feedback image
Total feedbacks:140
Looking forThe Beginning of Everything in PDF? Check out
Check out

Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Fairly good story but the characters developed too fast. I appreciated the ending, how Ezra didn't need a girl to define the rest of his life. Until the end, I expected a typical manic pixie dream girl story but was reluctantly surprised.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
mike dally
This book is aimed at middle school students but yet includes rather detailed parts about oral sex and how girls can perform those actions under blankets without people noticing. Really? Is this really a middle school book?
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
If you're looking for a book that will leave you crying in the middle of the night after you finish it, this is for you. It was an awesome story but it has a very sad, heart-stabbing ending. The only reason I gave it two stars is because I'm crying and upset.
The Way I Used to Be :: This Is Where It Ends :: The List :: Before I Fall (Falling) (Volume 1) :: Vanishing Girls
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Everything about this is poorly done. The quality of the writing itself is terrible and quite juvenile. Like, if my middle school self decided to write a book, the result would have been similar. Every character is flat. The ~new girl~ is nothing but a manic pixie dream girl who turns everyone's head and it's overdone and boring. Nothing is original. It's just not an accurate display of high school anywhere. On top of that, the book tries to make itself better than simple YA beach reading by making the universal themes and questions of life it wants to address so cringeworthy and obvious that even IF the writing and characters had not been so poorly done, the book would have been corny and unsubstantial anyway. The fact that this has such a high average rating concerns me so much about the future of books anywhere. I have no idea how this book made it past the first round of editing let alone was actually published.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
james currier
There is no conflict; there is very little plot. It's all clever dialogue and lots of high school class minutiae. As a YA writer, I can't imagine how this book got sold, got published. It's not badly written; it's not stupid. But nothing happens. I had to force myself to read it (after about page 150, it picks up, but seriously--books need to have more than this).
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
camille mood
This is the worst book I have every read in my entire 19 years of living and I read a lot of books. This book was incredibly boring with a predictable plot (if you can call it a plot??) and characters that screamed "I'm trying to be a character from a John Green book but it's just not working because this book is garbage." For starters, the characters were plain and relied heavily on stereotypes making them impossible to get attached to which made reading the book a drag. Uneventful plot, probably could have cut the book in half if you took out all the scenes that did nothing to advance the "plot." Honestly, it was just trying way too hard to be your typical "quirky, hipster, YA" book. Too many "quirky" facts that no one asked for, jokes that didn't make any sense but the characters laughed at them (so kind of the equivalent of the author laughing at her own joke I guess). Also there was a part at the beginning where Ezra became aroused pushing a girl on a swing? Okay. The dog in the book made me cringe he was like trying to be Gatsby or something but just wasn't. I'm not a professional reviewer or anything I just really want to make sure no one else wastes money on this terrible book.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
lynn o
Perhaps this was written for teenagers since I got lost with the meaning of some words and descriptions. Also unimaginable that high school students could so logically delve into answers to complex situations in their lives. One bright character, Cooper, the family dog, added to the story until his demise.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Honestly, he is a very poor writer. I could barely get half way through and that was a struggle. He just throws out stuff and the timeline of the book was terrible. He only took one chapter to explain who the person was and about the great turning point in life. It was all so vague l. I hated it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I went into this book with no expectations and I came out of it practically salivating at the mere thought of Schneider releasing a second book. This is a brutally honest coming of age story; a journey of self discovery mixed with severed heads, broken hearts, angst, a big black poodle, and wry humor that had me cackling throughout the novel. Overall, this book was a really sobering experience. This book represents life, the world we live in, how one can find themselves at the most inopportune times. This is what it's like to be a teenager and grow. And, damn, did my heart swell as I turned the last page, unwilling to say good-bye so soon.

This book is perfect for fans of John Green. Schneider uses similar dialogue techniques. By that I mean that all of the characters are sort of hyper-intelligent and if you can't keep up you can get lost in their plethora of explanations for the most randomly awesome things. After watching many of Schneider's vlogs on her YouTube channel, it's glaring obvious that these characters are similar to her personality. She loves those random facts that nobody else knows and she constantly wants to share them with the world. She's fascinated with weird German words, which do make several appearances in this novel. She is also a literature buff, but hey, aren't we all? These three aspects of her combine to create her characters in really interesting ways. They're constantly spewing these facts that I never would have found otherwise and I loved every second of it. I learned from this book, legitimately learned awesome facts to spring on my unsuspecting peers when they least expect it. And the best part is that she found the perfect time to insert these tidbits, so I never felt rushed or confused. At times the explanations were slightly word-vomity, but more often than not they were simply engaging. This book is full of philosophical thoughts and it makes you question many things while it tears your heart in two and slowly stitches it back together.

Ezra is officially among my favorite characters ever. And, hey, he's a good Jewish boy so I can bring him to life from these pages, introduce him to my father, and marry him without an ounce of guilt! He was hit by a car on the way home from a terrible party. This accident changed his life. He could no longer rule his school, his trusty tennis racket at his side. Never would he be able to play sports again, nor would he ever truly reclaim his position high on the popularity totem pole with the cane that helps him walk replacing his tennis racket. To put it simply, he was sort of depressed that summer. He was bed-ridden, he was missing his friends that never bothered to visit him in the hospital, he hated his ex, Charlotte, and he despised the fact that he'd never be able to play tennis again. His muscles thinned, he lost weight, his tan disappeared. Ezra pre-accident no longer existed. He returned to school to find that he was more of a spectacle than anything else, only to discover that true friends can be found in the most unlikely of people.

Watching him grow and re-discover himself almost seemed like a privilege to me. It wasn't an easy journey, but it was absolutely marvelous. And it was so easy to relate to him as an 18 year old myself that I found it nearly impossible to put this book down. Ezra was used as a tool to allow Schneider to insert this unbelievably hilarious sense of humor throughout the book that constantly had me smiling. While I can imagine some people struggling to relate to our injured hero, his unique humor made me connect with him even more. And watching him accept the fact that he was once vain and terrible was astonishing. He welcomed his new life eventually, almost eagerly, and looked back at his past with disgust. He didn't envy the old him and instead realized that the old him sort of sucked. I think that such an epiphany is rare. Normally in coming of age stories the characters move on from their past and open their arms to the future. He not only came to terms with his past, but he was determined to make sure his past self never reappeared in his future. Can we get a slow clap for this boy, please?

I also found the romance to be great. It happened slowly over time, the way that love should be. The road to this relationship was rocky and Cassidy did not make it easy for Ezra. They fought, they laughed, they soared and hit rock bottom. They epitomized a teenage relationship. There was no perfection, there was no simplicity, there was never any black and white. Everything was gray and a lot of things didn't work out, but that's what it's like to be in love for the first time and I'm so happy to see something real. Cassidy was a very strong character that was incredibly witty, but she had a lot of problems that were not explained until the end. When the big reveal came I still didn't believe it was a proper excuse to treat Ezra the way she did at times. She was lost, to put it simply, and while this is Ezra's story of finding himself because of his belief that Cassidy is the catalyst to his new life, she needs to find her own catalyst and discover herself, too.

This book pushes the thought that one's true self is born from tragedy. You learn to live life and discover who you really are only after tragedy strikes. In truth, I can relate to that, and I think that this may be why I loved this book to pieces and found Ezra so likable and easy to relate to. If my Dad did not nearly die while I was in Kindergarten, I can guarantee you that I would not be the person I am today. I would not love books, I would not be as independent or self-assured as I am, or as focused on my education. As terrible as it is, fearing for my Dad's life during his immediate recovery set me on the path that I'm following now, just as Ezra's horrific accident changed his life. And Toby's horrific accident. It was rare for me to find people who understood me among my immediate peers due to the severely different home life I grew up with. It was always my older friends that were willing to digest the severity of anything I went through. And I'm sitting here reading about a boy who, in his own way, completely gets me. The rarity and irony of it all is tugging my heart every which way. I was rooting for Ezra just as I had to root for myself. And, gah, the reality and perfection all bundled up into less than 400 pages is astounding.

From the beginning to the end, Schneider littered this book with unconventional twists that we never saw coming. The opening itself kept me riveted and refusing to put this book down. And when I turned the last page I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders because of my happiness for Ezra. But, at the same time, I felt this gut-wrenching hollowness settle into my stomach. Not only was I not ready to say good-bye to Ezra and his amazing cast of side characters that depict a plethora of high school cliques, but I was left wanting more. I wish I could say the ending was completely satisfying to me, but I became so invested in these characters that I'm not utterly satisfied with how this book finished. It's not even that I need more, I just need more questions answered, or more plot points summed up fully instead of being left open to interpretation. It's the stubborn nerd in me that needs to be truly satisfied. And while the ending was solid, I don't think it lived up to the rest of the book in my eyes.

With that in mind, this was one of my favorite debuts ever. Through Ezra, I simply felt like Schneider understood me. Mainly because of my own personal tragedy mentioned above. It broke me apart and tore me to pieces which is what made Ezra's journey so meaningful to me. While I understand that some people may lack the intense emotions that I felt with this one because of their lack of relating to Ezra the way I did, I still think that this is a book that almost everyone needs to read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tyler bindon
Ezra Faulkner is a former teen athlete whose social life has been shattered by a hit-and-run car accident. He believes that everyone has one great tragedy in their lifetime, something that sets a trajectory for their entire life, and the accident was his great tragedy. During the novel, he re-connects with his former best friend (whose tragedy has already happened), meets a captivating new girl, reinvents himself, and does all those things we've come to expect in YA/Teen novels.

It's an enjoyable teen novel, for the most part. The author's writing style is very good--subtle in all the right places, hilarious in others--a far cry from some of the more heavy-handed teen writing I have read in the past. The teen characters sounded like real teenagers, not like mini-adults.

My issue was that, as an adult, the story itself didn't do much for me. Like most adults, I've dealt with tragedy a few times (One tragedy in a lifetime sounds like a pretty good deal, actually...sign me up! For most of us who are flirting with 40, it's more like all the tragedy you can take, and then heap on some more.) Ezra's a likable enough character, but he's a sheltered teenager too--naive, young, and self-involved.

So in my opinion, this is not one of those teen novels that translates well to an adult audience. There just isn't enough complexity there to make it appealing. I'm sure teenagers would enjoy it, though.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
evia inez
For a full review, commentary, or point of view on this book, feel free to go to Inkish Kingdoms! or just google me!

Okay… I am writing this from my phone so I am sorry if there are some typos… I wanted a Blackberry but it didn’t happen (thank God because I got mugged)

I will go against all the reviews and all the people that have given this book 3 stars or 3.5 even though that does not exist but I see the point now haha I don’t think this book deserves a 5 because I am not dying of love and longing or anything like that, but I don’t think a 3 will be fair… so I rated with a 4. All the characters were great and their interactions were just magnificent! And adding some more happiness, I read it in record time… ( For me at least xD) (check my blog for full review)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Robyn Schneider's THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is all about tragedy. High school tennis star and BMOC Ezra Faulkner is injured in a hit-and-run accident the weekend before his junior prom. His knee is shattered, leaving him the teenage version of House - depressed, bitter, and dependent on a cane. He'll never play tennis again, his jock friends have moved on, and he can't figure out how to make his life work without them. As Ezra explains it, "everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, . . . a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen." The car accident is Ezra's tragedy. It's also "the beginning of everything," as Ezra reconnects with Toby Ellicott, his old BFF from middle school (a quirky debate team nerd who Ezra dumped in 7th grade), and meets new girl Cassidy Thorpe, an "achingly effortless" free spirit who quotes Marvell and Shakespeare and quickly wins Ezra's heart. But this is a book about tragedy, so don't look for a happy ending. Ezra and Cassidy may be cute together (excruciatingly cute at times), but there's more to Cassidy's story than she's saying. At one point, about two-thirds of the way through this book, Ezra says of Cassidy, "I pictured her tragically; it never once occurred to me to picture her as the tragedy." That pretty much says it all.

Not a whole lot happens in this novel, since it's less about plot than it is about character (and tragedy - don't forget the tragedy). Ezra gets hit by that car, his girlfriend (who cheats on him just before the accident) leaves him bleeding in the road, he misses prom (and most of the summer), and then he comes back to school to find that nothing much is left of the life he used to live. He gets close with Toby (I liked Toby; he was almost my favorite character . . . more on that later), falls for Cassidy, goes to a debate competition, drinks a lot, has sort-of sex, and then realizes nothing is quite what it seems. That's about it. Cassidy has a secret, and it takes 326 of the novel's 335 pages to get to the reveal. And when it finally happens, when she finally tells him, it's such an absurd and ridiculous coincidence that I actually groaned out loud. "No way!" I said. "That DIDN'T happen!" But it did. And there's no way to think about this book without thinking about that particular coincidence.

This book reminds me a lot of the novels we teachers like to assign for high school students to read over their summer vacations - books about teenagers learning big "life lessons" before they head off for college. An awful lot of the dialogue in this book reads as if it has been written to be used in student essays. People just don't talk this way, not even really smart people who read a lot. At one point, fairly early in the novel, Cassidy quotes Mary Oliver in her effort to get poor tragic Ezra out of his slump: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?" It's a good question, and one Ezra would do well to consider. But the ultimate tragedy (you knew there would be an `ultimate tragedy,' didn't you?) is that Cassidy won't listen to her own advice. As Ezra finally realizes, Cassidy IS the tragedy.

Earlier, I said that I really liked Toby, Ezra's former 7th grade friend who ended up part of the debate team and sitting at the nerd's table in the cafeteria. Toby is clever and funny and a better friend to Ezra than Ezra ever was to him. But he's not my favorite character in this novel. My favorite character is Cooper, a 14-year-old standard poodle who loves Ezra in a way that's deeper than either Cassidy or his parents. Cooper is a wonderful, lovable character whose eyes reveal a depth of feeling and understanding seldom seen in anyone, human or canine. Well, what Schneider does with Cooper's character at the end of this book is the thing that will haunt me forever, a thing more horrible even than that absurd and ridiculous coincidence I mentioned. I can forgive Schneider for the coincidence (this is fiction, after all) and for all overdone "teaching moments," but I can't forgive her for Cooper.

Bottom line, this is a serviceable novel about how the things that happen to us (tragic or not) direct the course of our lives. More than that, it's about how important it is not to let life's tragedies (whether they're huge or they just seem that way) get in the way of living. As Ezra ultimately realizes (paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, because teenagers do that all the time, right?), "to live is the rarest thing in the world, because most people just exist." So Ezra learns to live through his crushed knee, his relationship with Cassidy, and Cooper. I just would have liked it better if it had been Cooper's story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sachin bhatt
“Sometimes I think that everybody has a tragedy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their noses at stoplights could be only moments away from disaster. That everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.”
A Red Raven Reads Review of “The Beginning of Everything” by Robyn Schneider

[...] // [...]
Ezra Faulkner, top jock and golden boy of his high school, experiences a single night that ruins his life—being cheated on by his girlfriend, only to promptly have his knee shattered and future as a tennis star and full-rider put in question. It seems as though his forever has become bleak and dark—that is, until he meets transfer student Cassidy Thorpe and his life is irrevocably changed, this time for the better.
“TBOE” is a realistic romance vivid with beautiful characterization, emotion, and unquestionable literary value. This novel presents an adventure and a romance you won’t soon forget.
This book will give you ALL. OF. THE. FEELS. Robyn Schneider is a talented new voice in young adult contemporary and damn, can that girl write! You will feel so present, so alive—the characters will become your friends, and Cali will become the world around you. It’s so funny, so lively, so vivacious. I can’t imagine someone reading this book and regretting it; I honestly can’t. It’s just a fantastic example of its genre, and I adored it. (Also, Ezra, will you marry me please? I would dig that.)
I think the main concern I have with this book is that I’ve seen it before, and it was predictable. It’s very much in the John Green vein and doesn’t steer too far from that formula. And the ending, while necessary, left me feeling sort of lost, and not in the “lost in emotions” way. I was confused, more than anything. However, that doesn’t detract much if any from the story itself, because I truly believe it ended the way it should have.
This book is great. It’s just great. You will laugh and cry and sing its praises and recommend it to all of your friends. It’s impossible to not like this book, in my opinion. Also, Ezra and Cassidy are incredible characters, as are Toby, Phoebe, and the rest of the cast. I adore every single one of them and always will.
This book wasn’t life-changing, but dang, it was so incredible to read. It was addictive, funny, and so very alive. I loved it, and I think you will too. This book receives an easy 4 out of 5 stars from me. (Read it. Seriously. <3)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book surprised me! I thought it was going to be just another contemporary story about a teen finding himself through a mess of breakups, bumps and bruises along the way. While, it was just that, this book brought so much more to the table. This is the story of Ezra Faulkner, who believes one's live begins at a tragic turning point in life. Ezra's tragic event happens to be a car crash that shatters his kneecap, leaving him unable to play sports and leaving behind the life he used to know.

My favorite scene of the whole book was on page 3, where Ezra describes the tragic turning point in his friend Toby's life:

“What the news reports didn’t say was how the kid’s head sailed backward in its mouse-ear hat like some sort of grotesque helicopter, and how Toby Ellicott, on his twelfth birthday, caught the severed head and held on to it in shock for the duration of the ride. ”

What an opening! I knew I was going to love the book right there. The rest of the story did not disappoint, either. Ezra was flawed, which I liked. I feel like many YA main character's are quirky, pure and untouched by the world. Ezra used to be "cool" and is now part of a different crowd where he discovers truly what life is supposed to be. I have to say I thought Cassidy was sort of annoying, much like Ezra sometimes did, with her riddles and inconsistent behavior.

Overall, lovely book! There were a couple shocking moments near the end and a twist that I totally did not see coming. So many Harry Potter references, too! :) Ezra's car is named "Voldemort the Volvo". I love it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
adron buske
Golden boy, Ezra Faulkner, believes that everyone has a tragedy no matter who they are. However, it is only after this one event that everything that happens, truly matters. This book is all about who Ezra became in the aftermath of his personal tragedy. It was a normal night before Ezra caught his girlfriend cheating on him, and then shattered his leg in a car accident, taking away his aspirations to be drafted to play tennis in college After his accident, he learns that his so-called friends really aren't all that great. However, at the beginning of his senior year of high school, he meets the new girl, Cassidy Thorpe, who turns his world upside down. A main theme in this book that I really enjoyed is finding yourself. Robyn Schneider’s novel, The Beginning of Everything, is an interesting, fun, and thought-provoking book. Throughout this whole story, Ezra has an inner-struggle to find out who he is and where he belongs. Ezra is thrown into a world where he no longer knows who he is. He throws himself into school work, a debate team, and an old friendship. The book focused a lot on Ezra and Cassidy and their relationship, which made it easier to get to know them and connect with them on a deeper level. A lesson I learned from this book was that everything happens for a reason, but how you deal with the things that happen to you is what truly defines you. You can either let it overcome you and dictate your life, or you can rise above it and learn to embrace your life, despite the bad that may happen. One thing I did not like about this book was how dramatic everything was after Ezra’s accident. He acted like he couldn’t even talk to his old friends just because he shattered his leg. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. There was a time that I was waiting for something exciting to happen because not much was going on, but when it finally did, it was with the wait. A major plot twist occurs in the story which enhanced the quality of the story for me. One quote that I loved was, “Oscar Wilde once said that to live is the rarest thing in the world, because most people just exist, and that’s all. I don't know if he’s right, but I do know that I spent a long time existing, and now, I intend to live” (335). This quote made a lasting impact on me, and actually made me think of my life differently. I suggest this book for anyone looking for an interesting read about the inner-struggle of finding yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen barry
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
"The Beginning of Everything" was the first book I read by Robyn Schneider, and it was a lot better than I thought it would be. Mr. Popular Ezra Faulkner has it all: top tier friends, good grades, position as president of his class, popular girlfriend, and position as captain of the tennis team. Ezra believes there's one moment in everyone's life that changes everything, and his event takes away everything he believed himself to be. He spends the summer before his senior year in hospitals, physical therapy, counseling, and his bed. Back at school in the fall, he's a completely different person, and knows that he can't go back to his old life ever again. He feels like he doesn't belong anywhere. That is, until Cassidy Thorpe comes to town. Cassidy is different (of course) - she's unlike any of the other girls in school. Ezra lets Cassidy into his life, and slowly, he begins to find what he'd be searching for all along: himself. But is this because of Cassidy, or is he becoming his true self all on his own? Is this the beginning of everything?

