care what happened to them.
I'm torn on what to make of the romance storyline. Cassidy's character had a lot of potential, but she turned out to be too much of the manic-pixie-dream-girl cliche for me to like her; she's trying way too hard to be different. Still, I liked reading about the relationship between Ezra and Cassidy in the beginning - it develops slowly, in an honest and realistic way. But I wish we had gotten to see more of Ezra growing as an independent character instead of just in relation to Cassidy; especially the family storyline could have used some more exploration. I always hate when a book uses romance - or another person in general - to supposedly fix what is going on in somebody's life, and that is definitely the case in The Beginning of Everything.
Another storyline that bugged me is the whole popularity thing. That's generally not a storyline I'm fond of, so this is more of a personal preference than something wrong with the novel. But the whole 'I'm-no-longer-Mr. Popular, poor-me' thing and the way that Ezra blames all of his issues on the accident just frustrated me. Especially because it's mainly in his head; if he tried, he could still have parts of his old life back.
Even if a lot of the story didn't work that well for me, The Beginning of Everything still has one thing going for it, and that is the writing. Robyn Schneider's writing is what kept me turning the pages: when I was having issues with the story, Robyn Schneider's absorbing writing style would pull me in again.
The Beginning of Everything is a very mellow story - no one set issue, just one person's story. A lot of the time, these understated types of books work for me, but this one just didn't; there was just something preventing me from connecting with the story. I'm still planning on checking out Robyn Schneider's future works, though, because I really enjoyed her writing style.