The first few chapters are a little hard to push through. The first chapter easily draws you in and makes you realize the sick hilarity of the book cover, but the next few chapters are a little more difficult to get into. However, I strongly recommend you keep on reading - it gets better. A lot better. This book is filled with sharp wit and endearing sarcasm, and made me smirk (and laugh) quite often. Ezra was a fantastic narrator, and a great character overall. I loved following his story, and seeing the development he went through as a character. There were a lot of things I liked about Cassidy, but at the same time, I was disappointed that she didn't have the same character arc as fact, I don't think she really matured at all as a character, and that saddens me.

Some people criticize that the book was cliche and predictable, but I think quite the opposite; I found myself surprised at the ending. On one hand, I want all books to have a happy ending; I want the characters to live happily ever after and I want everything to work out because my life is not that way, and I read to escape and become someone else and experience a happy ending. However, I know that life is not like that; life doesn't really give out happily ever after's. Life is messy. Relationships are messy. Senior year of high school (and beyond) is stressful. Heartbreak is, well, heartbreaking. So even though I want everything to always work out in the end, a part of me is sometimes glad when a book (especially a YA book) has a sad ending. I'm not saying this book has a sad ending, though. It does have a sad element to it, but it's not all sad. It's actually pretty inspiring and thought-provoking. Schneider did a great job with the ending. I ended up really liking this book. I encourage any YA fans to read it. It has good lessons, even if those lessons are a little bittersweet.

Check out my blog for more book reviews:
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
julia collings

If you're looking for a typical teenage romance book, this is the one for you. The Beginning of Everything starts out as Ezra Faulkner, a sophomore in high school. His life is everything he could dream of, he's class president, star tennis player, and is practically the most poplar boy in school. His girlfriend, Charlotte, is head-over-heels in love with him, and they are the power couple at school. However, at one party at the end of his sophomore year, Ezra walks in on Charlotte and a boy named Evan, one of Ezra's friends, kissing. Charlotte tries to chase Ezra when he runs out of the party, and when she catches him, only wants him to take her to prom, but Ezra does not want anything to do with Charlotte anymore. To add to this horrible night, after Ezra gets into his car, he begins to pull off the curb, and a big SUV comes barreling by and hits him, and leaves. The book then skips a few months to the first day of Ezra's junior year, still recovering from his injuries. Over the summer, none of Ezra's friends visited him in the hospital, and neither did Charlotte. But, back to school. Nobody talks to Ezra, and Charlotte and Evan are now dating. When Ezra walks into the gym for a school assembly, everyone stares at him, just watching. He has to sit in the front row with all of the teachers, and his ex-friend, Toby. Back when they were younger, Toby and Ezra were best friends, until all of a sudden, Ezra became cool and Toby just didn't. The two automatically hit it off and reconvene. In addition to becoming friends with Toby again, Ezra meets new girl, Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is completely different from Ezra, and she is perfect for him.

As Ezra's junior year continues, he becomes closer with Toby and his friends, and eventually dates Cassidy. Ezra finds himself, and who he wants to be. He finds new friends, who like him for who he is, and realizes that you can enjoy yourself without going to parties and being the popular kid. This book does a fantastic job of showing that people change people, and that we can change for the better, too. However, towards the end of the book, Ezra's life takes a turn for the worse, again. The day of the homecoming dance, Ezra goes to Cassidy's house to pick her up, but she's gone and nowhere to be found. After searching for hours, Ezra finds Cassidy, but she doesn't want to talk. She tells Ezra that her boyfriend from her old school is grabbing something from her car and will be there any minute, and that Ezra should leave. When Ezra gets mad, she continues to ridicule him. She tells him that he will never leave their small town, because he is all sorts of horrible. Ezra becomes heart broken and depressed, not wanting to talk to anyone or do anything. And, when he returns to school the next Monday, he decides to sit with his old friends, and return to his old life. I was so disappointed at this point of the book, because I knew that Ezra could be better than that, and I thought I knew that Cassidy would come running back for Ezra.

I was correct that Ezra was better than the popular crowd, because when Toby tells Ezra how he's feeling, how that even though Cassidy ended it with Ezra, he did not have to block Toby out too, Ezra realizes that he really does love Toby, and wants to remain friends with him. However, I was wrong about Cassidy. We soon find out, along with Ezra, the reason why Cassidy moved from her old school. Her brother died from heart failure. But, when Ezra confronts Cassidy about it, to try to help her, we learn even more about her. Cassidy informs Ezra that the reason why she doesn't want to be with him, is because a few days before her brother died, he was driving a SUV, and was in a hit-and-run accident. The accident that involved Ezra. She could never look at Ezra the same, and that is why she ended it. Not because she had a boyfriend, not because she didn't like him, it was because her brother almost killed Ezra, and that she couldn't face him anymore. The book ends with Ezra moving on, finishing his high school career and moving onto college, remaining friends with Toby, but not talking to Cassidy. He gives us his high hopes for Cassidy, and wishes her the best.

I really enjoyed reading this book, because, while I was hoping for the happy ending with Cassidy and Toby, not all relationships are perfect, and their's wasn't. So, I liked how real this book's ending was, and it definitely made me happy that Ezra was moving on with his life, moving on from Cassidy, and moving on from high school. Therefore, this book was a fantastic read, and I enjoyed reading as Ezra progressed into a different, but better person. I loved how we could see Ezra find himself, and watch his high school life unfold! I would 100% recommend to anyone who loves John Green or Nicholas Sparks, because it was definitely a great story about not only romance, but something a lot of teenagers go through, the toughness of high school.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
amanda ryan
The Beginning of Everything was a very easy read – the fastest out of all the YA I've read so far. I loved the book, but fell short of falling in love with it.

Robyn Schneider’s style is somewhat understated (matching the masculine point of view), dealing with massive real world problems without the fanfare; which summed up my feeling towards the whole experience really – it lacked something to turn it from poignant to fantastic. The best way to describe the story would be to say the whole novel is a turning point.

Ezra Faulkenr and Cassidy Thorpe are some of the strongest, most compelling characters I've read. Both were realistic, following their own paths (which just happened to intersect for the entirety of this book. I was impressed at how, through Ezra’s point of view, we discover that everyone has their own personal tragedy and whether we get to share in their story or not relates to how close we are in orbit around each others lives. At a glance the two main characters are somewhat typical of this genre: your jock-become-outcast and the nerd-alternative girl falling in love… but the way the story is told is completely unique.

Even though I found the plot predictable, it was a welcome change to the bulk of recent YA reads: no fantasy or high stakes drama – this is about life! I felt is also shines a light on the misconceptions of adolescence, and how the things they value mean very little in the grand scheme of things. I know many who either loved or hated the book blamed the ending, and I have to admit, it was one of the highlights for me (and that’s all I'm going to say – no spoilers here).

I’d recommend to add this to your collection, it is well written and a welcome break from vampires, or post apocalyptic worlds. And unlike many other ‘real-world’ novels it’s storyline is simplistic and fresh, not dwelling in a tragic event, but rather, in its aftermath.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Shortly before he was going to be homecoming king, Ezra Faulkner got hit with a double whammy in the same night. First, he catches his girlfriend cheating on him at a party. When he confronts her, she blows his upset off and when he breaks things off, she yells at him that he still has to take her to the prom. Shocked and more than a bit upset, he leaves and when he starts to drive home, is hit by a black SUV that runs a red light. Goodbye prom, goodbye tennis scholarship, goodbye ever walking normally again.
Fast forward to the beginning of senior year. Ezra isn't sure who he is any more. So much of his identity came from being the class president and star of the tennis team and party scene. Now all of that's gone and he's struggling to find where he fits in, especially after none of his friends from the popular group bothered to visit while he was in the hospital.
Things begin to change when he decides he no longer belongs at the popular table in the cafeteria. Instead, he ends up at the nerd/outcast table where his best friend for years, Toby is willing to forgive him and when he first lays eyes on the new girl, Cassidy Thorpe, his heart does some interesting things. She transferred from a private school where she was a top debater, but she's evasive about why she no longer wants to participate on a debate team or why she transferred to a public high school.
Despite her mood swings and evasiveness, Ezra falls for her big time. When he jokingly signs her up for a debate competition after Toby added his name to the sheet, Cassidy is initially furious, but won't tell him why. As they spend more and more time together, Ezra realizes how much he cares for Cassidy, but has a nagging feeling that something bad is going to happen.
That something happens on prom night when they're supposed to go along with several other couples to dinner and then the dance. It is the start of a wild emotional ride for both of them that changes Ezra's way of looking at the world completely, leaving him sadder, but wiser. To say more would spoil the reading experience.
This is a beautiful, but extremely painful book and one that will stay with some readers for a long time after the cover is closed. It's a good one for teens who have had to deal with painful secrets as well as those who like a love story with plenty of bittersweet.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
william t
Picture me doing cartwheels, waving sparkly pompoms, and hopping around like a gleeful, demented cheerleader. If you envision all of that, you might have an inkling of how excited I am about The Beginning of Everything.

I can’t stop smiling, and I’m all warm and fuzzy inside. I’ve been looking for a book like this for a long time; when I read This is What Happy Looks Like, Eleanor & Park, and The Fault in Our Stars, this is the book I was hoping to get.

The idea behind The Beginning of Everything is that adversity can be a catalyst that changes our lives for the better, a whetstone that hones us into something sharper. It hurts you, yes, and it’s certainly unpleasant, but adversity forges you into something better and stronger than you were before. As Ezra Faulkner states in the beginning of the book:

“My own tragedy[…]waited to strike until I was so used to my good-enough life in an unexceptional suburb that I’d stopped waiting for anything interesting to happen. Which is why, when my personal tragedy finally found me, it was nearly too late. I had just turned 17, was embarrassingly popular, earned good grades, and was threatening to become eternally unextraordinary.”

For Ezra, tragedy comes in the form of a crippling car accident that takes him from star athlete and king of the school to a confused 17-year-old who no longer knows where he fits in the world. The accident forces him to re-evaluate his identity, his friendships, and his future. He must figure out what’s left after his defining characteristic – tennis star – has been stripped away. The answer is: a heck of a lot more than Ezra would’ve expected.

Ezra is the total package, the male protagonist I’ve been searching for since what feels like the beginning of time. He’s popular, good-looking, and athletic but avoids being the dumb-jock stereotype; he’s the sort of guy who’s popular because people respect him, not because they fear him. I can't even begin to tell you how refreshing this is.

Ezra is an all-around good guy who’s friends with whoever he wants to be friends with, doesn’t treat the “little people” like crap, and has a backbone and isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in. He makes witty puns, can enjoy parties without being a drunken idiot, is nuts about his standard poodle Cooper, and can laugh at himself. Also, did I mention he’s intelligent, funny, and a bit of a smart-aleck? What more can a girl want?

Cassidy, the girl Ezra falls for in the book, is great, too. She’s got this alternative/hipster vibe that initially made me wary; I was afraid she’d end up fitting into the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, which I wouldn't have been able to handle (I have an abiding hatred for MPDG's that started with John Green’s Looking for Alaska). However, Cassidy ended up being fun and likable as opposed to annoying and cliche.

In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters in The Beginning of Everything. The kids Ezra starts hanging out with after his accident are witty and smart, with a peculiar nerdy charm and lots of clever repartee. I wanted to be included in the debate team crew, with their crazy hotel-room parties, “positive vandalism,” classic movie marathons in the deserted school, and other hijinks. The camaraderie they share is wonderful, and the banter and teasing among Ezra’s new friends made me nostalgic for my own high school days.

The characters may be the best part of The Beginning of Everything, but rest assured that there’s also a tight plot and a great story arc. Something I found refreshing is that this isn’t a book about how a bad person is made into a better one through the transforming power of love. Rather, it is a story about a good person being pushed to become an even better person through his own power. I really, really appreciated that.

Not everything in this book is happy-go-lucky, but I finished it feeling hopeful and optimistic. I want you to feel this way, too, so please go read The Beginning of Everything! And then let's discuss!

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jeff heider
The Beginning of Everything was a very easy read – the fastest out of all the YA I've read so far. I loved the book, but fell short of falling in love with it.

Robyn Schneider’s style is somewhat understated (matching the masculine point of view), dealing with massive real world problems without the fanfare; which summed up my feeling towards the whole experience really – it lacked something to turn it from poignant to fantastic. The best way to describe the story would be to say the whole novel is a turning point.

Ezra Faulkenr and Cassidy Thorpe are some of the strongest, most compelling characters I've read. Both were realistic, following their own paths (which just happened to intersect for the entirety of this book. I was impressed at how, through Ezra’s point of view, we discover that everyone has their own personal tragedy and whether we get to share in their story or not relates to how close we are in orbit around each others lives. At a glance the two main characters are somewhat typical of this genre: your jock-become-outcast and the nerd-alternative girl falling in love… but the way the story is told is completely unique.

Even though I found the plot predictable, it was a welcome change to the bulk of recent YA reads: no fantasy or high stakes drama – this is about life! I felt is also shines a light on the misconceptions of adolescence, and how the things they value mean very little in the grand scheme of things. I know many who either loved or hated the book blamed the ending, and I have to admit, it was one of the highlights for me (and that’s all I'm going to say – no spoilers here).

I’d recommend to add this to your collection, it is well written and a welcome break from vampires, or post apocalyptic worlds. And unlike many other ‘real-world’ novels it’s storyline is simplistic and fresh, not dwelling in a tragic event, but rather, in its aftermath.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
roslyn sundset
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

byn 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.

Quick & Dirty: A thought provoking contemporary read that had some problems, but overall was a really great read.

Opening Sentence: Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their noses at stoplights could be only moments away from disaster.

The Review:

Seventeen year old Ezra Faulkner believes that everyone will experience some kind of tragedy in their life, a tragedy that will shape them into who they are meant to be, and Ezra just had his. He was once a popular jock with a bright future in tennis, but all of his dreams are shattered the night a reckless driver hits him. Now his knee is shattered and he will permanently have a limp, which means he will never play tennis again. Soon all of his so called friends abandon him and he finds himself hanging out with a new group of misfits.

He decides to join the debate team and soon meets the mysterious new girl, Cassidy Thorpe. She is fun, adventurous, and someone that is unlike anyone Ezra has ever known. She forces him to break out of his shell and soon Ezra finds himself really falling for her. But soon Ezra realizes that not everyone is what they seem to be, and his philosophy on life starts to change. He comes to understand that maybe the small tragedies in life are just as impactful as the big ones can be.

Ezra was a really great character that I really enjoyed getting to know. At first he is your typical teenage boy trying to navigate high school, but as the story progresses he turns into a very thought provoking character. He grows and learns so much throughout the book, and it was really interesting to watch him mature as a person. He is an intelligent guy, but until his accident he just coasted through life. He was popular, good looking, and a very talented tennis player so things came easy to him. Once that was all taken away you are introduced to a normal teenage boy that has a lot of insecurities. It was almost like he had to start over and he had to learn a lot of hard lessons to finally get to a happy place in his life. I thought that he had a great voice and I really enjoyed reading his story.

I had a hard time connecting with Cassidy. She had a fun sporadic personality that made her interesting, but she felt fake to me at times. At first she seemed like such a free spirit when in reality she is weighted down by a lot of personal tragedy. Instead of facing her problems she pretends like they don’t exist and that bothered me. I think the one thing about her that bothered me most was that she didn’t practice what she preached. She pretends to be someone different then she is and that made it really hard to like her. I’m not saying she didn’t have her good moments and her relationship with Ezra was adorable. But in the end she just ended up not being a character I wasn’t particularly fond of.

The Beginning of Everything is a unique contemporary read that has some cute romance but it is mainly a coming of age story. For me this book has some really profound moments, but it also had some extremely over exaggerated moments as well. The first few chapters of the book were really great and they instantly drew me into the story, but unfortunately it didn’t last. I soon found myself losing interest in the story, but then something would happen that would draw me back in. Then the story would start to drag and I would find myself losing interest once again, the entire book was really up and down for me which was frustrating (but hey — I guess it matches the roller coaster they have on the cover :D ). I will admit that Schneider has beautiful writing that made up for some of the pacing problems and was one of the main reasons I actually ended up enjoying the book overall. Another thing I loved about this book was that it had a realistic ending. In real life not everything turns out to be a fairytale and this book portrayed that really well. The message that Schneider delivered was inspirational and I thought she did a wonderful job getting her point across. This story had some problems, but overall I found it to be very thought provoking and I would highly recommend YA contemporary fans give it a try.

Notable Scene:

There is a type of problem in organic chemistry called a retrosynthesis. You are presented with a compound that does not occur in nature, and your job is to work backward, step by step, and ascertain how it came to exist—what sort of conditions led to its eventual creation. When you are finished, if done correctly, the equation can be read normally, making it impossible to distinguish the question from the answer.

I still think that everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a singular tragic encounter after which everything that really matter will happen. That moment is the catalyst—the first step in the equation. But knowing the first step will get you nowhere—it’s what comes after that determines the result.

FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Beginning of Everything. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
david meldrum
The cover looks very great. I love the roller coaster idea. Once you read through the book it is a perfect cover for the way the story is. I honestly think that this book was very well written. Ezra Faulkner gets into a car accident and bam, his whole life flips upside down. Ezra's car accident doesn't necessarily ruin his life, but so much of it is just sort of gone. He can't play tennis, his friends are all on the tennis team, he uses a cane to walk around, and his girlfriend cheated on him. Then he goes to school after his accident and Toby, his childhood friend, sits next to him during the pep rally. Did I mention there's a severed head situation at Disneyland while these two are on a ride? Yeah, Toby catches the severed head. So that's where it all honestly begins, with the friendship these two have is rekindled. So Toby is on the debate team and basically the president of nerds. That is totally not meant in a bad way! He's very interesting and funny. But, since he is the president of the debate team he's a "nerd". Anyways, so then there is Cassidy Thorpe....beautiful and smart. So Cassidy Thorpe is the funny, beautiful, smart and of course, love interest of Ezra Faulkner. Did I mention she is the new girl? So in this book, Ezra is relatable and very likable. He turns his life around in a way that is positive for him. Toby is the funny nerdy guy that anyone could get along with as long as they had a great sense of humor. Then there is Cassidy, the girl that you could easily have as a friend. She's outgoing and funny so that's a great combination. So Cassidy and Ezra are literally the cutest couple and you'll have the feels for sure! Anyways, so the ending to this book is very sad and I hate the idea of it but it happens. Coyotes are my life long enemy now. Anyways, this book ended in a way that you wouldn't have expected...with a gigantic plot twist in the worst way. But honestly, it makes the story so much better and beautiful. Happy reading!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ashok thirunavukarasu
I felt really disappointed with "The Beginning of Everything". First off, let me just say that this young adult novel is well-written. I think Robyn Schneider has a beautiful and expressive writing-style. Too bad this novel didn't have much of a plot. The first 3 chapters were memorable, shocking, and completely original. But towards the middle of the book, I felt like my initial reaction of what I THOUGHT the plot was going to be about abruptly took me in the other direction. I felt duped. I know that sounds a little dramatic but once I got deeper into the story/characters - I realized this book isn't so original after all. There's a lot of cliché-ridden characters such the protagonist, Ezra. Pretty much throughout the whole book, he describes himself as "the golden boy" which I found frustrating. Ezra believes EVERY person who suffer a personal tragedy in their lifetime. His childhood friend, Toby suffered a personal tragedy when he was 12. Ezra suffered a tragedy when he was 17. I wanted to hear more about Ezra and Toby's friendship. Ezra falls in love with a troubled girl his senior year in high school, Cassidy. I found Cassidy completely unbearable. She didn't seem like an interesting person. Her whole relationship with Ezra was flat, dull, and just aggravating to read. I didn't feel invested in the characters. I liked Toby but he's hardly mentioned in the book. Ezra just got on my nerves after a while and as for Cassidy - I just did not like her. The ending was pretty pointless as well. And I didn't like the "shocking twist". It was lame and unnecessary. Good writing? Yes. A thought-provoking plot? No. Likable characters? No. I'm rating this book 3 stars because of Schneider's writing ability but girl needs better material. No doubt. It's a mixed bag for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
\\ Review originally posted on The Book Addict's Guide //

Completed: September 1, 2013
Publishing Info: August 27th 2013 by Katherine Tegen
Source: ARC signed by Robyn Schneider at BEA!
Genre: Contemporary Romance (YA)
POV: First Person (Ezra)

I loved THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING. I’m just gonna put that out there right off the bat. This was such the book for me. It was witty, smart, lyrical, and heartbreaking. On top of it all, you know I’ve been loving books with a male POV lately, and that actually caught me by surprise, but in a good way!

THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING was originally titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. Confused? Allow me to explain. The story starts off with our main character Ezra. He’s still recovering from a major knee-injury that he received in a car crash and his life truly changes from that point on. No longer able to be the golden boy tennis star that he once was, Ezra finds that the loss of his golden boy status immediately affects his friendships as well — an unexpected change in his life — and he ends up reconnecting with his once close, now ostracized friend Toby. So why Severed Heads, Broken Hearts? (Which is still the UK title, by the way.) Toby became ostracized only after he coincidentally caught the severed head of a Japanese tourist after he stood up on Thunder Mountain in Disneyland. Ew, yes. But there you have it. Already a slightly dark side to the book!

Okay, now on with the review…

I really loved everything about this book. THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is to YA novels as Garden State is to movies. It was emotional, sometimes darker on the humor side, witty, sarcastic, had an unfortunate guy and a quirky girl with some secrets in her past. (Hopefully you liked Garden State because I LOVED TBOE). Sure, at times it may have been a bit over the top with some of the witticisms or perfectly interwoven situations but hey. It’s a book. You get to do that kind of stuff and make your story fit perfectly and I was so happy it did because that made all the difference in the ending. That really came together, we find out those skeletons from Cassidy’s closet, and I’m basically falling out of my chair in amazement.

Robyn Schneider created some truly remarkable characters for the reader to fall in love with. Right away, I was drawn to Ezra. Not in a swoony way, actually, but in a sense that his story was complicated and the right choices weren’t always obvious and I was really interested to see what paths he was going to choose to take.
I loved Toby. Too often the best friend character exists for there to be a best friend character, but Toby was special. He stole the show a little bit — yes, he was a bit more open and eccentric about being geektastic than Ezra was — but I think it was the history between Toby and Ezra that really added another layer to the story. I really appreciated how they had once been really close, drifted apart, and came back together again. I think it showed a lot about Toby’s character from his immediate willingness to befriend Ezra again, especially when he needed someone solid in his life.
Cassidy was quite a puzzling character and she fascinated me. I wasn’t sure if half of what she was saying was fallacy or true or some gray area in between and like Ezra, I spent the entire book trying to figure her out. Obviously there’s something she’s not sharing with us and Robyn Schneider did a great job of keeping my curiosity going. Her unpredictability was intriguing to me as well and I loved that the randomness of her character allowed the story to take curious and unexpected turns.

Then there’s this whole other aspect of the book that I fell in love with… THE MUSIC. ALL OF THE MUSIC. I died over and over again because I was like, “This book just GETS ME!!!” Vampire Weekend. Arcade Fire. THE KOOKS. Robyn Schneider, you put the freaking Kooks in this book and referenced “Seaside”!!!!! I was IN that moment with Ezra listening to “Seaside”, volume turned down low, waiting for his world to change. I am absolutely making a playlist for this book so yeah. Keep your eyes peeled for that!

I finished THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING in one sitting. I couldn’t and wouldn’t stop because I enjoyed this book thoroughly from cover to cover. I honestly loved everything about it: the humor, the music, the characters, the plot, the twists, the romance, and even the male POV. There was so much that I wasn’t expecting from THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING but they were definitely all pleasant surprises! It’s absolutely one of my favorite contemporaries of this year and Robyn, I apologize for live Instagram and tweeting you while I was reading… but thank you for this wonderful read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
wickhamyvonneyahoo com
Review from [...]

So contemporary romance is really popular in YA right now, right? And to be honest, I'm not the world's biggest contemporary fan, but I make exceptions. The Beginning of Everything is most definitely a well made exception. I hate comparing authors to John Green (mostly because you tend to get a big backlash if you do that, ugh, it's annoying) but this book had that feel to it. You know the feeling: the profound, maybe a little bit pretentious, but comical and intelligent and issue related feeling. It makes you think about life and love and friendship, and those are the contemporary books that I always end up enjoying.

What I liked: Let me start off by saying that Ezra's friend group is full of the people I wish I was friends with in high school. They constantly make references to Harry Potter (so many references!) and Doctor Who and I absolutely love it. They're quirky and unique without trying too hard. Basically, they seem like a lot of fun. Ezra is a great character, his tragedy and depth make him very real and relatable. He's interesting and flawed. He has tunnel vision in the extreme. But he's so human and you can't help but love him. Cassidy is something else. There's so much mystery surrounding her, and I know people are going to go ahead and call her a manic pixie dream girl (don't even get me started), but there's even a point where she calls Ezra out on it--refusing to believe in that title and character role. The writing is beautiful and makes you think, all while making me laugh out loud. To put it simply, I loved this book because it's about self-discovery at a time when Ezra has lost all his identity. He has a need to belong somewhere and he takes a fun/emotional/serendipitous journey to find that place.

What I didn't like: The end. For as long and beautiful as the book was, the end felt a bit rushed and unsatisfying. After everything Ezra went through, I refuse to believe it just ended the way it did. There was no resolution for Cassidy' character, it was almost like Robyn Schneider wanted her to be a manic pixie dream girl--all I wanted was for this girl to get the credit she deserved as an awesomely written character. So that was a bit hypocritical considering the big speech Cassidy gave Ezra in the end about their relationship.

This book really was everything though (no pun intended). The pop culture references were right on par, and the voice was individualistic and made you fall in love with Ezra Faulkner. It was deep without being over the top and light enough that you didn't feel like it was trying too hard. I loved this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I loved this. Loved it so much, I held my breath while I read. Loved it so much, I mourn the ending. Loved it so much, I grieve the fact that Ezra is not real.

I don't know if it was the dark reality or the sweet, poetic honesty of the messy, teenage love story. But, damn, this was just a phenomenal book, so undone before that it's beautiful despite the fact that it isn't always happy.

My favorite line: She tasted like buried treasure and swing sets and coffee.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is the first book Ive read by the splended Robyn Schneider. Fantastic vocabulary and mind blowing. It really upset me when Cassidy came out about everything the way she did and how it was later in the book, Ezra also talks about certain things I do and dont agree with and i can relate to him hilariously in true ways. I dont have any money but after reading the sample I just had to purchase it anyways and it was well worth it. Readers of John Green might absolutely love this, I know I did very much.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
This is the complete review as it appears <a href=[...]>at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV</a>. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's novels reviewed on the blog will generally have some images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a novel is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate a novel three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately).

I rated this novel WARTY!


For about 90% of this novel I was convinced I would rate it positively, but that last ten percent or so killed it for me. The ending was not only unbelievable given what we'd been told of the main two characters, it was just ridiculous.

Some people have compared this novel with the work of John Green, who I can't stand, so I am glad I didn't read any of that before I picked this up otherwise I would never have read it. This novel succeeds where the absurdly pretentious and laughably ethereal Green fails so catastrophically. Despite how bad this was in some critical parts, it still made Green's writing look like a series of bumper stickers, but in the end, the good writing wasn't nearly enough to make up for the poor plotting.

This novel began its life titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. I guess that's what happens when Big Publishing™ gets its grasping fingers on your title, because the original summed it up perfectly: there actually is a severed head and a (metaphorical) broken heart, but the real severing and breaking all takes place on the plot. I think a lot of people might presume that the new title refers to the main female character showing up in the main male character's life, but the beginning of the title is really where this novel ends.

I normally detest first person PoV novels, but this one was so well-written generally speaking, and so un-pretentious (aside from a paragraph here and there) that for the most part, I didn't even notice the 1PoV, much less become annoyed by it, so kudos and thanks to the author for that.

Ezra Faulkner and his best friend Toby Ellicot are on a roller-coaster ride at Disneyland when the guy in front of them stands up right before a low overhang, resulting in his head (sans his body) ending up in Toby's startled hands. The result of this - of the infamy that will not leave Toby alone - is a major cause in the two best friends drifting apart between the ages of twelve and seventeen, when another major event - this time affecting only Ezra, brings them back together.

In the intervening five years, Ezra has progressed (if you want to think of it that way) to become a jock (after a fashion) and a really popular guy, hanging out with other jocks and getting whatever dates he wants. He's dating cheerleader Charlotte, until he discovers her in flagrante de-dick-do with some random guy in a bedroom at a party. How Ezra can even give her the time of day after this is a mystery, but despite what she has done to him and the despicable way she had treated him when they had been dating, he never turns his back on her - although he is smart enough not to be seduced by her again, so I guess he isn't completely dumb.

Because he leaves the party early as a result of Charlotte's appalling betrayal of him, Ezra ends-up being in his car when a big Jeep SUV, which ran a stop sign, slams into him - although how the stop sign is relevant is a mystery. Ezra's knee is shattered, effectively terminating his budding tennis career, which he wasn't sure he really wanted anyway, but it means that he's now out of the rut he was in, and feeling at a loose end - if not several of them.

It's not only the rut, though. Ezra is out of things altogether for the entire summer, and he feels like an outsider when he returns to school. His old friends don't seem to want to exclude him because of his injury, but he feels excluded nonetheless, and since he's signed up for the debate team, he finds himself hanging with the artsy, nerdy crowd, which includes his old friend Toby. who adopts him without any problem during an hilarious scene at the school's pep rally.

As soon as we see mention of Cassidy Thorpe, the new, quirky girl in school, it's obvious that she's going to be Ezra's love interest, and it soon becomes obvious what her 'dark secret' is - its not dark, just obvious. The fact that there's no mention whatsoever of the name of the guy driving that jeep SUV ought to clue you in to what the nature of this secret is.

This was what was the least realistic and least believable for me and what began to sour the story. It makes no sense at all that Ezra wouldn't realize who Cassidy might be or how she might connect to his past, and it makes no sense that someone as smart as she supposedly is wouldn't put two and two together, so the big break-up at the end was disingenuous and way too forced for my taste.

Another issue I took was with Ezra's exalted jock status. He was on the tennis team for goodness sakes! That doesn't mean that he was a nobody, but I found it hard to believe, given the tight focus in college and high school on football and basketball (and everything else be damned), that he would be the star jock we're expected to believe he is. I detest the mentality that these two sports are everything and nothing else matters in schools. It's primitive and pathetic, so kudos to Schneider for not going the most traveled path here and making him a football or basketball star, but it didn't seem realistic to me that he would have the status he'd had when he was 'merely' a tennis player - and the team wasn't doing that great anyway.

Nor did it make any sense that Ezra would not have one friend among the entire team that he would hang with or talk to on the phone! Nor did it make any sense that none of his jock friends would visit him in the hospital after his accident. Nor, given what we learn of him in school that year after the accident, did it make any sense that he would have a whole heck of a lot in common with those jocks to begin with. So, for me there were a lot of twisted issues here which spelled bad writing - at least in terms of plotting.

on the positive side, I really, really liked the way this was written with regard to the repartee between the main characters. It played out so easily. It was literate, witty, funny, and engaging. I felt tempted to give it five stars just for its Doctor Who references alone, but of course, that would be very naughty of me. Had I not run into issues like the ones outlined above (and more below), I would definitely have rated this positively. What tipped the balance irretrievably into the negative was the trashy and unbelievable ending.

I don't believe a novel has to have a happy ending, although I would argue it has to have some sort of resolution at the end, so it wasn't that this ended the way it did which bothered me per se; it was that it ended the way it did despite this ending not even remotely jiving with what we'd been told about the characters for ninety percent of the novel.

As exhibit one, let's take the two main female characters in Ezra's life: Charlotte the ex and Cassidy the next. I submit to you, members of the jury, that there was - for all practical purposes - no difference between the two despite Schneider's ham-fisted effort to try and starkly differentiate them for us. I submit that despite being encouraged to believe that Cassidy was streets ahead of Charlotte for being smart, and deep, and caring, she actually was worse than Charlotte.

At least with Charlotte, what you saw was what you got. Cassidy, on the other hand, we're expected to believe, could be so shallow and blind as to betray Ezra, treat him like dirt, keep him in the dark, refuse to talk to him about a critical issue, and be so dumb that she could see no way out of their supposed dilemma than to break up with him and avoid him like the proverbial plague.

What a bunch of coyote s***.

We're expected to believe that the reason she keeps him out of her home is because of her brother and conflict with her parents, yet she's already doing this long before she knows for sure who Ezra is. It makes no sense.

I could not credit that she would totally cut Ezra off without explanation, and with outright lies given everything we'd been told about her up to that point, and given their feelings for each other. No, That does not work. I can't believe she was so dumb she never figured out what had happened - and no, confusing Ezra with a tree doesn't get you out of that jail free.

I can't believe he was so dumb that he believed her lie. I can't believe he was so dumb that he didn't figure out what was going on. OTOH, he did continue to date Charlotte despite her treating him like dirt - at least until that fateful party, so maybe he really was as dumb as he looks. Talking of which, I can't believe the driver would get away with a hit and run like that either. Yeah, it can happen, but no, it's not really credible.

Oh, and Schneider really needs to look up coyotes in wikipedia or somewhere before she starts trying to pretend that they're five feet long (yeah, if you include the tail, but that's dishonest in the context of this novel). Coyotes are only about three feet long in the body, and two feet tall. In short, they're the same size as a standard poodle, give or take.

She kept harping on the coyotes for no good reason, and the reason she mistakenly thought was good was pure bulls***. Coyotes do not behave like the one she depicted. They're not serial killers and they do not randomly approach humans with canicide in mind. And where were Ezra and Cassidy? They were right there and neither one lifted a finger, so their sadness afterwards is nonsensical.

I can't recommend this novel - not unless you're just going to read the first ninety percent of it and skip the lame ending, and even then you'd have to contend with Le Stupide.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
“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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cassandra smith
It starts with a severed head and ends with a broken heart. I'm not sure why they renamed the book to The Beginning of Everything, because the previous title captures this charming story perfectly. I just loved the charming, quirky nature of this novel, it was entertaining and hilarious, completely random and it just worked.

Ezra Faulkner was always a bit of a nerd, but he somehow fell into the popular crowd when he hit high school due to his tennis skills. But when a freak accident happens and his knee is shattered after a hit and run, he loses his jock status and joins the nerdy debate crowd at school. There he meets the mysterious new girl called Cassidy, who everyone in the debate team seems to know and his interest in her develops over the course of the novel.

Ezra's new friends - where have they been all my life? It was refreshing to read about a nerdy crew that are totally comfortable in who they are and that aren't branded as losers. They seem to have the greatest fun outside of school, gaming, debate drinking games, silent flash mobs, geocaching and watching intellectual films. Ezra just seemed to blend with them perfectly and every new activity seemed like an adventure. The novel is full of geeky references that I adored, from playing Fruit Assassin, endless Harry Potter references and zombies, they all put a smile on my face.

"Still here, Faulkner?" Luke sneered.
"Still doing that terrible impression of Draco Malfoy?" I asked.

The writing is equally as charming and it was easy to fall into Robyn Schneider's writing. It's witty and humorous and flows so well, and I fell in love with all of the characters that she has created. Toby is Ezra's childhood friend who is `kinda gay' and welcomes him back into his arms, despite Ezra ditching him at the start of high school. His dry humour was great, and I kinda loved his matter of fact outlook on being gay, but not being able to come out in high school.

"Fine! You guys can all be beautiful snowflakes! I'm going to go over here and be an awkward snowflake!" - Toby

Cassidy, she's such an unusual, mysterious character who is full of sarcasm and wit. The chemistry between her and Ezra was just bursting at the seams, with her natural intelligence and endless trivia and Ezra's obvious attraction to her. She is the female Augustus Waters of the literary world. It was refreshing to have him lusting over Cassidy but still appreciating her personality, air of mystery and intelligence. There is sex is this novel and let's face it, teenagers have sex and it was done perfectly here.

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts (aka. The Beginning of Everything) is a charming, witty and hilarious contemporary novel that everyone should read. It's intelligent, full of geek references and fills in the gaping hole left by The Fault in Our Stars quite nicely. Pick this up for a light, fun contemporary read!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. Check out for more book reviews!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ivor davies
Yes, as one reviewer said, the characters are cliche. The jocks are mean, the popular people are evil, and the nerds are cool.

But stereotypes exist for a reason. I remember high school this way, and as a high school teacher, I see that the stereotypes exist, and its the exceptions we remember.

The lead character in this book is a boy who is forced to change from one clique to another. He was the "golden boy" but an accident puts him into the nerd group, with whom he has middle-school ties. Completely plausible.

I found many of the scenes - from the debauchery in every clique to the hero standing up to the jocks who were going to make a playground dangerous - very well written. I found the search for self the main character does to be almost refreshing - yes, he resonates with some English book he's forced to read, but he ALSO resonates with resonance structures - organic chemistry - which I find to be a different take. He's not the hidden poet. He's the normal guy of above-average intelligence. And he finds his way.

I loved this book. Read it in an afternoon. It's got its depressing points, but in the end, I really found it to be a fantastic coming-of-age story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leo robertson
Oh, you guys. If The Beginning of Everything isn’t at the top of your To Read pile right now change that. For some reason this was one of those books that I knew I had to have as soon as I heard about it. Thankfully, it did not disappoint. I was enthralled within the first chapter.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider is one of those rare books that manages to be so many things without being overdone. It’s intelligent, hilarious, and heart wrenching. It’s about friendship and falling in love, but mostly it’s about finding out who you are in this big overwhelming world.

Ezra was a great main character. I found him really easy to relate to. He’s been through what he thinks his his own personal tragedy and he’s not doing too well in the aftermath. He’s depressed, with good reason. Don’t be put off that. He’s still so witty and it doesn’t last long anyway. When he starts hanging out with Toby and his group of outcasts he starts coming out of his shell. The banter and dynamics between all the characters was so well done. They were very entertaining.

The romance aspect is sweet and I really liked Cassidy, but it really does take a back seat to Ezra’s growth. It’s also not your typical YA love story, so don’t go into it expecting a perfect happily ever after.

The Beginning of Everything has a very John Green feel to it. If you like his books I think you’d enjoy this one. Robyn Schneider’s writing is really fabulous. It’s hard to believe this is her debut. The only thing that kept me from giving this one a perfect rating was the ending. It felt very…alarming to me and then it was a little neat. If you’ve read it I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Don’t let that hold you back though. It’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Read it, read it, read it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kelly anderson
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

This book was totally not what I was expecting! I remember when I requested it from Edelweiss - I think it was one of the first books I requested, and one of the first books for which I was approved. So, I've had this one for quite some time! I wasn't feeling contemporary novels for a while, but eventually, I pulled myself out of my contemporary funk, buckled down, and started this book.

I immediately found that I really liked the hero (male protagonist) of the story. This book is told in first-person point-of-view - in Ezra's point-of-view. Somehow, I missed that before I started reading, and was a tad bit confused at first. But a few pages in, the narrator is identified as "Ezra". Well, you all know how much I like reading books in the male's point-of-view. This book was written exclusively in the Ezra's point-of-view!

The story begins with Ezra's accident, which leaves him with barely any use in his legs. At a party, his girlfriend broke up with him, and when he was leaving, a black SUV drove straight into Ezra's car. He can walk, but only with a cane. He cannot play tennis anymore. When school starts, he fins that things aren't the same between him and his tennis friends. So, he becomes friends again with a boy that he grew up with, but no longer hung out with for quite some time.

Toby, the friend, is part of the Debate team, and so are his friends. So Ezra goes from being labeled the popular, Golden boy, to the crippled nerd. Enter Cassidy, the new girl, who was the rival school's top debater. Cassidy and Ezra slowly build a relationship, starting with both of them unknowingly signing up for the debate team.

Cassidy and Ezra's relationship is beautiful to watch, but there was always something about Cassidy that bothered me. Ezra knew she was hiding something from him, but he can't help liking her. They enter a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, and they go on the debate field trip, and they hang out like a normal, wonderful couple.

The addition of Toby as Ezra's friend is perfect and awesome! I loved Toby's role in this book. All of Ezra's new friends are welcoming and nonjudgmental, and they do and don't expect much from Ezra. Ezra's old friends expected him to hang out with them like a normal day, but obviously, he couldn't play tennis with them. And don't get me started on his weird ex-girlfriend.

The climax of this book is not surprising, as Cassidy's strange behavior merits, but the ending is slightly heartbreaking. I absolutely love the ending, but it's a bit sad. I think all the characters got what they deserved (good or bad). I'm happy with the way this one ended!

What I Did Not Like:

I just found this one a bit boring, but it seems like not much happens. I like seeing the progression of Cassidy and Ezra's relationship, but I feel like this book was solely based around their relationship and Cassidy's big secret. Nothing else really matters in this book, which is kind of annoying, because I wouldn't call this book contemporary romance. Contemporary, yes, romance, eh. I just wish there could have been more to the plot, you know? It seemed to simple and boring.

Would I Recommend It:

Sure! The "romance" part of this book isn't steamy or chemistry-filled, but this book is a great contemporary read that delivers an amazing and powerful message to its readers.


4 stars. I really liked this one, and I hope you do too!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michael sheppard
Robyn Schneider's novel underwent a title change from Severed Heads, Broken Hearts to The Beginning of Everything. Both titles I think are fitting for the story within, though I must say I feel a certain affection for the original, which conveys both the humor and the darkness of Schneider's witty, brilliant debut.

Ezra Faulkner theorizes that no one's life really begins until they go through a personal tragedy. This may seem an odd sort of belief, but it makes sense. Tragedy has a way of putting things in perspective. The loss of a family member, of mobility, or of social standing has a way of forcing a person to reevaluate life and decide what is really important. Realizing how tenuous and random life can be, it's crucial to spend what life you have being who you really are and with the people who really get you.

Ezra and Toby were best friends until they were fourteen. That friendship came to a halt after a tourist stood up in the row in front of them on a roller coaster at Disney, the tourist's severed head landing in Toby's arms for the rest of the ride. For the rest of high school, Toby will be that kid with the severed head. Meanwhile, Ezra grew up well, attractive and athletic, and became friends with the popular kids. He partied, dated hot girls, and planned to get a college scholarship for tennis. Then, at a party one night, a driver hit his car, leaving him crippled.

As school starts up for his senior year, the former Homecoming King doesn't feel like he belongs anywhere. He walks with a cane, his girlfriend has hooked up with his former best friend, and his plans for the future are shot. In his life's nadir, he finds a sort of freedom, though. He can now admit to being intelligent and nerdy, rediscover his friendship with Toby, and cultivate a spot with some of the school's nerds. Tragedy serves as a bridge to help him realize how unsatisfying his life up to then truly was.

Schneider's writing is fantastic. First of all, she completely captures an authentic male voice. Ezra never read like a girl to me, but neither was his narrative over the top in an effort to sell his maleness. Secondly, Schneider peppers the narrative with literary references, which, admittedly, might be alienating to some teen readers, but that I loved. Finally, there are the puns. If you do not appreciate finely tuned wordplay, you might find The Beginning of Everything pun-ishing. However, if you deem puns fine humor, you may well laugh your head off (don't worry; Toby will catch it for you).

The romance in The Beginning of Everything falls a bit into manicpixiedreamgirl territory, but it works. Ezra is taken with Cassidy immediately, with her mystery, her intelligence, and her vibrancy. She appreciates his puns and can give them back. They have great chemistry, but she always keeps her walls way way up. Why this worked for me is that Ezra falls in love with her, but in a totally high school first love sort of way, and not in a true love forever sort of way. Also, there's a realization of how little she actually was the perfect girl of his dreams.

The only aspect of the book that left me wanting was the ending. The climax that leads to the spilling of Cassidy's secrets was unexpected, despite the foreshadowing that lead up to it. That scene did not rub me the right way, and just felt a bit out of place in the novel. Plus, Cassidy's sudden opening up didn't seem fitting with what went down either. Without explaining what happened, it's hard to put this clearly, but I found what happened a bit puzzling and melodramatic.

Robyn Schneider's novel is highly intelligent and full of black humor. Fans of John Green, particularly Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, will most definitely want to read The Beginning of Everything.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
My Thoughts: I have heard really great things about this one! And I really enjoyed it alot.

We are introduced to Ezra who was popular, had a lot of friends, went to the coolest parties, and was a tennis player. Until one night, when a horrible accident left him hurting and a gimp. He has to walk with a cane, he's sore, and he'll never play tennis again they say. Nobody comes to visit Ezra in the hospital, none of his friends, so when he's back in school he's went from being popular to just a normal person. Nobody really shuns him but everyone is talking behind his back.

Enter a new girl named Cassidy. She's new to the school so she didn't know the Ezra before. They become friends and really hit it off. She's nothing like his old girlfriend but she also has a lot of issues of her own.

The only real friend Ezra realizes he has is his old friend Toby from elementary school, and of course there is Cassidy now. He just has so much trouble with everything, I feel for him.

But this was a funny book. I enjoyed it. I laughed so hard sometimes, I snickered in the middle of sentences. It was interesting, fun, and Ezra had such a great way to say things or explain things. From the first page on, I was hooked and couldn't get enough.

I don't want to say too much but I felt like this was a deeper book, it wasn't all sunshine and happy moments either. It was real and emotional for me. Cassidy's back story was crazy intense. Everything was!

This is a book you'll enjoy if you like contemps or books with real story and emotions.

Overall: I recommend it, especially if you're doing the debut challenge this year! Add it to your TBR pile! Loved the characters, the plot was interesting, and Ezra was so real!

Cover: Makes total sense, right? I think so! Roller Coaster!

What I'd Give It: 4/5 Cupcakes
Taken From Princess Bookie
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Ezra was popular, until he wasn't. Now, after an accident, his life as prom king has officially ended and he's trying to pick up the pieces and find where he fits in. Enter Cassidy, a girl who is so different, so mysterious that he can't help be drawn to her. But who is she really? And in the end, who is Ezra?

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The original title was "Severed Heads, Broken Hearts" and I think it's being released in the UK under this name. Yes, the title sounded like a zombie book. And no, I don't like this new title better. Because this new title seems generic, bland. And this book is anything but.

I love Ezra, his inner struggles with identity and trying to figure out where he fit in after his accident. He has such a full character arc, changing from a broken kid mourning his previous life to a self assured young man who knows himself.

Cassidy doesn't talk about her past, or the troubles she faces. Through the entire book, she remains detached, a mystery, a blurry object that falls through your fingers. But that's why I liked her. Because in the end, this is about Ezra, not about Cassidy. And I love Ezra more for it.

I especially loved the misfit of characters that were the debate team. Their dialogue was easy and flowing, and while reading I felt like I was one of their friends too.
The book has some funny and heartwarming moments. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story, and how sad I was when it was over. I spent many stolen moments opening the book, even if I could read just one page.

Overall, a wonderful story.
Read this!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I liked it. I was not the most impressed with it, but whatever. I think that the plot was good, but it could have been so much better than this. I liked the meaning of the book. I think it's not a kind of book that everyone should read, but if your the kind of person that likes YA drama, I do recommend this to you. I loved that the main character was handicapped, because it sort of shows how it's hard to live within the accident that happened. I think that this story is one of the only ones that you can relate to real life. That's why I liked it, because it was actually accurate and this story must have happened in real life...

Anyway, **Spoilers are coming**

I'm watching The Great Gatsby right now and it's the part of the accident and it reminds me of the book obviously. The number of times that we referred to Gatsby was crazy! But, I loved the movies that they made and now I must really read the book. The story of Gatsby is sort of like Ezra's if you think about it really. Ezra get's the success of being the popular kid and stuff and an accident changes everything! Gatsby dies because of the accident. Ezra sort of died too from the accident from the inside... Daisy is sort of like Cassidy. Sometimes there off, and sometimes there in love and stuff and that frustrates me. They're like elastics! They go close to was they want and then they push it away! I hate that Cassidy pushed him away like that. I was sort of starting to like there relationship and then she destroyed it because of her brother that died...
I don't know if you guys saw it coming, but I knew from the beginning of the phone call of the one that he talked of the accident right before the dance that something was wrong. I taught that maybe she would have caused the accident and that she couldn't bear it or that one member of her family had died from that accident. Well... I WAS RIGHT!! I just knew it :) I just hated that she made up that reason that he was just for her amusement and shit like that!! I was so mad! I just couldn't believe that she could do that! But then Toby's theory with her brother made everything fit together! I was just so surprised that she wouldn't want to talk to him and that she ignored him. It was just too much!
Because of her...well in a way, the dog Cooper died :( I knew that the coyotes had to do something with the ending because it kept coming again. I just taught it was useless, why did the go had to die! He was innocent! I also didn't understand the big thing with the Disneyland experience in the beginning... I just taught that was a little weird, no? The severed head thing... arg it just traumatizes me! Who would think of a horrible thing like that?! I had to read that like 5 times because I wasn't really sure if that was that that happened.. I think after reading that I don't really want to go to Disneyland.
I taught that Charlotte was the realest person in the book! Everyday, I meet a dumb girl like her. I just hate those typical type of girls that are like that! They insult me! They're just the fakest people you could ever meet! They are just willing to do what everyone else does, sort of like the people that love what Miley Cyrus is doing to herself and the influence that she puts on others. I hate them!
The love story was good, just hoped they would come back in the ending together, but it was a good ending for this book... I loved that she was mysterious and I just wanted to know more about her. I loved there cute relationship, but I think there was missing a couple of details and it should have been longer. Overall It was a good book, I enjoyed it.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
christina amoroso
I started reading this book because I had the privilege of meeting Robyn Schneider while she was on the Story Crush tour. I have to say that this book is as remarkably quirky and maybe a little awkward, reminiscent of the author in all of the best ways. Contemporary young adult literature isn't something that I always reach for on the shelves; the storytelling nearly always needs to rely on the characters and their development. I think that this is something that The Beginning of Everything did nicely. At some points the characters could become so eccentric the novel took on an aura of absurdity, though in the end it definitely recovered from this and turned into a book that I'll definitely need to read again.
Ezra Faulker. Not exactly a normal name for a guy who isn't very normal. He experiences his personal tragedy in the beginning of the book (and, being a tennis player myself, some of what he experienced afterward pummeled my emotions). He basically realizes that his life can never return to what it had been before his tragedy but it's the only way he's known of living so he can't even begin to fathom how things can still work out alright for him.

Enter his new group at school. I definitely think a lot more could have been done with this supporting cast of diverse characters. I wanted to see more conflict and things that would make me incredibly interested and attached to these characters. Usually this group was only pulled in for little bits of amusement, quirky details, or to stir up a little drama that tended to peter out once that conflict was no longer necessary to the plot. This was one of the stronger objections I had to some part of this novel.

Otherwise, it really entertained me and once I got going it only took me two days to read through. At that point I was so overwhelmed by what I'd read that I needed to sit on it for a little while before I could write this review. I couldn't help but feel proud of Ezra at the conclusion of the book . . which made me realize how emotionally attached I'd gotten to him. The other characters, even Cassidy, were good to me but not great. I'm glad that the focus of the novel really had the chance to shine.

I'd definitely recommend this book if you need a good contemporary read. It might take a little while to get into but it'll leave you satisfied at the end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I have so many reviews I need to write, I honestly didn't intend on writing one for this book, but it left such an impact on me that I can't help myself. This book made it onto my all-time favorites, which, according to Goodreads, only consists of 69 of the nearly 900 books I've read. I really can't recommend it enough.

This book is perfect for fans of John Green. The quirky writing style reminded me of him, as well as the nerdy characters and the heartbreaking ending. Oh, the writing. Sometimes, books have these rare and perfect quotes that just relate so much to what you're going through at the time you read it. That's how this book was for me. There are so many fantastical lessons to be learned from this book; like how to make choices for yourself and to not let other people tell you how to live your life. I know that may sound corny and obvious, but it's true. This book just struck a chord with me.

Plus, the Doctor Who references just made it even more awesome. And the characters and romance? Don't even get me started. The romance is so real and bittersweet, it will break your heart. And the characters' stories completely resonated with me. I could go on all day about how wonderful and relatable they were, but this is supposed to be a mini-review, so I'll keep it short and sweet. Basically: whether you're a contemporary fan or not, The Beginning of Everything is a must-read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jake leech
Ezra is no longer on top of the school. Since his accident, he's fallen down the social ladder a few rungs, or so he thinks.With his new outlook at his popularity he begins hanging out with an old friend and a band of misfits (drama and debate kids). He's torn between two worlds though when his old friends seem unwilling to let him go. Ezra has to decided what would be his bigger tragedy, his accident or losing his new friends to return to his old ones.

If you start this book and don't instantly want to devour the rest of it...there's no hope converting you to this book. It was such a great read. Ezra wasn't my favorite character in the world, but he wasn't my least favorite. He was a quite self-conceited and wasn't great at looking at the bigger picture. He struggled a lot trying to overcome his tragedy, which while difficult, could have been worse.

Cassidy is a very broken girl, and I can see why Ezra would latch onto her. She's an entirely different breed of girl than Ezra is used to with his old group of friends. She was a very realistic character though. Sometimes we act a certain way and say stupid things, because we have momentary lapses in judgement. It has probably happened to everyone at some point. As a person we often don't know what is best for us, or if we do, don't want to except it.

I found it very believable that his old clique would still want him around. He was on top of the world, and while some people were probably glad to see him fall, it doesn't make them less in love with him. His friends were really his friends, in their own way. On the other side of this, I can see why his new friends are weary of him. He's a foreign intruder into their comfortable space and that is bound to make people defensive. I liked his new group of friends better and I think you're supposed to. They were an interesting bunch though.

I don't think I'm doing a great job at selling this book so I'll stop soon. Just try it. If you like realistic fiction I'm sure you'll adore this one. Be warned that there are some feels in this book though, so be prepared.

First Line:
"Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their noses at stoplights could be only moments away from disaster."

Favorite Line:
"It was so adorable that I almost threw up all over my adorable pile of fries."

Read more: [...]
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Ezra Faulkner - golden boy whose gold quickly tarnished. See, Ezra believes everyone goes about their uneventful, seemingly meaningless life up until they come upon their personal tragedy. Something so terrible, that everything changes from that point on. Ezra got his tragedy a few days before his junior prom. An accident that caused his simple life plan of going onto college and get a free ride off of a tennis scholarship shattered within seconds. His friends turned out to not be there for him at all and he became a shell of the person he thought he was. Then Cassidy Thorpe comes along and he gets his best friend, Toby, back and he finds who he really is.

This book does do a great job at analyzing and breaking down high school. A place filled with friends who aren’t really friends and social boundaries that would seem ridiculous elsewhere, as stereotypical as it sounds. This is quite a simple story of someone who was living the life everyone else expected him to live up until he decided to find himself in the aftermath of his tragedy.

I liked this book, I really did. Ezra seems like a complex guy. Cassidy seems like an even more complex girl. There is a plot twist right at the end, that just didn’t do it for me. - Bianca B. (teen)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eric hora
Ezra Faulkner is a golden boy floating through high school on a path predetermined by others -- his shallow tennis club chronies, his cheerleader girlfriends, his corporate lawyer dad. But then tragedy strikes -- that one pivotal moment that changes everything into before and after, that gives life a new beginning. No longer able to play sports, Ezra is unsure of where he stands in the social hierarchy. And then in walks in his best friend from back in the day, captain of the debate team, and an entirely different world. An an entirely different girl.

I read THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING in one sitting, as in, I checked my watch at some point and realized it was 2 am, but I only had 40 pages to go, so... At first, Ezra's voice felt a little... off. But that's just him -- an intellectual jock with a penchant for puns, semi-obscure references, and a quirky perspective on life. After that first chapter of backstory, it was easy to slip into his life. The book's pacing is fast, the dialogue is sharp and witty, his entourage interesting, his emotions true to life, and his insights simultaneously realistic and profound. The romance and turmoil feel real without ever slipping into overbearing

While this was a fantastic book that I would eagerly recommend to the right person, it does have it's caveats:
-- I figured out the "surprise" ending (or something close to it) two-thirds of the way through the book. That made the ending feel a tad overlong, while he was working out the details, and while the explanation was being given, but it was nonetheless a page turner.
-- the book features a lot of underaged drinking (almost all of it in the form of binge drinking; some of it glamourized, some of it not), a lot of sexual innuendo, some promiscuity, and a couple of instances of "outercourse" (a word whose meaning I discovered while reading said book.) The book's suggest reading age is 13+ and grade 8+,,, so just use personal discretion as to what is appropriate for you/your child
-- the evil ex-girlfriend is predictably cliche, but it works.
-- the characters are well-read, and their dialogue not entirely like a fast game of intellectual volleyball a la John Green... great if you're the type to eat this stuff up (which obviously I am), but potentially frustrating otherwise
-- the book is set in a wealthy suburban enclave with five-bedroom McMansions being the norm, and a public school riddled with AP courses and extracurriculars; the setting works seemlessly with the book, but the mundane preoccupations of the rich may not be for everyone

So, if you're looking for smart, realistic fiction that is both poignant and witty, and you're not bothered by the PG-13 aspects, this book is for you. If not, I don't think Ezra Faulkner would hold it against you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jerry cook
When a hit-and-run driver rams 17-year-old Ezra Faulkner's BMW Z4 and shatters his knee, it also shatters his life as he knows it. Captain of the tennis team, class president, top student, Ezra was king of his high school in his junior year. He dated a gorgeous and sexy cheerleader, Charlotte Hyde. He was sure of receiving an athletic scholarship to a prestigious college. All that ended with the accident.

In a believable first-person voice, Ezra explores the question "who am I now?" while navigating the difficulties of his senior year. It's bad enough that he has to use a cane and can barely get up and down the stairs; now he has to watch Charlotte cozy up to the new tennis team captain. He wonders: did she ever like Ezra for himself or just for the status she got from being his girlfriend?

This could have been a whiny why-me novel, but fortunately there's enough action to keep things moving: parties and conflicts, school and sports, flash mobs and debate tournaments. (FYI: also sex and alcohol.) Ezra is searching for answers but he hasn't lost his wry sense of humor. He finds himself thrown together with Cassidy Thorpe, newly transferred from a prep school "out east," who hides a tragedy of her own. Pulled back and forth between his old friends, the popular jocks with whom he can no longer compete, and new friends who are not at all what he expected, Ezra must redefine himself in a suddenly unpredictable world.

I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 because when the big reveal comes at the end, I had already put the pieces together and wasn't altogether surprised. Still, a thought-provoking story. I'm glad I read it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kay harding
3.5 stars

This is a weird review for me to write, because while I liked and enjoyed this book, I also have some major issues with it. Mostly I can sum it up by saying that I liked the story, I just wish the writing had been different.

The story starts with the tale of how Evan, the main character’s former best friend, became a social outcast when he caught the severed head of the tourist in front of him on a roller coaster at DisneyLand. It this an interesting, gruesome story? Absolutely. Does it do anything for the story besides add shock value? In my opinion, no.

Ezra is this golden boy, although after getting to know him over the course of the book I find it difficult to believe. He’s the star of the tennis team, the the junior class president, and pretty much that guy. Then he gets into a terrible car accident and is absent for senior class board elections, misses the last few weeks of school, and spends the summer by himself trying to learn to walk again and come to terms with never being able to play sports again.

This brings me to my first big issue: from the beginning of the book I just didn’t buy that Ezra would have gone from being Mr. Supreme Popularity to a social no one simply because he shattered his leg and wasn’t a tennis star or the student council president. No one visited him in the hospital? No one ostracized his cheating girlfriend (I’m not saying that would be right, but that seems like something catty high school students would love to do)? If anything I think getting in a car accident would make him more popular in this crazy high school world. Like everyone would want to vote for him in absentia, I just think high school kids love something to rally around.

So senior year starts and Ezra is pretty convinced that none of his old friends want anything to do with him even though they do act like they still want to hang out. Eventually I decided that Ezra didn’t really like his friends before (in the brief glimpse we saw before the accident he seemed to be bothered by them) and rather than having to learn to deal with his former friend’s rejection he’s actually learning to deal with his own realization that he doesn’t want to be friends with them.

Which brings me to big issue number two: I couldn’t really tell if the book was trying to be serious/whimsical or whimsical/witty, but I don’t think it really succeeded at either. Ezra repeatedly says how he’s not a serious academic so he’s not really able to make intelligent, funny observations about his high school classmates and while Cassidy, the love interest, does have some intellectual points they felt kind of forced and kind of from left field. But the book was written in a style that made me think that was what the author was going for. I’m sorry Robyn Schneider, but your writing style just didn’t work with this type of story, in my opinion.

As the story went on I continued to really like the story, I just wished someone else had been writing it. I thought Ezra joining the debate team and trying to figure out who he wanted to be was interesting and it really rang true to me, I just hated the way it was handled. I never really got into the romance because I figured it wouldn’t end well. I’ve read the guy falls for the mysterious new girl and gets burned story enough times to know how it works and there was nothing about this one that made it special.

Quite a few important, big things happen right at the end of this book and they happen, are kind of dealt with, and then the book is over. I absolutely hate when authors do this. I feel like it’s selling the characters short and it leaves us readers hanging. And, looking back at this book a couple weeks after reading it I literally have no idea how it ended. I like a book with staying power and this one doesn’t have it.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed this story and The Beginning of Everything definitely held my interest, but I still wish someone else would have written it. Obviously Robyn Schneider is capable of coming up with an interesting storyline and good characters, but there was kind of this snobby, intellectual vibe lurking in the background that didn’t fit with the story and just wasn’t that well done.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maryann huber
When Ezra's leg is shattered in a car accident, he is forced to reevaluate what matters in his life. No longer comfortable with his popular, jockish crowd, he reconnects with a childhood friend, joins the debate team, and falls for the mysterious new girl, Cassidy. As worldly and spontaneous as she is, Cassidy is holding something back, and it's obvious that she's not being completely honest with Ezra. One devastating night, Ezra realizes that Cassidy will never truly open up to him.

I really liked Ezra as a narrator. His cynicism allows him to observe a world he no longer belongs in: a school of privileged kids in McMansions, driving BMW's, and throwing keggers. I enjoyed the antics of Ezra and his offbeat group of new friends. The conclusion delivered a nice little twist, demonstrating why Cassidy was such a tragic character. Despite the disturbing connection Cassidy reveals she has with Ezra, she enabled him to be an individual and to aspire for more than just settling for the status quo.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
What defines you? What if everything that made you "you" changed in an instant? Where would you go from there? These are the questions asked within the pages of THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robyn Schneider, a contemporary that will likely appeal to fans of "hipster" fiction.

Although the novel's previous title, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, fit the overall mood of the novel, the new title THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING fits the book's themes. About a young high school soon-to-be senior, Ezra, the novel focuses on the changes that occur in his life before and after a tragic hit-and-run accident. Damaged, Enzra can no longer reign as the star tennis player at his school, or as boyfriend of the most popular cheerleader, or as leader of the social pack. Without these statuses which previously defined him, Ezra invokes his inner wallflower and finds that he actually likes it there.

While a very thoughtful and gorgeously written read, I did find a few faults with THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING. One of which is the "good" versus "evil" status that exists between the social groups in Ezra's high school. Granted, this idea is highly realistic as to the way things are with kids as this age, especially in the richest areas of southern California, the constant reminder proved repetitive early on. Really, I think I am just over the whole "us" versus "them" attitude that kids have in high school. Labels? Blah... Oh, and overused hipster dialogue that contributes nothing to the novel? Double blah...

Ezra adopts a highly realistic "woe is me" attitude after his accident. This attitude eventually turns into numbness and resignation. Much of the changes with regard to his attitude are self-induced, as a direct result of the injuries caused by his accident. Essentially, Ezra's battle is more of a battle within - a point that I certainly appreciated.

Then along comes a girl... Ah, Cassidy. While she was an interesting character full of personality and zingy one-liners, she is actually the one other fault I found with THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING. Ezra eventually becomes completely preoccupied by this girl, and I can see why since she is nothing like any of the girls he has ever known. She is thrilling, she offers him an escape - yet eventually the thrill of the chase almost becomes his entire reason for being (since apparently he doesn't have any other "reason for being"...) Cassidy frustrated me. As a romantic interest for Ezra, she did very little for this reader. For reasons unknown to us, aside from the fact that "Cassidy could be here one day and gone the next", we learn very little about her until the very end of the novel - and at that point we really don't know whether we should love her or strangle her. Even still, she plays a large part in bringing about the changes within Ezra.

While I loved the ending (I found one part of it to be highly realistic and appreciated the position in which it put the characters) I did find the larger conflict to be slightly contrived. I have seen this plot twist before, multiple times even, though I did not see it coming in THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING until it actually happened/was revealed to us. At that point I was all: Seriously? This is the conflict you are going to put in front of Ezra? Sigh... Well. At least it resolves things for our characters the way I hoped it would...

All in all, THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING was an enjoyable read, but a few things kept me from loving it. Even still, I can't help but recommend it to readers of contemporary teen fiction. Also, if you've read The Perks of Being a Wallflower and are looking for something along the same lines, you might want to check this one out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shabnam morakabatchian
This book has a lot of things I really love. A male narrator, a quirky love interest and a whole cast of great characters. I also love that its a sort of in-between novel. It's not super heavy reading, but it's not fluff either. There are plenty of 'issues' in the book without it being an 'issue' book. It had funny parts, sad parts and parts that made me angry. It brought out a full range of emotions and I enjoyed that.
I really liked Ezra a lot and it's amazing that a female author has created such a realistic (feeling) male character. He felt very real to me and very genuine. We see some before stuff right at the beginning of the book, and then we see when he's become the most popular boy in school, and then we see him after his accident and when he starts to realize he's someone else (not literally). We watch as he struggles to find himself, but there's not really any crazy epiphany or dramatic scenes. Ezra is a pretty calm guy and kind of a go with the flow sort of person. He did okay with the popular kids so he had stuck with them, but now he's kind of seeing that that's not him and he doesn't really even like them that much.
The characters in this book were all great. I love a full cast of well crafted secondary characters and this book definitely had it. Cassidy was a quirky girl that we knew was full of secrets. I found myself trying to figure it all out and while I had a decent idea of a twist, that twist had a twist. So I didn't exactly predict, but I was close. Cassidy was someone that was fun to read about but in real life girls like her are really stressful. They put out this exterior persona to hide themselves and you just never really know them. For that reason I felt very bad for Ezra because I knew there was going to be some drama at some point (and what kind of story would it be without any conflicts or drama?). The ending was a sort of in between one, it was kind of a HEA, but yet kind of not. I felt pretty satisfied with it though and I feel like it was realistic, which is what this book needed.
The book felt a tad slow in parts, but I was never bored. It's kind of 'quiet' story I guess, with just a few 'louder' scenes. But it's a fun journey and I enjoyed taking it very much!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book was so great!! Besides that, the audio made it better for me. This book sucked me right in and held me close throughout! Starting off with a tragic accident, it instantly had my attention. I then slowly, but surely became totally wrapped up in Ezra's story and his life. I loved the friendships formed, and even the friendships lost. I felt a true sense of how it really is in high school, so it felt very real to me. This could have been anyone's story that I was reading, not a fiction tale. I actual started to feel like I really knew the characters by the time I finished this book. The audio just made it that much better. Also, a note on the title. This book was originally going to be titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts which was fitting, but I think that The Beginning of Everything is a perfect title and fits the book really well.

Ezra was a character that you can't help but love. Well, I couldn't anyways. I loved his humor and he was really a great guy. Yes, he made some not so great decisions, but who doesn't when you're that age. He isn't the stuck up popular guy, even when he is popular. After his accident, he isn't himself, but he doesn't let it destroy him. He still keeps his sense of self. He is still a fun person. He still wants friendships that mean something. High school is a tough place though. Trying to find his place between being Mr. Popular, and being with his old friend Toby (and new ones) is a fine line that he's not quite secure walking. He does mess up, but ultimately he knows what is right and wrong, and who is really a good friend.

Cassidy is the other main character in this. Cassidy is like his new start. She is different, not afraid to speak what's on her mind, and still quite mysterious too. She makes him want to open up and be himself, not what other people want him to be. He isn't afraid to do that around her. He doesn't change to please her though, he just lets himself show because he feels like she lets him do that. She was his stepping stone in a way. I loved watching their relationship grow.

The reader captured Ezra perfectly. I thought that his voice matched his character well. I wasn't a huge fan of the female voices or a few of the other male voices, but it was easy to tell each character apart. Since this is largely Ezra's story, I have to say that this reader was a great choice though. I think he really brought the book to life.

This book had so much to offer. The plot was wonderful and the character growth was incredible. Robyn Schneider sure writes characters that you can easily relate to, connect with, become friends with. I felt like I was making friends right along with Ezra. When things weren't going well, I ached with him. I felt the story all around me. I was part of it. I thought the writing was beautiful, and even though it was emotional at times, the humor kept it from having too much of a serious feel. It was a fantastic combination of awesome! I will be looking out for more books from this author!

* An audiobook copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
evan folkman
This is one of those stories where I can honestly say I was hooked from page one. Here, let me give you a little looksie at how this story begins:

"Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their nose at stoplights could be only moments away from disaster. That everyone's life, no matter how remarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary - a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen."

Yep, completely and utterly hooked.

The Beginning of Everything is told from Ezra's POV. Ezra has suffered a huge tragedy that has forever changed his life. As the future tennis superstar and prom king, with the prettiest girl in school on his arm, Ezra, the Golden Boy, had it all. He was the most popular guy in school, and he knew it. After the horrific event he's forced to reevaluate himself and his future life, and accept the fact that things will be forever different.

"The way I see it, everyone has a tragedy."

This story really made me think. It's true... everyone seems to have something, a life-changing incident or "tragedy", that really makes you who you are. I know mine. It's nothing like what Ezra went through, but it's a form of "tragedy" that I went through that shaped me into who I am today. Because of that, I really connected with this story on a personal level.

I absolutely adored the characters in this story. Ezra, as our MC, immediately melted my heart. I felt for him, for both his loss physically and mentally. That's a lot for a teenager to go through, and the way his feelings and his thinking were displayed through his conduct and dialog was perfect. He was so strong, yet vulnerable. He was a prime example of suffering in silence.

Cassidy, the debate team star from another school, was so different from the other girls at Ezra's school. There's a mystery surrounding her, which really helped carry the story in a great direction. Toby, which we discover in the first chapter also suffered a horrifically graphic tragedy himself several years ago, proved that you can learn and grow when bad things happen, and become better because of them.

The fact that this story was told from Ezra's POV really brought it home for me. He had such a sarcastic and witty nature about him, I couldn't help becoming attached to his character. His mere demeanor was laugh-out-loud funny! I wish I knew Ezra in real life... we would definitely be friends. :)

I enjoy "real" stories. Everything's not always rainbows and butterflies. And because of the realistic nature of this story, I loved it until the bitter end. It had all the feels. A coming-of-age story about personal growth and learning to make good things out of the bad. Fair warning - grab a few tissues!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cindi blyberg
Now this book is a Must Read!! The Beginning of Everything was one crazy and addicting read because of the amazing plot and the craziness of high school. It makes you think how one day you are popular then next you are at the bottom of the high school ladder. Golden boy Ezra Faulkner was the star of the Tennis team, had the beautiful girlfriend, then an accident happens and his knee is injured. He goes through a depression of sorts.

Ezra was an upcoming tennis star and one night in an accident his knee is injured and he distances himself from his friends and his popular status. When his friends turn him away, his girlfriends starts dating his friend. With the accident behind him, Ezra will have to find another thing to do because he cannot play sports now. He also admits to being intelligent and to rediscover his relationship with Toby after so long.

When they were best friends until the age of fourteen but after the horrible accident on the rollercoaster at Disney, the tourist's head then landed in Toby's lap! (hence the original title- Severed Heads, Broken Hearts) I really did love Toby through out the book, he was a great supporting character who made the characters have fun with his personality. But after that day Ezra was never close to Toby, he

Cassidy is definitely a character who in a way resembles Ezra. She is smart and carefree while he is more reserved. There relationship was a unique one. There is not any insta-love but with this, we can see the characters fall in love. They were friends at first (with a lot of bantering and not so friendly encounters). Cassidy is a mystery, she is brilliant and she opens Ezra to a new side of himself that he never knew. The romance is slow yet it works. Ezra takes an interest in Cassidy immediately, and they have chemistry, but she always holds back and never opens herself to Ezra. She does like his buns and is very snarky in return. There is the realization of how she actually is the perfect girl for him because they are more alike than it seems. She opens him up to the debate team and many other things.

The Beginning of Everything was told beautifully and it is definitely is one of my favorites of this year. The entire story was phenomenal and it hooked me from the beginning. The writing was humorous and full of drama. This book will not disappoint! Ezra is a very complex character going through a lot. Overall it was fun, romantic and self-discovery of who you are. Robyn Schneider is another we definitely have to watch. I liked the ending at the same time it was clever. This is a book of coming of age and you must have this on your shelf!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amber ellis
Ezra Faulkner believes that everyone has a tragedy in their lives. That one formative moment that will forever define them in terms of the before and the after. For some people that tragedy involves a severed head. For others it can be as mundane as a broken heart.

For Ezra, it starts with a cheating girlfriend and ends with a shattered knee that destroys his athletic career and, along with it, everything Ezra has used to define himself for years. Suddenly, Ezra is no longer at the top of the high school social ladder. He isn't a part of his circle of friends. He will never play Varsity tennis again.

Instead Ezra has to start over, complete with his super trendy annoying cane and wrist brace, to try and find a place for himself. Along the way he is adopted by the school misfits, joins the debate team, and falls hopelessly into the orbit of Cassidy Thorpe.

Effortlessly vivid and mysterious, Cassidy immediately fascinates Ezra the way she does everyone else. With her sharp wit and humor, it's easy to fall for her, especially when she is always bringing Ezra on adventures. But, much like her appearance at Ezra's school, nothing to do with Cassidy Thorpe is quite what Ezra expects.

During a year spent redefining himself in the wake of his own tragedy, Ezra has to decide what it means when some people can't--or won't--move past their personal tragedy in The Beginning of Everything (2013) by Robyn Schneider.

The Beginning of Everything is a clever, often quirky, coming-of-age story. Schneider ably captures Ezra's voice in a narration that is surprisingly insightful while remaining sardonic and never, ever becoming pretentious. Set in California, Schneider brings a sprawling suburban town to life from the school's food court and classes down to the high security of each gated community.

There are a lot of things to enjoy in The Beginning of Everything including Schneider's nods to The Great Gatsby and the humor and optimism she maintains in what could have been a weighty, sad narrative. With so many strengths, it is the cast of characters that set The Beginning of Everything apart as Schneider skillfully creates an ensemble where even the most minor characters feel like they are just waiting to star in their own novel.

Schneider packs in an array of literary and pop culture references ranging from the Panopticon to Neopets to Banksy with a smattering of foreign vocabulary thrown in to taste. Ezra's story is both familiar and original as Schneider brings a whole new dimension to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope and effectively turns the very idea of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl completely upside down. Equal parts breezy and smart, The Beginnign of Everything is a delight.

Possible Pairing: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Girl Overboard by Justina Chen, Paper Towns by John Green, The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2013*
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
molly sheridan
I'm not going to lie, when I first picked up The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, the retrospective first person point of view threw me in its unusualness. But, after a few chapters, once I was more acclimated, the wit and heart of the lyrical writing truly pulled me in, and I felt silly for not seeing it right away.

Ezra Faulkner is forced into the kind of self-discovery we all hope to have, but that many of us are too afraid to really attempt. After a car accident leaves the once top tennis player permanently benched with a seriously damaged knee, he no longer fits in with his athlete friends. Yet, something many would see as totally negative, for Ezra is ultimately more bittersweet. For the first time, Ezra is able to see how superficial and unsupportive the people he called his friends really were. Open to forging new friendships, Ezra meets new girl Cassidy Thorpe and reunites with his childhood best friend, whose unusual tragedy years early cemented him on the unpopular list, ultimately separating him from Ezra. Surrounded by people who actually care about and challenge him for the first time, Ezra is finally asked what he wants, who he is, and most importantly who he wants to be. Discovering the answers to these questions propels Ezra in a completely different direction than he was headed before, this time, on his own terms.

The Beginning of Everything is a coming of age story, unrivaled in quality of storytelling by any of its contemporaries. Schneider beautifully captures and represents a guy on the peak of major self-discovery, and the people who help him along the ride. While there is no specific plot focus, or major tension that needs to be solved, the clear focus on Ezra and his search to figure himself out never feels stagnant, or leaves you feeling as though there is not a specific direction to the story. The writing is beautifully lyrical, and flows so perfectly that major plot points, puzzles, and bits of foreshadowing are laid, but they're so casually and cleverly included that you absorb them in the same way you do every other detail. My favorite part of the novel is how everyone is fallible. It is their imperfections - their pasts, their secrets, and insecurities, which act as the catalyst, which brings the characters together, or in some cases, pulls them apart. Ezra's friendships, and especially his relationship with Cassidy, are some of the most honest representations of how difficult a relationship can be, that I have seen in a long time.

The Beginning of Everything is a must read. It will make you laugh with its sharp wit, cry with the injustice of Ezra's past and current circumstance, and most importantly you will never want to reach the last page because leaving Ezra's world is almost a painful for the reader, as walking without a cane is for Ezra. I absolutely loved this book.

Rating 10/10

*** I received a copy of this novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.

This review and others like it are available at
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stephani itibrout
Loved Ezra's voice... Funny and captivating. Exactly what a male protagonist should be. The first person pov works well here, and Robyn Schneider the author is a great storyteller through Ezra. Ezra was sarcastic and tragic, making heavy and light of just the right things. He was brutally honest at times, but also knows how to tell the story without being gratuitous or grusome, but still getting his point across. I just loved the writing style so much!
I reviewed this because I loved the synposis, the weird first name of Severed heads, broken hearts (before it changed to the Beginning of Everything) intrigued me, and especially since it was on Edelweiss, though I would have eventually bought or got from the library.
Friendship with Toby was good too and hate they went apart for a while but story would have been different. Makes me think about all the little decisions that really effect so much. I adored Toby because he took Ezra right back into his circle without question. He gave him a hard time only in that I love you man ragging kind of way, letting him know by saying the opposite that he accepts him.
Cassidy is the love interest in this one, and she is elusive, seems not to care what others think, just is her own person. I liked her, and wanted to know more about her, and only very little by little did it come out. I think that her and Ezra work together, and though there is a bit of insta-love it seems more at first like physical attraction and seeing a wounded part of each other's soul and connecting that way. So, it worked for me, but I can see how it might not for some others.
I really enjoy the debate group too. What made this awesome was just that everyone was realistic. No one was perfect, and had their strengths and weaknesses. They were more than one dimensional as well, which is awesome.
The ending is so bittersweet, because some of the things I wanted to happen and work out didn't but ultimately we see this huge character growth and development in Ezra that somehow made it all worth it.

Bottom Line: Awesome witty writing style, a bittersweet character driven story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
trina chambard
Clever, witty and real, Robyn Schneider's second novel under her real name is a great one. It reminded me of early John Green books (Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns) because the narrator is observant and strong. Ezra Faulkner is writing his college essays on how tragedy changes us and takes the readers back to his senior year of high school. Before he had it all - gorgeous girlfriend, popularity, tennis team captain - Ezra was a dork with a best friend named Toby. At Disneyland on a ride, Toby catches a boy's severed head and soon after their friendship ends.

After a particularly normal evening years later, Ezra gets into an accident which leaves him crippled. Despite this, he is still himself - wryily funny and smart. He is an observer. I think fans of Quentin in PAPER TOWNS by John Green or Miles in LOOKING FOR ALASKA will enjoy Ezra. After this accident, his whole world has changed. He no longer has a spot on the Homecoming council, he can't play tennis, his friends have moved on and has his girlfriend. Left to his own devices, Ezra finds himself back in a circle of friends with Toby and learns that maybe he was too hard on the guy in the past. With Toby's help and redhead, new girl Cassidy, Ezra joins the debate team and finds that he *gasp* likes it! Soon he's fallen into a pun-filled, nerdy group of genuine friends and in possibly love with Cassidy. But Cassidy's hiding something and Ezra's determined to figure out what it is...

Ezra READ like a guy! Props to Robyn for doing this flawlessly. Some opposite gender writers tend to write too girly guys or too macho-y ladies...but Robyn didn't. I also LOOOOVED the humor in this one and the geeky references- Star Wars, Doctor Who, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc.

Why 4 stars then?

Cassidy felt a little too perfect for me. Very maniac pixie dream girl. Her secret reveal didn't feel strong enough and the last half felt rushed. Sometimes, the writing felt like it was trying too hard to be clever when it could just relax.

Ultimately though I'd highly recommend this one. GO OUT AND BUY IT PEOPLE! :-D
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jee koh
Beautiful Words - Wonderful Characters
This book is filled with words that are just beautiful! The writing was so easy and effortless that I was so drawn into this book like it's not happening so very often. I was glued to the pages drawing every word into myself until I wanted to live in this book. Yes, I know big word, but that's how I felt. Ezra who tells us his story here was a perfect narrator and it was so easy to get lost into his story full of tragedies, humor, romance and finding his true self. Together with a vast cast of amazingly real and touching characters and I was totally and completely enthralled.

"If really everything does get better the way everyone claims, then happiness should be graphable. You draw up an X axis and an Y axis, where a positive slope represents a positive attitude, plot some points, and there you go. But it's crap, because better isn't quantifiable. ARC - The Beginning of Everything"

Broken Golden Boy - what now?
I loved Ezra! Loved loved loved this boy! He had everything before the accident , super popular athletic and a golden future. Then after the accident and being crippled he refused to just got back to his old life. Oh, of course he was sauer, no he was devastated and broken and refused old friendships - but then on the other side, this was his chance to look at himself and see himself in a whole different life. Who is Ezra without all the popular kids surrounding him and being a star-athlete?

Ezra finally learns what real friendship feels like, who his real friends are and he learns about things that are more important than winning the next game or getting drunk.

I loved following this slow and subtle learning and recognizing his true and real self. I was perfectly outlined without being patronizing and without wanting to lecture us. Now, we just feel the tiny shift in Ezra's personality and his final awakening as the boy he was always supposed to be!

The Girl That Helped...
There was romance, thank goodness there was sweet and utterly endearing romance taking up a good part of Ezra's healing. Cassidy was a wonderful quirky and unusual character without being totally out of the ordinary. She was just the perfect girl to help Ezra without actually talking about the pink elephant (=meaning being crippled). It was her personality that made Ezra see things in a new light and I loved her for this.

Real Friendships - True People
I absoufreaking adored Ezra's friends, especially Toby. Toby took Ezra in after he refused to go back to his old Tennis Friends. He welcomed him back with open arms after they stopped being friends when Ezra became popular. He forced Ezra back into living without obvious pressure, it was the perfect thing to do! But there were other characters that played some smaller roles but still were genuinely great characters.

My only and tiny complain is the predictability of the last big twist, which I already thought was coming early enough. Then, there was this bittersweet ending which is always a problem for me, yet here this ending was far sweeter and only a little bitter... Still..

"Because I made a decision that year, to start mattering in a way that had nothing to do with sport teams and plastic crowns, and the reality is, I might have made that decision without her, or if I'd never fallen in love with a girl who considered love to be the biggest disaster of all. ARC - The Beginning of Everything"

"Oscar Wilde once said that to live is the rarest thing in the world, because most people just exist, and that's all. I don't know if he's right, but I do know that I spend a long time existing, and now, I intend to live. ARC - The Beginning of Everything"

Bottom Line
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider was just incredibly beautiful. The writing was outstanding and there was so much wonder in these words that it made me tear up and smile in wonder. It's such a true and honest story that I hope many many many people will read and fall in love with just like I did!

Review appeared first at Bewitched Bookworms
I received the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Y'know how, every so often, you read a book, and for days afterward, you're left with a kind of lingering weightless feeling, like you should be able to go visit the characters and just check in? (Might just be me, but I doubt it.) Schneider's "The Beginning of Everything" is one of those books. From the description, I was expecting a very different book -- one of teenage angst and poor-little-popular-boy-without-popularity types -- but it ended up being nothing like that at all. Instead, we get a very different coming of age book that's more about coming-of-self.

It's very well-crafted -- well-written, solid characters, and edited so every word counts. Beyond that, though, there's a soul here. A story that hides a mystery, a comedy that hides a tragedy. It's smart, funny, and immersively engaging.

Content warning for parents: there's a little bit of sexual content (handled delicately), a little language here and there, and some pretty hefty themes. (Enough that even my jaded self ended up needing tissues at the end. Fair warning.) It's all age-appropriate, however, and wouldn't be anything that wouldn't pass the PG-13 filters, most likely.

It feels like I should say more about this, but all I can really say without giving too much away is that it's a fantastic book, no matter how old you are, and that it's well-worth reading. Loved this one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
"Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them....that everyone's life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary--a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen."

Life was pretty great for Ezra Faulkner. He was a tennis champion, class president, and a shoe-in for prom king. But then his girlfriend cheated on him and a car accident shattered his knee and broke his wrist. One great tragedy ended his old life and a new life begins. Now he spends his time with the debate team, reading classic literature, and sneaking into Organic Chemistry classes. And he falls in love with mysterious, brilliant, quirky new girl, Cassidy Thorpe.

The story starts off with a bang, detailing the tragedy that hit Ezra's severed-head-catching friend, Toby, years before Ezra's story begins. Ezra, Cassidy, and Toby are fully-fleshed characters, having already experienced their world-changing tragedies. I grew to love all three for their insight, their quirks, and their flaws. However, the middle lost me. Ezra realizes how shallow his old life and friends were, but sees no problem with sneaking booze and drinking all night while at a debate tournament. This killed the transformation. Can't we have an example of sober, law-abiding teens that just enjoy life? It happens. I lived it. I hear there are still some kids today who do the same. Still, it's a worthwhile, thought-provoking read.

Randy-Lynne Wach
Review for San Francisco Book Review
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ezra Faulkner is the captain of the tennis team. He seems to have it all. He is given a brand new car, is popular, and good looking. Unfortunately, he is in a car crash that ends his tennis career and forces him to figure out what to do now. He switches gears and decides to try out debate. Through this switch, he finds out that he has more intellect than he previously acknowledged and some of the nerdy crowd are more than he expected. He even meets a new girl to both challenge and intrigue him. Overcoming tragedy is just one step in Ezra's overall path; his life is really just beginning to take shape.

My thoughts:
Schneider has done an amazing job with the writing! Ezra is an extremely relatable character, even if you were not popular in high school. He is down to earth, honest, and very positive (in most cases). The reader watches as Ezra completely redefines every part of his life, even with some grief over his pre-accident self. The struggle he goes through is engaging, but he grows to be a much stronger person than what he originally was. Schneider also throws in some twists that I didn't see coming. Much like the roller coaster, there are some turns that you clearly see coming, but those that you are also blind to. I really felt surprised with some things. It was nice to see that a YA novel could still surprise me in a coming of age type story. I highly recommend everyone taking a few hours to meet and interact with Ezra.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
***This will contain spoilers***

Prior to reading this book, I was convinced that those who believed in the existence of aliens were simply conspiracy theorists who wore tin foil hats all the time. After completing this book (begrudgingly), I've realized that aliens do in fact exist, because this book was so bad and inept it reads like no one who has ever been around humans could have written it. Clearly, the only explanation is that it was written by an alien who caught a 30 second glimpse of our society and decided to write a book about humans.

Where to begin tearing this book apart... well, to start, it takes place in Eastwood, CA which is simply a renamed Irvine. At first I thought the name was a throw back to the old west (Orange County has John Wayne Airport, why not?) but then I did some research on the author to find out she went to Northwood High School (GET IT?!?!!?) which shows just how much imagination the author lacks. But it gets worse-- you have a plethora of knock-off names to prevent being sued that all sound the same (Angry Wings? Mario Cars?) The author is about as creative as the person who writes the rhymes for greeting cards located at the Dollar Tree. However, this is all tossed out the window when she mentions an In and Out that has pleather booths and servers, so clearly A.) there was nothing she could have done to thinly veil the name of the restaurant and B.) she has also never been in an In and Out. Her entire knowledge of In and Out came from one of those Buzzfeed articles all your friends share on Facebook incessantly.

The entire book has several faux paus example like that, but I will just let you mull that level of ineptitude over and get to some of the more pressing issues that this book has. If you bother to read it, you can compile a similar list of terrible inconsistencies like that (but don't. I guarantee you the phone book is a better read.)

The plot is almost non-existent, but it shows up somewhere around page 260. The book starts off with an interesting enough premise based off of the the store description. I mean, some kid catches a severed head after going on a ride at Disneyland (shouldn't the author have been more concerned about being sued over Disney over that versus simply mentioning a Rovio product? Oh, what do I know...) and that's why I bought the book in the first place. That poor (actually) tragic character named Toby is reserved to the background and is as one dimensional as a cardboard cut out. If you claim that "everyone gets a tragedy" perhaps you should have built on that character just a bit. I mean, thirteen year old kid gets a severed head tossed into his lap at Disneyland, loses his best friend (more about the lovely narrator in just a second), is gay, and becomes somewhat of a nerd? There's your actual story. There's your character who should have a 300 page book written about him....but instead the story is not about him but the heartthrob jock Ezra. In short, he gets into a car accident and can't play tennis his senior year of high school (or maybe ever again!) He's a boring narrator who seems to be a log in the river of life--he simply floats along until he bumps into things. He isn't really proactive or interesting. He's decided that he's butt-hurt over the fact that his friends didn't visit him in the hospital, but instead of maybe asking them why they acted the way they did he decides they're not his friends anymore...even though they keep making efforts to be nice to him and never once actually come off as jerks. In fact, his jock friends are the most likable people in the book come to think of it. Instead of some sort of soul searching about this event, he literally spends two seconds alone before good old Toby comes in and brings him into the alternative kid crowd. You know, the ones described as "rejects" even though they're just as popular as the popular kids. I never got why Toby bothered with Ezra. I mean, when Toby needed him the most Ezra pretended he didn't exist. When Ezra "lost" all his friends, I don't get the impression that it would have even been on Toby's radar. However, the eager-to-please background character is a doormat to Ezra, who continues to treat him poorly even after this unwarranted act of kindness. Makes him even harder to like.

The LEAST likable character in the book, however, was manic pixie dream girl Cassidy. I mean, she just comes off as that "oh, I'm just so darn cute!" She is worldly (she's from San Francisco, but has also lived in London and Zurich!) and seems to hold an uppity suburb of Los Angeles in such contempt that she thinks it is some hick town. Actually, the narrator thinks that too. These people think living in a wealthy LA suburb is almost as bad as, say, living on a farm in Kansas! Perspective, perspective. Back to Cassidy, there is nothing redeeming about her. She embodies every stereotype that twenty-something hipsters cling to, like Banksy and Flash Mobs and Geo-Caching, which is odd because she's supposed to be a teenager. None of Ezra's new friends come off as teenagers, actually. They go to hotel parties and drink the "wrong kind of vermouth" which I never did in high school and I grew up in an uppity suburb of LA. I think our alien narrator spent her 30 seconds on this planet at an Arcade Fire show and observed hipsters and decided teenagers were the same thing. I get that teenagers are unlikely to pen a novel that will be found in a book store, but if you read the book and it just doesn't sound like the characters are who they're supposed to be, which makes it hard to read. It lacks authenticity.

Of course, after some awkward bumbling around Ezra and Cassidy become a couple. The first 260 pages fit nicely into that description. It's boring and goes nowhere. The author really wants us to be as enamored with Cassidy as Ezra is, but it falls flat. She's grating. She's a snob and clearly places herself on a pedestal that no one can reach. She's "mysterious" since no one can find out why her passion for debate team died down. At first I was hoping for some insane explanation--maybe she was abducted by a debate team alien and taken back to their home planet and now she's scared of debate? However, after reading this bland book I knew I'd be sorrily disappointed when the truth came out. It probably was going to amount to something like they played a Justin Beiber song at the get together and she's just too hipster for that (even that would have made more sense than what actually happens.)

Anyway, Cassidy breaks up with Ezra and he just can't figure out why. Like any delusional person who struggles at human interactions, he can't just accept that she was really mean to him and dumped him. Instead, Ezra is determined to find out the truth (an effort he once again could not have focused on his old group of friends. Even down to the last page of the book they still like him. They still treat him well and he just turns on their friendship.) and in doing so, we have a bunch of pages going back and forth until good old doormat Toby comes back with the shocking news--Cassidy's brother died of heart complications! Uhm, okay. I don't get what that had to do with anything--this brother who is never mentioned is the reason she can't have a boyfriend and be on the debate team? It's really weak, and a couple pages towards the end of the book our alien author realizes this. Cassidy and Ezra have a heart-to-heart and she reveals that the driver of the car who hit him was her brother, and with all that medical school she's gone to and being a doctor and all she's concluded that said car accident killed him. That's kind of a stretch...but I should give the dumb book some credit since it continues to the end to play on the fact that Irvine--sorry, "Eastwood" with a population of over 242k people (about the size of Orlando, FL for comparison) is some rural hick town in the eyes of these characters and the author herself. I mean, seriously? I live in a town of 49k people and I *never* run into people I know. What is it with these LA hipsters that think that it's a common happenstance for everyone to be one degree of separation from one another? You act like you're worldly but forget that the LA metro area has millions of people? It's so absurd that it makes everything unbelievable. Her deceased brother did not hit Ezra with a car, and her detective skills are limited. She's just paranoid. This book is just bad. So bad.

At the end of the day, I'd also argue that this book is inspirational. If garbage like this can get published, anything you or I can write can get published, as well. Think about that. I don't care if you don't know the difference between "your" and "you're"--you can write a better book than this. Give it a shot. I doubt it's honestly possible to read something worse than this. For shame, the store. Don't recommend books like this to me anymore.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
As I plowed into Robyn Schneider's latest novel, I began thinking, "She needs to leave the Young Adult genre behind." She has a decapitation on page 3 and oral sex on page 9. But then, maybe that's where YA fiction lives in 2014. As I carried on, I had other thoughts, because I've known Robyn since she first joined my writing critique group way back when she was 15 or 16. What I was thinking was, "Robyn is one of the most gifted writers I've ever read, with an other-worldly sense of insight into the human condition and a magical touch with contemporary American dialogue ... so why is she writing about high school romances, debate teams and pep rallies?" She can offer so much more than that to the literary world. And THEN I got to the end, which is pure perfection. Robyn's last several chapters race with all the power and beauty I hoped for, and more. It is brilliant. And if YA sells, then write YA, Robyn, because you are one amazingly talented author.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
david green
I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is well written, the characters are intelligent, and I understand the comparison to John Green, the same time, I don't.

I never connected with these characters, I wasn't that invested in anything they did. I feel like they tried too hard to be different, like they went out of their way to reject the things the popular kids liked just so they could feel like they were unique.

I feel the main character never actually finds himself, that he is a passive agent who never learns to be comfortable in his own skin, he believes everything everyone else says, and he continues to drift, even when he convinces himself that he isn't. Similarly, I feel like the author hasn't found her voice, like she is spending her time trying to imitate someone like John Green instead of discovering her own style.

The characters are eccentric, the puns are clever, and like I said, this book is very well written. But I almost feel like it was written by an essayist rather than a novelist. I learned a lot, but I didn't feel much.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Actual rating: 4.5/5

The Beginning of Everything is one of those rare books that I wanted to re-read soon as I finished! Funny and smart, the novel is narrated by Ezra, the main character, who is recovering from a car accident and experiencing the fallout from being dropped down the ladder of his high school's social hierarchy. It's hard to accurately sum up The Beginning of Everything because the story isn't full of action, or numerous plot lines - it's more about the characters and their journey. Plus, the summary provided by the author/publisher covers everything really well!

From page one I knew I was going to like this book because the writing was so on point. Schneider nailed the tone and voice of a male teenager. Ezra is self-depreciating, full of puns and snark, which I loved. There were a lot of The Great Gatsby references (Ezra is reading it for his English class), which is very timely, with the movie and all, but that really worked with the story too. Overall, the writing was very engaging - I think teens will flock to this one. I really hope The Beginning of Everything has an audiobook because I'd love to listen to Ezra as well!

As I said before, this is a very character driven novel, which I loved! There are quite a few characters between Ezra's group of popular friends and the more nerdy group, but they all seemed necessary and each had their own unique voice. The only critiques I have of the characters is that sometimes they felt more college aged than high school, but some of this may just have to do with Californian culture. I loved Tobey and Phoebe and would love to have novellas or books featuring them! Cassidy was a really interesting character, and I liked how the author sort of turned the manic pixie dream girl on its head with her and Ezra. I did manage to figure out very early on what she was hiding (although not the whole story about it), and it seemed a bit weird to me that Ezra didn't because there were so many clues dropped. It wasn't a big deal to me though. I have so much love for the characters, right down to the dog, Cooper, who stole the scenes he was in. I loved Ezra playing out all his internal dialogue as I do that with my dogs too!

With Ezra, we also have the story told from the point of view of a person with a disability. After his accident, doctors thought he might never be able to walk again, but fortunately he was able to, with the aid of a cane. Much of Ezra's story focuses on how his life has changed, and the new obstacles he has to deal with because of his limited mobility. His frustration with his condition is evident as well. I thought there were some great discussions and points about ableism, and living with a disability. This could start some teens thinking about these issues!

The Beginning of Everything is a wonderful tale of finding yourself and your friends through those trying teenage years of high school. From dealing with the school's social hierarchy to awkward sex (which included, at least how I interpreted it, a non-graphic male AND female sex scene), to love and loss, this book seemed to cover it all. While the ending wrapped up a bit quickly, and had a different tone than the rest of the book, I still loved every page, and definitely will be buying it so I can read it again. Lastly, I totally get the comparisons to John Green, and it does sort of remind me of Looking for Alaska, but to be honest, it's much better!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an HONEST review!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
j elle
On the one hand, I zipped through the book in a day. It was easy to read and certainly intelligent. I wish I could rate it higher. My problems are twofold. First, it felt just a bit "by number" - misunderstood girl, offbeat, with a dark secret that we have to wait until the end to find out. (To be fair - it's a good secret and I didn't guess it.) Tormented male hero, golden boy gone bad. Star crossed lovers. Etc etc. Now, this could all work fine if the writer could elevate it above the ordinary, but for me, that didn't happen. The popular kids are mean, the nerdy kids are actually cool, and so on. And second - the ending is dark. Not dark as in someone dies; lots of books involve death. But this book gets very dark at the very end; it seems to change the rules and never recovers. I won't give any spoilers - but if you are expecting a happy ending, look elsewhere. Or if you are expecting a sad but thoughtful and ultimately life affirming ending - also look elsewhere. The writer unveils a major bomb at the end, changing all the rules, and then ends the book. It just feels unsatisfying, at least to me. Three point five stars, because it's well written and I think the writer us promise, but marked down for a poorly executed close.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
wendy jason
Ezra Faulkner's life changes overnight when a car accident causes him to go from cool kid, student body VP, and tennis star to injured, girlfriendless senior drifter--not sure if he belongs in the nerdy debater group or with his old cool friends. But then he falls in love with the new girl Cassidy Thorpe and it seems he has found happiness--but she has issues of her own to work out.

I had a little trouble liking this book at the very beginning. The writing seemed too adult and I wasn't seeing how teens could relate, but it didn't take me long to get sucked into caring about Ezra and his life and I ended up reading this book in one day. It was funny at times, heart-wrenching at times, and definitely an engrossing read. The only thing that struck me weird though is since when is the tennis team the coolest group at high school? I felt a bit letdown by the ending as well . . . but it was a good read with a great main character and I would recommend it to teens who like John Green's books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
synthia parveen mallick
In one tragic night, high school tennis star Ezra Faulkner’s life is turned inside-out, when a car crash shatters his knee and destroys his athletic dreams. Now, as he enters his senior year, he’s forced to reinvent himself. His girlfriend broke up with him, his friends drifted away while he was recovering from the accident, and he’s lost his place in the school hierarchy. With no one expecting anything of him anymore, what’s he to do with himself?

First, he reconnects with his former best friend Toby Elliot, whose own fall from grace (involving a Disneyland ride and a tourist’s unexpectedly severed head) occurred years ago. Toby, captain of the school debate team, tries to lure Ezra into competing. Second, he meets Cassidy Thorpe, a newcomer to the school. She’s smart, attractive, quirky, independent, and fascinating. She’s also mercurial, capricious, and hiding some dark secret deep in her heart.

Still, the chemistry between Cassidy and Ezra is almost instantaneous, undeniable, and irresistible. They become fast friends, which evolves into something more over time, as they go on unconventional dates (flash mobs, auditing college courses, midnight picnics) and help each other as part of the debate team. But it turns out that Cassidy used to be a debate team superstar for another school…until she unexpectedly retired, and she’s none too eager to get back on the competition circuit.

The closer they get, the happier they are, the more Ezra sheds his former golden boy status for something closer to his true nature, the more he wants to understand why Cassidy keeps pushing him away at random moments. But can their relationship survive the revelations that eventually come out? And will Ezra succumb to temptation when his girlfriend Charlotte tries to lure him back into a social life of parties and privilege?

In this emotionally rich teen drama, Schneider utterly turns the “manic pixie dream girl” trope on its side. Cassidy may fit the bill with her carefree ways, unpredictable behavior, convention-defying manner, and apparent goal of teaching Ezra how to overcome the past and be himself, but some of the revelations, the twists, the complex depths shown along the way, undermine and overturn expectations.

One part romance, two parts slice-of-life, this book has all the right elements going for it. A likeable protagonist, an eclectic group of friends, a convincing coming-of-age arc, a believable connection between characters, and a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of high school debate. Schneider takes all of the usual tropes, and subverts them gleefully. Charlotte and her crowd may be wealth, or entitled, careless and a little cruel, but it’s not the all-consuming pack of mean girls and alpha males that so often populate these books. While you can paint Ezra’s former friends as self-absorbed and shallow, they’re not necessarily bad people; indeed, there seems to be a sincere effort on their part to welcome him back into their midst, with bygones being bygones. It’s not they who changed, after all, it was Ezra, who proves to have more depth and different desires than they do. (Think of them like cats: when he shows up after a summer away, a summer in which they pretty much forgot he existed, their reaction is sort of a “Oh, you were gone? It’s been a while. What, no, it’s not awkward at all that you can’t play tennis, I’m the new team captain, and I’m dating your ex-girlfriend. Want to go to Taco Bell with us?”)

Moreover, while Ezra does find new companionship amongst the debate team, it’s not automatically the noble group of quirky yet sympathetic outcasts and underdogs who teach him how to be a better person. Some are cool in their own way, some are still losers in their own way, and some are douchebags who like to argue, and there’s no reason why they all need to be friends. A refreshingly realistic take on group dynamics.

As for Cassidy? Her manic pixie dream girl act may be an illusion, hiding emotional wounds which can’t be healed through the magic of love and debate. (Should Schneider consider a sequel to this book, I deeply, profoundly, beg her to focus on Cassidy, a compelling and complex girl who deserves more exploration, with or without Ezra.)

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, may suffer from a bizarre, even disconcerting title, but its contents are as sincere, authentic, and enjoyable as any you’ll find in the YA field. I really was blown away by the skillful manner in which Schneider plays with predictable characters and tropes, before yanking the rug out from under us. It’s a little bit heartbreaking, a whole lot uplifting, and has just the right blend of realism and positivity. There’s also a great subplot regarding one character’s sexuality, where the result, never in question, is one of slightly amused acceptance. Again, the sort of thing one really likes to see. I was particularly struck by this quote: “I’m not gay. I mean, I think I am, but I’ll figure it out in college. You have to really know to be out in high school.” Schneider shows that she gets how hard it can be to find oneself in high school, no matter how sure you might be at the time.

Bottom line: a book I loved, and I can’t wait to see what the author has planned next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eli denoma
I can sum up my thoughts of The Beginning of Everything with one word--WOW!!!

Robyn Schneider has mastered the art of teen angst is the least annoying way possible. I love contemporary YA novels that handle social issues. However, many of them become disappointing because of whiny, irritating characters. It would have been easy for Ezra to become an annoying character with a sob story. Schneider, instead, wrote a likable guy facing a difficult situation, who is able to overcome some of his struggles with a colorful cast of secondary characters.

This is contemporary YA at its finest, and Schneider deserves her many comparisons to John Green and other upper echelon writers; however, she sets herself apart from the pack with this beautifully written novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bibby t
"The Beginning of Everything" was about a boy named Ezra that was captain of the tennis team and tremendously popular, until one day, while leaving a party after catching his girlfriend cheating on him, he's hit by a car and his life is changed forever. His knee was shattered from the accident and he finds out that he'll never be able to play tennis again. On top of that, he realizes that his supposed "friends" are not really his friends at all since they didn't visit him in the hospital and they left him to die in the road during his accident.

When he returns to school for his senior year, he's faced with crippling insults and feels like an outcast. That is until an old buddie, Toby, envelops him into his circle of outcasts.

The group gets to know each other through late night hotel parties during debate tournament weekends, road trips in the Fail Whale, and flash mobbing in the center of the Prism. Ezra starts to develop feelings for Cassidy, a clever, intellectual girl, and becomes one of the group.

Things become serious between Cassidy and Ezra and they start to date, but then on prom night, Cassidy ditches Ezra and ignores all of his phone calls. Ezra's worried because he just talked to a few hours ago and everything was okay.

He eventually finds Cassidy in the park claiming that she's there with her "boyfriend."

Ezra breaks down and regressed, ditching his group of friends hanging out with the jocks and preps that never cared for him.

Toby discovers that Cassidy's brother, Owen had died of a heart condition and tells Ezra about it. Ezra conjures up a clever way to say sorry to Cassidy. So he shows up at her house with his dog, Cooper, but things get even more depressing.

After Cassidy rejects him, a coyote chases after him and his dog Cooper attacks him trying to save Ezra.

Cooper prevents the coyote from attacking Ezra, but unfortunately, the brave Cooper is wounded badly.

Ezra drives to the animal hospital with Cassidy and discovers why Cassidy had acted so cruel that prom night; her brother Owen, was the one that hit Ezra and crippled him.

At that moment, Cassidy leaves and the doctor informs Ezra of Cooper's death.

That's when I lose it. I don't know why I continue to read these books that are destined to end tragically; ones that completely shatter hearts.

At the end of the book, Ezra finally discovers who he really is, and it's enlightening.

By this point in the book, the tears just continued to fall. I've always had a special love for animals and Cooper's death killed me.

Cassidy kind of sucks, though. I liked her in the beginning of the book. She seemed like a cool, quirky chick, but what she did to Ezra was just unfair. Even if her brother was the one that injured Ezra badly, she should have not just ditch Ezra and leave him waiting on prom, and then when he finally finds her, she crumbles his heart even more and spits lies in his face.

Honestly, I kind of hoped that after everything, Ezra and Phoebe would get together, but despite Cassidy being sucky at the end and all the tragic events, it was a thoughtful read. When bad things weren't happening, I actually enjoyed it a lot.

“The world tends toward chaos, you know,” Cassidy said. “I’m just helping it along."
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
john lovell
The Beginning of Everything is an emotional rollercoaster of a story. Based upon the theme that “everyone gets a tragedy,” the novel follows main character, Ezra Faulkner on his journey to find himself. Ezra used to be the star tennis captain, but due to a tragic car accident, he must find his place in highschool without the help of sports. It is then that he meets the mysterious new girl, Cassidy Thorpe. As Ezra finds a new love of debate, he falls madly in love with the new girl. The two become closer and closer, but it is obvious that something is keeping them apart. Ezra tries to redefine himself, despite his low self-image. However, he finds that he cannot picture himself without Cassidy by his side. Eventually, Ezra realizes that life does not necessarily end up the way it is expected to or wanted to, it just goes on.
Personally, I believe Cassidy’s character is one that many young girls can relate to. She is expected to be something she is not, and struggles to hold the weight of the world’s expectations on her shoulders. In my opinion, the characters in this novel were brilliantly developed and their experiences are continuously thought-provoking. I enjoyed reading this book because it does not follow the theme that the majority of contemporary love stories do. Robyn Schneider takes readers on a thrill of an adventure and makes it seem as if they are a part of the story themselves. Although it did not have the ending I would have hoped for, I appreciate its uniqueness in the conclusion of Cassidy and Ezra’s love story.
In conclusion, The Beginning of Everything is an easy read which will leave you begging for more once it is over. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light and entertaining read if they have some extra time on their hands. Finally, Schneider’s breakout novel is not only about finding love, but about learning how to deal with what life throws your way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Let's start off by saying that I chose this book because it was suggested by the store while I was browsing for books to read.
I finished the book in one sitting. The flow was great, made me feel like I was back in high school 6 years ago. The story was captivating and the ending had my stomach turning. (Including a few events throughout the story).
I enjoyed the story (even though I am a male reader, I was not aware this had a JG vibe and a lot of young female readers praised this book) and I would suggest it to other people.

My only criticism is that most of the characters introduced felt stereotypical and very forgettable. Made some of the content in the book feel unnecessary to where I was beginning to skim passages quickly trying to get to the bottom of the story.
All in all, worth the purchase and my time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
roslyn sundset
This amazing book contains two of my favorite things: Fitzgerald references and Southern Orange County. Schneider nailed life in high school in "Eastwood" it was a perfect satire of all things that make up the culture and lifestyle of OC. I laughed along with the witty writing and relate to Ezra and how he felt stuck in the world around him. The majoirty of people from that area end up going to a nearby UC and never leave the bubble. I wish I had known people like Toby, Austin, and Pheobe in high school. Schneider is a clever writer and I can't wait to read more from her.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
laurie metz
I think this book is good for teenagers in high school who like a book that they can relate too. It is funny and filled with drama because the main character goes through relationships. The main character is a 17 year old boy named Ezra and he is really funny and complicated but I think both genders can relate to his situation. Besides relationship drama, it also has deals with relationships with friends, this teaches you that theirs no boundary in friend groups. Ezra goes from being a popular kid on the tennis team to having no friends at all. He finds a way to make other friends and finding a loving girlfriend in the process. This book also deals with tragedy but in the end everybody is happy and i really enjoyed reading it and recommend it to all teenagers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alison stewart
I loved The Fault InOour Stars by John Green and thought there could not be as great of a book made for a long time. This book proved me wrong. This book is wonderful, even more wonderful that I could have expected it to be.

The coming of age story touches on finding oneself, but it doesn't depend on others to help us find ourselves, it is within us that we have to search for who we are and what we want to do in our lives.

Read this book if you have every thought who you were wasn't who you were supposed to be, read this book if you haven't found who you are yet, read this book if you have teenagers in your life at all.

Again, this book is amazing!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gary wicker
Have you ever read a book that didn't seem memorable, but found yourself remembering? Every once in a while I thoughtlessly think about Ezra Faulkner and his theory on tragedy, and I'm reminded just how much I really liked The Beginning of Everything.

Seventeen year old Ezra had it all; he was president of his junior body class, captain of the tennis team, drove a Beamer and dated the most popular girl in school. From page one Schneider drew me in with imagery, setting forth a series of events that lead up to Ezra's single encounter after which everything that really mattered happened. With cheeky puns and prose that reside somewhere just below lyrical, The Beginning of Everything rocketed into my top five favorite books of the year.

Admittedly, when I first read the synopsis I wasn't on board. I bought it because it was on sale for five bucks, and the girls on Goodreads were raving about it. When I think "tragedy" there are a hundred devastating scenarios that come to mind, not one of them Ezra's circumstance. As an adult, one no longer young enough to be considered "young", I was certain there wouldn't be anything I could relate to; Never did I depend on a sport to carry me, I didn't rule the school, and my parents certainly never bought me a Z64. I was wrong.

The characters of this world were, for the most part, likable. There weren't any chronically-blushing-damsels, who seem to be so trendy in the YA/NA genres. My personal favorite was Toby. Years after his friendship with Ezra dissolved Toby remained loyal, proving just how wrong Ezra is about, well, most things. His personality reminded me quite a bit of Patrick from Perks of Being a Wallflower, whom I also loved. Come to think of it, the majority of Schneider's characters seemed oddly familiar. The names Alaska, Augustus, Ethan Wate, and Regina George come to mind. I've heard her writing style compared to that of John Green and I just didn't see it, though, being an avid fan of John Green's work that could be because I'm biased. My least favorite was Charlotte, but she wasn't written to be likable. She's a mean girl, a plastic, so keeping that in mind even her character was solid.

This book was about so much more than a boy fallen from high school hierarchy to no-man's land. Ezra Faulkner had demons to deal with before his tragedy ever struck. Have you ever felt like you aren't the person you were meant to be? Like if you had it to do over you would, in order to live up to your full potential? What Ezra and Schneider call a tragedy, in the case of Ezra, I call a blessing.

Funny, thought provoking, and heartbreaking, Ezra's journey was a pleasurable little read. I gave it a solid five stars.

Reviewed by Keira Guest Reviewer @ Step Into Fiction
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
coral manson
Ezra Faulkner was the average stereotypical star athlete, the talk of the town. That is, until he had gotten into a hit-and-run accident one night, shattering his knee beyond repair, and, most importantly, leaving him never to again play his favorite sport.

Ever since that event, his social status has dropped dramatically, leaving him left in the dust by his other classmates. Until he meets Cassidy Thorpe, a quirky but highly intelligent new student.

To say the least, the two hit it off together. Cassidy stuns him with her random knowledge and odd fasination with german words. And Ezra, ultimately, the key to his heart.

All together this is most definitely a well written novel. It gives an outlook on life that not everything can be prim and perfect, but that everybody has their flaws and troubles. Would recommend if you are a fan of John Green!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Since many reviewers seems to compare this to John Green's work, I will do the same in pointing out that this one isn't half as philosophical as Green's, but it is similar in style. Well, this book is about a Jock who is discovering his inner nerd, so to speak, so it can't get too philosophical too soon. The plot is interesting but somewhat lacking smoothness. The way the boy and girl fell in love seems bumpy, like rubbing sandpaper. Their relationship seems slightly unnatural and uncomfortable. Nevertheless the story has interesting twists, insight, and the language is sufficiently smooth with occasional brilliant insights. Overall, an above average work that is worth your time.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I was assigned a reading project my senior year of High School, and “The Beginning of Everything” was recommended to me. And honestly I wasn’t the biggest fan. The beginning started off promising, and I thought I was diving into a great book; however, as the book continued it just died down for me. There was very little humor, and it was difficult to stay interested in the book. I like the idea of the book, a high school athlete who dedicated his life to sports that was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Me personally I couldn’t help but put myself in Ezra’s shoes being an athlete myself, and wondering what I would do if I was in that situation.It reminds me of people I go to school with, those kinds of kids that will do anything to fit in and be a part of the “popular” crowd. People in my generation really live in the now and don’t think about the future enough, Ezra has the worst day he will probably ever have. Finding his girlfriend with another man and getting in a hit and run career ending accident. This all hit you suddenly at the beginning of the book, but then it just goes dull for most of the book. The booked seemed a little too predictable to me. Although the ending of the book leaves you in your emotions you could predict it if you payed enough attention to the book. I do think that Schneider shows remarkable skill at getting inside her narrator’s head as his life swings between disaster and recovery. It was a great story line, but it fell short in my opinion in the delivery.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
james corley
Not terrible but nothing special.

Ezra A junior who has it all, the varsity tennis team, jock friends, popularity and a hottie girlfriend - finds out just how quickly everything can change. Fleeing from a party full of bad news he gets into a hit and run accident, where his knee is crushed and upon returning to school at the start of senior year feels like no part of his past life was there waiting for him.

On the first day of school, Ezra reconnect with an old friend, and there is a new student, Cassidy, and he begins to feel like everything is just beginning. But Cassidy isn't your average girl and things between them are far more complicated than anyone could've ever imagined.

This is a little slow, a little heart breaking, and a little too easy to relate to in that sometimes it's easiest to push people away than to deal with your feelings. The main character is a little bland, his dog is a hero, his childhood best friend.. too good for this world, and Cassidy... well that's up to the reader to decide.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pauline ray
Schneider's novel starts with the premise that everyone will experience one event that changes everything in his or her life. For Ezra, tennis star and boy wonder of his high school, that event was the night his leg was shattered in a car accident. No longer able to play sports, Ezra has to rediscover who he is when he's not a varsity athlete. This means re-examining friendships, goals, school, and life. It also means being open to something new, which in Ezra's world takes the form of the new girl: fascinating and unconventional Cassidy. I love this book's voice, the funny, smart writing that doesn't shy away from tough stuff. And I love that the ending is unexpected and feels real. A great addition to the YA Contemporary Realistic fiction shelf.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
whitney finch
I had debated about picking this book for awhile but then I decided to bite the bullet and read it. There were some strong parts, mostly in the beginning, but by the end of the book, I felt like this was something I've read, seen in movies and TV shows too many times before. The cliched characters and situations became more annoying, so by the end of the book, I felt like rolling my eyes. You have the jock, who by some turn events, goes lower in the social ladder and finds how shallow he was before. The kooky, manic pixie girl, who is new to school and very mysterious. The shallow, snotty popular girl who just happens to be the lead boy's former girlfriend. Ex-jock and mysterious girl get together, something tears them apart, teens talk about obscure smart things in a way that no teen really talks like...the list goes on.

I know I seem very harsh on this book but I really did want to like it. Ezra, the leading man, is not a bad character and I did like him. He's probably why I gave the book two stars instead of one. Mostly my dislike comes from a plot point that I can't really say what because it's a spoiler. But when I read it, I felt like saying, "Come on, this is absolutely ridiculous and totally unbelievable." If you read the book, you'll probably figure out what I'm talking about. The ending was okay but I felt it was a little abrupt, like the author realized she was close to the end and just wanted to be done with it.

So "The Beginning of Everything" was a disappointment to me but I know that there's people out there that will love it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
terri kinney
I really enjoyed this novel! It was very tender and had such sweet innocence, yet it held some lofty ideas. The main character was extremely likeable and I had fun sharing his experiences. Very different than my high school days but still a good story. I appreciated the character arc and the honest ending. Made me miss a time since passed, and left me longing for a visit back to my senior year. The only tiny complaint is the over use of the word 'sheepishly' but other than that I give it two thumbs up. Borrowed from LA Public Library.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
karen mayes
I just really enjoyed the story.

There were a few annoying writing quirks- at the end he switches from telling the story to saying "As I sit here writing this..." but then goes on to describe activities that he couldn't possibly be doing as he's writing a book. Very mild things that kept me from completely falling in love with the book. But I liked the story and I thought it was very believable and real for kids at that age. And it just broke my heart a little and made me cheer at the same time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jack lynch
I usually don't read these types of books; being drawn to the fantasy adventure section in book stores and libraries, but this book really took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride like on the cover. I have really enjoyed rereading it countless times and sharing it with my friends. (Who have also loved it as much as I have.) Absolutely amazing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lyndsey warner
Honestly, this book was beautiful. The ending isn’t what I expected and leaves me wanting more, but I appreciate it’s cruel honesty. What a pleasing reminder that we all suffer in some way and must live on despite. This book left me with a sense of solemn peace for the moments I’ve felt so lost and the moments that reminded me I was alive.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Quote: “Life is the tragedy,' she said bitterly. 'You know how they categorize Shakespeare's plays, right? If it ends with a wedding, it's a comedy. And if it ends with a funeral, it's a tragedy. So we're all living tragedies, because we all end the same way, and it isn't with a goddamn wedding.”

Amazing story about forgiveness and finding out who you are.

Quote: “The way I figured it, keeping quiet was safe. Words could betray you if you choose the wrong ones, or mean less if you used too many.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
arleen a
Remeber what high school was like? The cliques, the insecurities, the frenemies? The Beginning of Everything has all that and more. Ezra Faulkner is near the end of his junior year when everything changes. As Exra navigates his new status in school, he contemplates what he wants out of life and what a true friend really means. And when he falls for the new girl in school, he contemplates everything in an all new way.

This is a well written coming-of-age story of boy who thinks he knows what he wants and then learns the hard way that life isn't always what you think it is.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book was amazing! Schneider so artfully created a world that has all the twists and turns of life. From the characters to the basic storylines, The Beginning of Everything has something for everyone! It is so easy to connect to any one of the characters and this book demonstrates a perfect understanding of what its like to live. This is definitely a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat with its humor, mystery, romance, tragedy, and overall ability to keep just about everyone entertained. I loved this book and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a good story about what its like to live, love, and be loved.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
doris gwaltney
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Ezra Faulkner, a 17 year boy who suffers a debilitating car accident, decides to change his life his senior year with the help of his new seemingly unconventional girlfriend and his former best friend. I enjoyed the book and about half way through raced on to see how it ended. One negative is that sometimes to me Ezra's observations were a bit too mature. This is the second book I read recently where the panopticon plays an important role. The other one was The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-banks by E Lockhart which I also recommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shayda salarvand
This is a touching coming of age story about Ezra, once a tennis star and popular guy at his high school, only to have that dream squashed in a car wreck that left him unable to play sports any more. As he begins his senior year of high school, he can't be who he was, and so, he begins to learn who he really is. Cassidy, a beautiful girl who is new to his school that year, befriends him and he learns about the world of the debate team and that it is ok to be smart and with her help, he begins to re-define himself. But things are not ever that simple. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marc alexander
I loved this book.. One reason I did was because of the references to The Great Gatsby. I had recently finished reading that book for school right before I read this one on my free time. Great Gatsby was written beautifully, and this book was written just as perfect.
Ezra reflected a teenage boy more truly than any other book has conveyed. And so did Cassidy. My heart broke just as Ezra's did. I understood Cassidy almost as if she was myself.
There's nothing I would want more than to talk to Robyn Schneider in person and ask her my own questions I have about the book. I want to read this over and over again and experience the emotions I felt as if I hadn't ever felt them before.
" I wondered what things became when you no longer needed them, and I wondered what the future would hold once we'd gotten past our personal tragedies and proven them ultimately survivable. " - Robyn Schneider
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I really enjoyed this book and think it's worth the read. It's not your average teenage romance story and the ending was a lot better than I expected.

It definitely takes you on a lot of twists and turns with the main character Ezra has he works on getting through his accident. I think it's more believable than most books, at least in the characters reactions more so than the actual story! If you're thinking about reading it, don't think and just read, you won't regret it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
yvonne puig
Ezra Faulkner believes that everyone has a tragedy waiting to happen. And when Ezra's tragedy happens, it turns him from the Homecoming King and Student Body president into a totally different person and into a direction that Ezra never imagined he would go.

I have been stewing over this one for a while. This one had SO much potential. I loved Ezra, and the story itself was great, but at the end, I just felt, blah. I think that was why I kept putting off reviewing it. It just really, well, missed. I wanted to love it, but, it just didn't work for me...
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
rushda khan
This book has been hyped, and in my opinion, overly hyped, namely for it's realistic ending. And it's true. The ending is realistic...but is that enough to rate a book excellent?

Ezra is the school golden boy and jock dejour. When a car accident leaves him with a shattered knee, his meal ticket to popularity is removed and as a result, Ezra must tap into his true identity and find his place in the world. Throw is a bitchy, blonde cheating cheerleader girl friend, and an oh so beautiful but utterly humble girl next door and you've got "The Beginning of Everything".

Frankly, if you've listend to Taylor Swift's song "You Belong With Me" and/or have seen the video, you've mostly read this book. It's not bad, just cliche and a bit unrealistic, save for the ending. It demonstrates what becomes of most high school romances.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Is there a word in German that describes the terrible sense of loss you feel after finishing a brilliant gem of a perfect book? Or the clouded sense of reality that you struggle through before you can bear to read another?
Beautifully painful and funny in turns, this novel kind of broke my heart. The description of the silent flash mob alone made me cry with happiness. This book perfectly illustrates that it IS possible to go on, even after the "worst" has already happened. I LOVED this book, and am holding my breath for another.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kristy harvey
The book begins very memorably, with a roller coaster ride and a severed head. It reminds me of a writing class I once took, where we were told you need to bring your writer into the book immediately with a hook, and we contrasted Anne of Green Gables long meandering 15 page introduction about a brook and nosy Mrs. Lynde before we get to any semblance of a plot line, versus Charlottes Web which begins, "Where is Pa going with that ax?" or something like that. So yes, we got the hook in spades!

But since the person who catches the head is a relatively minor part of the story, and the protagonist is only a spectator, it almost seems like a cheap trick.

The writing is rather good, but the characters didn't resonate with me and therefore I entertained myself by picking out plot holes/characterization issues in the story (and there are many). Granted, I am not the target audience for this book, but I do have an affinity for young adult literature and this is pretty middle of the pack. My 15 yo daughter couldn't get into this book either.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rilee moulton
What a surprise. This book started out slow for me. It wasn't the writing and I actually enjoyed the male POV. I don't know why, I just struggled with the story. Thankfully, I stuck with the story. After the first chapter, I became hooked and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The supporting characters honestly help make the story so wonderful. The struggles that the main character go through are realistic as is the way he handles them. I think this is a wonderful read. Again, I am happy that I stuck it out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This novel grabbed on the first pages, and vividly portrayed both unusual and timeless coming-of-age experiences that should resonate with readers from fifteen to ninety. The earlier novel it dredged from my memory, in all the right ways, is "Kings Row" published by Bellamon in 1940, which I read when I was about fifteen. "Kings Row" was further immortalized on the screen by Ronald Reagan. Really a treat of a read, and I won't forget this one, either.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I'm giving this four stars largely because I think the book will appeal to its target audience rather well. I didn't care for it that much though. I was hoping for it to be more like the work of Rainbow Rowell and less like Perks of Being a Wallflower and that wasn't really the case.

The book is centered around a large tragedy that leads to a transformation of character for Ezra. Perhaps it was a bit unnecessary. His life changed because of a huge tragedy. Whoopee, never seen that before.

Quite frankly, the event that sets the plot in motion was a turn off for me. I tend to prefer coming of age stories that are plausible and relatable circumstances for a reader to find himself or herself in. Didn't find that here.

Is it powerful? No, it's what you'd expect after reading a blurb about the story. A 16 year old might think differently. They also might say that Iron Man 3 was great. Different strokes for different folks
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
david rowley
This was just okay for me. I have seen that you will either love this or hate it and I guess on I am just in the middle.

What I did appreciate was that the author chose to go with the not everything is tied up with a bow route. I liked that this was more real than most YA novels and I give kudos to the author for going outside the norm.

What I didn't really care for was the story. Yes it was tragic and I felt for Ezra to a point, but I didn't feel connected to him or Cassidy. I don't know exactly what I wanted from them, but I just wanted more. They both needed to grow up and I felt like the story tried to show them doing that, but it just fell flat.

This is another book that I know I am probably in the minority, The idea was good and normally I would have been all over this one, but the characters just ruined it for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I haven't looked at other reviews for this book, but I am sure at least a couple people have already compared it to "Catcher in the Rye". It has the same sort of poignancy and is told from the perspective of a teenager whose life has been changed by trauma. Ezra is at the top of the heap at his affluent high school - prom king and unofficial leader of the popular kids. An unforeseeable circumstance alters his life and challenges Ezra to live outside the box. I don't want to give any spoilers, but this is one of those novels that is very difficult to put down. Robyn Schneider does an excellent job of portraying today's teens as complex characters with hearts and souls. A lovely read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
adam chabot
This was actually pretty enjoyable! I was very entertained the whole way through. I really liked the characters, and the dialogue was really cute and funny. I really liked it! My only serious problem was the end. It did make a lot of since and I could see why the author wrote it that way, but it just made me feel very mad instead of sad. But other than that, it was really quirky and great!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ct turner

How Ezra changed over the course of the novel.
Toby’s character. He didn’t let his personal tragedy ruin his life. He is completely confident in who he is.
The writing; Schneider is a good author.


Cassidy Thorpe.
Ezra and Cassidy’s relationship.
What happens to Cooper.
The End.
All of Ezra’s old friends – the jocks/song squad.
Comparisons to The Great Gatsby.
Ezra’s entire book-long Pity Party.
Cassidy’s “personal tragedy”.

MY THOUGHTS: Upon initially finishing this book, I gave it a 4 star rating. I couldn’t write the review immediately though, I needed time to digest what I’d just finished reading. Over the past day or two, I’ve decided that this book is not a 4 star for me. In fact, I am bumping it all the way down to a 2.5, which pains me to do. I did find some enjoyment in this story, and I did enjoy portions of it. However, I did not really like or love enough of it to warrant a higher rating.
We start out the book learning about Ezra’s past friendship with Toby Ellicott, and how it fell apart after a day at Disneyland when they were on a roller coaster and someone a few seats up on the train stood up and was beheaded. Toby caught the severed head. This was his ‘personal tragedy’. Throughout the book, Ezra is fixated on tragedy, and how everyone has a personal tragedy that completely changes the course of their life. This was an interesting concept, but ultimately set up the book for Ezra really to just pity himself the whole time.
There are a lot of references throughout the book towards F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I’ve read the book a couple of times and seen both of the movies, and I must say that I cannot figure out the meaning of it. It doesn’t seem like a parallel to the story, though I can pick out a few things that may seem similar. Ultimately, I think it’s just Ezra’s dog calling him ‘Old Sport‘ in his mind. Or Ezra thinking he is, anyway.
As the story goes on, I started to enjoy the building of Ezra and Cassidy’s relationship. I really thought that it was going to be one of those epic love stories and that they would save each other. But when I started really thinking about it after I finished the book, I realized that their relationship sucked! First off, Ezra fell in love with her really fast. Which is okay to a point because there were some really cute one-liners about how beautiful she was in his eyes. It felt real and believable. But once they were together and I really got to see how big of a train wreck Cassidy is, it started to go downhill for me.
What I liked the most is how Ezra started seeing that popularity didn’t equal lifelong friendships and loyalty. He lost his friends and girlfriend but gained a group of really great and loyal friends – including Toby, whom he ditched all those years ago. This is a wonderful book when it comes to friendship and realizing that sometimes the people you think are your friends – aren’t.

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? I think that this book would really resonate with some people. It was likeable and had tons of funny and sweet moments while also exploring heavier topics like grief, death, and losing the person that you once were – but finding a new, better version of yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I don't really see a need to re-summarize the book (as there are so many already) so I'll just go ahead with a review.

It was hard to put this book down! The Beginning of Everything reminded me of John Green's Looking for Alaska. The whole 'new girl comes to school' thing isn't anything original, but I still enjoyed it. It was easy for me to put myself in these character's places and laugh and cry with them. Although the big reveal at the end was a tad predictable, I still recommend the book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lisa ringbloom
I had gotten this book from my mother as a Christmas Present. I had this on my list of books I wanted to read, the concept had intrigued me. When I got the book, I was so happy, and couldn't wait to read it!
So when I started the book, I noticed the big event happened, nine pages in? I was a little surprised on how quick they included the events described on the back.
As I read on, I realized that even though I absolutely adored Ezra, I only felt a connection towards one character, that being Toby. I would say to read this book just for Toby, but sadly he's not in it as much as he deserves. The book focuses mainly on Cassidy and Ezra's relationship, and I'm just gonna say this now, I didn't like Cassidy's character. I personally thought she wasn't a very well written character, and at the end, my disliking for her grows tremendously. Another thing that bothered me about this book was, as I just mentioned, THE END. The end of this book has to be one of the biggest, and I mean BIGGEST, dissapointment of an ending. The problem with the ending, was that they shoved the conflict in and then it walked away. The ending wasn't resolved at all, the character said her feelings and just walked out. It feels like a major ending to try and pull at some heart strings, but it annoyed me. One thing I praised about this book, was the dialogue. And there's a ton of it. The dialogue between the characters were very John Green esqe, which I do give props for. Major problem with that was at times, Cassidy would talk as if she was reading straight out of a book, which my concern was no teenager talks like that. If you like John green's work, more specifically paper towns, I suggest this book. However, if your looking for a story that has well developed characters, resolutions, and A GOOD ENDING, I would skip this one. 6.5/10
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kristopher rufty
This book is like a watered down Looking for Alaska. The main character falls for a girl who's so unique and different from his mundane life, so when she's suddenly torn from his life, he goes on a mysterious quest to find out why. This book, however, focused more on Ezra and Cassidy's boring relationship than the actual mystery/climax itself, which was disappointing and annoying because both characters were flat and irritating . And while The Beginning of Everything and LFA both had the theme of being "stuck" in life, TBOE also spent the entire novel shoving the theme of tragedy down your throat. All in all, this book is a predictable, less developed, and less witty version of John Green's Looking for Alaska.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
todor paskov
Wow! Cool. This book is one of my favorite books, and it's so sweet and heart-breaking that I cried. Yeah. The end really sucked me in and left me feeling like, "What...that's *it*? No. No. NOOOO." Yeah. It left me that bad. The way the author wrote was so heart-wrenching and everything. Definitely recommend!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A contemporary YA book with a male main character who is has to decide whether to live up to the expectations everyone places on him, or to go his own way after an accident knocks his world upside down.

This book offers hope in new beginnings and accepting who you are. Well written!

Also the finished cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. Bonus!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I chose to read this book because it was suggested since I liked a book that was similar in ways. This book is different. It doesn't exactly have the happy ending you typically expect. Two broken people meets and change together, but don't remain together. Nearing the end, things unraveled. Answers and revelations gave reason to conflicts. I know this sounds cryptic, but most of my reviews are.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
alden jones
Oh, I had such high hopes for this book... But unfortunately, this book did not live up to them. The first thing I'm going to talk about is the dialogue exchanged between the characters in the book. CRINGE WORTHY. And I'm not talking about the quotes. Because there were some good ones. I'm talking about the words exchanged in conversation between Ezra, Cassidy, and their friends. One hook up scene in particular left me literally cringing and wondering, "who says these things in real life??? Am I in a 50 Shades novel all of a sudden?" It was just that bad. Along with poor choices of adjectives, the scene was almost unbearably embarrassing to read. Now on to the characters. They were all as boring as stale bread, even the heroine Cassidy. I felt nothing for ANY of the characters throughout the entire book. The worst part was when Cooper died, and even that seemed random and added nothing to the story. When the huge twist came at the end... nope. I still felt nothing. This book had so much potential, and it could have been so much better... but it was not better, not even close.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cori m
The story started with an impact that made me cringe every time I put it down. It ended with me thinking about my friends and how the book made me think of all the times I'm willing someone to pull me out of my misery when all along all I needed is my self.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stephanie layton
If you are like me, and you just so happened to stumble upon this book and think this is going to be a happy book you'd be surprised that it sort of is. Ezra is a very real, very raw character. It's interesting getting the perspective of a senior in high school who was the playboy, and had the dream life that most would love to have. Ezra made a wonderful character, and I very much enjoyed the setting, character, and plot. I would recommend it highly, but if you want a classic YA ending, I probably wouldn't read this book if that's what you look forward too. But otherwise, this book is quite lovely and very much worth your time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewers have compared this novel to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, which is completely appropriate. The Beginning of Everything is sad and comical, touching and funny, and all around stunning. Fans of Green will definitely love this book. Because, in the end, it's a story about loss and how to deal with it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
julie golob
I read this book thinking it would be very Fault in our Starsy, but it fell just a tad short. I love the way the author writes like John Green in a hilarious, sarcastic way. For that and the book's ability to make me think about tragedy and what we do with our lives, I gave it some stars. For its racey parts, excessive obscenities and waiting to get to the very end to finally get to the climax that didn't take long to predict the ending to, I give it only 3.

If you have lots of lounging and reading time like I did over a college break, why not rent it from the library? If you need to prioritize your reading list, put it at #26.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I looked through the 1 star reviews posted about this book and can't help but get a little frustrated about the ignorance displayed in them. This book was fantastic and closely resembles a novel John Green might would right, but not so much that it's repetitive or mirrored. Schneider has her own style and humor that carries through the book and gives it a pleasant edge. I'd recommend this book every day of the week.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bakhtyari mehdi
I liked the "life lessons". I know the characters are older teens but the language was a bit much, thus a 4. I expect it is realistic tho. I thought good example of group/individual dynamics. I do recommend it, just selected by chance in learning to use the Kindle, glad I did.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
If you liked the fault in our stars by john green, you will love this book! The dialogue is mature but not overly so like john greens. Also the dialogue was so creative! The characters as well were creative and quirky. I loved every one of them. I am a nineteen year old girl and i loved this book so much I am recommending it to my 48 year old mother!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ana ross
I honestly loved this book. The main character Ezra was so relatable. I really loved Toby. He was like the glue that held Ezra and Cathy together. Toby honestly made me laugh and want to read the book more.

Recommand this book to anyone who loved contemporary romance..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jason labelle
i was blown away by this book, the description on the back does it no justice on how in depth and unexpected this book is.
its so perfectly written as if you were there and thrown into the world of Ezra and Cassidy.
5 stars is not enough for this book, truly truly amazing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
todd holdridge
I admit that the whole "popular boy falls in love with the eccentric new girl" thing is a little bit of a cliché, but it will only take you a few pages to realize that this is a unique book. I love this book because it is hilarious and all the characters are really entertaining and relatable. I would definitely recommend this book to any John Green fans
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Think of this book as another heart-wrenching version of Star Girl. It's insightful and funny, and perfectly portrays high-school life. One of those fantastic tales of a new girl with a new way of looking at the world, and a boy who makes the decision to walk in her shoes. This book ripped my heart to shreds, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
david lance
In the vein of John Green, this is a contemporary YA, with humor and heartbreak. Love, loss, misfits, and a severed head. Robyn Schneider shows us that every end can also be a beginning with the right attitude.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I read this book when it was called Severed Head, Broken Hearts.

- I read it in 2 days, it was that good!
- Funny and likeable characters.
- Good for all genders
- Most relatable for 13 - 30 year olds
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
amy lynn ferguson
What should be a coming of age story(popular kid falls mightily and discovers the value of true friendship and love) is marred by the fact that the lead character knows everything already. The character of Ezra Faulkner does not read as a teenage boy but a pompous hipster in his mid-twenties. The book's conceit is that the character is redeemed by falling in love with The Girl(incredibly beautiful, adorably quirky, witty, and college-senior smart). She is referred to often by her full name. This pretention as well as random philosophy bon mots weigh the book down. These literary elements are supposed to elevate the book but the quality of the writing cannot support the lofty tropes. Because of this and the character's cynicism and remove, unfortunately, major plot points feel like afterthoughts. The best parts of the book are Ezra's real friends' interactions.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
h seyin
I first heard about this book by a youtuber recommendation and didn't think much about it. I then saw it in my school book fair and decided to get it. Instantly dived right in and could not stop reading. I love this book so much. It brings out all of my emotions and at the same time also makes me laugh. I truly enjoyed this book and I highly highly recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
scott longden
This book changed my life. It made me rethink the things I've thought about life for a very long time. I fell in love with the characters, especially Ezra. I just don't have the right words to explain how this made me feel, but it was beautiful and I loved it
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a great story about how life struggles bring dimension to our lives. Teens believe high school is what defines who they are. This is not true. There is hope for all and deeper meaning than this. But sometimes people don't ever see deeper meaning because they have never experienced true struggles.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Is it just me or did anyone else while reading this book get a strong Paper Towns vibe? Especially because of Cassidy Thorpe, who I almost disliked as much as Margo Roth Spiegelman. I felt Cassidy was a very self-centered character. The ending saved this book for me as her connection with Ezra came full circle. I kind-of wanted to nudge Ezra too, for him to make choices for himself and stop focusing on the past.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonathan hooper
I loved this book because it is relatable and it just tells a realistic love story. It is a story that doesn't just involve a boy and a girl; it is a story that connects love through many characters and shows how important it is to live and love.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book really wasn't what I expected it to be based on reading a review of it. It definitely surprised me and had my emotions going. I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend reading it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mia lawson
Well written and an easy read. All the characters sounded like legitimate teenagers and are fairly flushed out. Loved the book up until about three-quarters in. There's another "tragedy" that takes me out of the story and I never got back in for those last few pages. Despite that, I would still recommend the book. It's not just some YA novel filled with teenage angst. Adults can also relate to some of the timeless themes in this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I honestly love the way he didnt force the two characters to end up together but rather gave the story a mature and realistic ending. I was so satisfied by this that I just had to write something down.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jeff williams
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider was a good story and easy to read; perfect for the audience it is meant for, which is not me!
I enjoy stories of this type when they become movies, but I don't enjoy reading them...too much part of a life I am so far away from now. I can appreciate the wit and society of high school, but after a while I get the "Get over it!" attitude going.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
What i really like about this is it is a light read and pretty awesome description of the characters. Hence, I did not finished reading it because it does not reached my expectations. Though i lend it to my bff and she said she really liked it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I ordered this because it came up as a suggestion for fans of John Green. The whole time I was reading the book I got the sense that the author must have been a John Green fan... In fact she was almost trying too hard to be 'John Green-ish". I had a hard time getting past that but once I got into the story it was pretty good.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
What in the hell. This is so much like the plot of every teen movie now. Boy has friend who gets traumatized and hurt, and realizes he likes a girl who is "out of his league" and they end up together.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
gustav cappaert
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 am not one to not finish a book, but I couldn't do it with this one either. And I know people really liked it. But I just couldn't. Get over yourself. Wahhh --- not the book for me.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kate parsonson
I should have known that when Jeannette Walls recommends this book, and quotes it as "Dazzling" I should have stayed far, far away.

I wanted to give this book a shot. Someone recommended it to me and because I trust their judgment, I indulged.

It was good up until a certain point, and now that I'm finished with the book, I can't recall when it started to turn bad. I just knew that there were so many pages left and yet nothing was really happening.

So to recap, this tennis dude leaves a party, gets hit by a hit-and-run driver, and now his knee is shattered. (view spoiler)

********************SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!! SCROLL DOWN UNTIL NEXT STARS***********************
Yeah that totally sucks. It messes up his whole life; or at least the life that he thought he was going to live. Instead, karma, kismet, personal tragedy, whatever you want to call it, steps in, changes his course in life and throws him a different bone. I get that trying to find some semblance of a reason into "why bad things happen to good people" in this book meant something to author. However, sometimes, in all honesty, shit just happens. You deal with it and move on. I really hated this book when it turned to the point of the dog, Cooper, dying. There was no point in that. I truly hate this book. Yes, all because a dog died. I felt like this dog had more character than any of the other characters the author created. Plus, this whole Cassidy thing? What was the point of that if you weren't going to have her and Erza end up together? Why did you just waste my precious time on 300+ pages when you weren't going to give me a happy ending to this personal tragedy?

***************************END OF SPOILERS!!!!************************************

Oh Michelle, how you should have trusted your instincts.

Bottom line: This book was NOT for me and I do not, nor shall I ever, recommend this book to anyone. Big thumbs down and waste of perfectly good ink.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
anne mcmillan
I just wasn't feeling this book--I really didn't get it and couldn't figure out what all the hype was about. When I went to B & N and saw it displayed, I figured it must be pretty good, but I was wrong. The plot is way too complicated and the characters are boring and I just couldn't relate to any of them. Save your money and don't waste your time with this one.
Please RateThe Beginning of Everything
More information