My Thoughts About The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (Book Review #54)

We follow the story of Ezra Faulkner, a 17-year old high school student from San Diego, who struggles to keep up with his new life after the accident that shattered his knee. Ezra believes that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them to happen and his tragedy happened when he was at his prime. One night, everything crumpled when Ezra was accidentally ran over by a car that shattered his knees causing him to loose his athletic career and social status at school.

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Nothing seems normal after his return to his school for his senior year. In his junior year, he was the junior body class president, captain of the tennis team and dated the most popular girl in school. Then everything shifted. Having this permanent injury that he has to carry throughout his life (with a cane) and believing that he no longer belongs with his former friends having felt that his old life doesn’t suit him anymore, he finds himself at the table of misfits whom he eventually become close to more than his previous friends joining them with their antics. We also follow as he meets Cassidy, an equally complex girl who belongs to that group of misfits whom he thought at first was a weird girl but eventually it’s that uniqueness that will make him fall for her. From there on, he experiences the beginning of everything.

Cassidy helped Ezra realize that life is not just about being popular. Life is about being you and doing what will make you happy and not to always conform with what other’s think or will say. Then the book gave clues that Cassidy is not just this intelligent and confident stellar debater girl and that she hides a secret, a tragic backstory that threatens to tear them apart. Ezra has been open to everything in his life to her but Cassidy’s the opposite. There are just tragedies not are not meant to be shared.

I like how the story has the world of debate as a backdrop in some scenes. I thought that it is unique. I like that it was used by the author to have the characters know more each other. It could have been more awesome though if the author could have used that avenue to have the main characters to have big emotional scenes. She could have expanded the scenes to reveal more about the leading characters.

I also like the use of popular culture references by Ezra’s new friends. That part provided the book it’s needed wit. There are also a lot of references The Great Gatsby and author F. Scott Fitzgerald which made the book more engaging.

The book is a coming of age story of a boy as he journeys about knowing himself. The books provides charming and witty lines concerning life in general. The author presented a story that is relatable to everyone in one way or another regardless if we have already experience what happened to the characters or not. It talks about love, friendship and living life to the fullest. It talks about hope and how new beginnings can begin from tragic happenings in our life during those times when we least expect it. It talks about accepting our own vulnerabilities. It’s a story of hope and at times will get you reflecting about your own life. It also talks about the choices that we make and that life is how we make it.

I learned that the original title of the book was Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. I kind of like it if it stayed as that for it summarizes the whole of the book. How the story started and where it headed. But nevertheless, “The Beginning of Everything” is just as fitting.

Although alot of depths were given to the two primary characters, the remaining characters were just left out. I kind of feel like it would have been better if the book was extended to even just show some depths to the other characters like for instance the other kids at the school. They all acted as one dimensional characters who only seems to care about being cool. The characters must have at least sympathize to Ezra at the end or even at least their differences must have been given a closure. I had a hard time connecting with any of them aside from Toby. Toby, is the stand out among the secondary characters. Toby is Ezra’s childhood bestfriend from whom he has drifted away and where the ‘severed heads’ part of the original title. When Ezra became one of the cool kids, Toby went to the opposite path and became friends with the other “nerds” of the school. But after Ezra’s accident, they reconnected. He accepted Ezra and make him feel welcome with his group of friends. I like his honesty, his being frank and straightforward and he also brings the humor to the group. There relationship as friends is one one of my favorite parts of this book.

Some scenes on the book are also “louder” than the others making it appear that some parts a little bit slow for me. The book just picked up momentum a couple of pages before it ended. Midway reading it, I felt like there are some parts that easily forgettable and it seems like nothing is happening.

Despite having some issues, I can still say that the book is still good. My expectations were not just totally met. It just falls flat in terms of giving more depth to the characters and to the story expanding its story which I look into a book. I see the book as having a lot of potential materials to be a great book but were not totally shown and utilized making it look like a shadow of some of the books with the same story line. I have to commend the author though for writing in a male’s point of view. It felt very real and genuine. It was just that I was not able to totally connect to the book. The Beginning of Everything may not have been a good read for me, but I am looking forward to reading more of the author’s works (I have a copy of the author’s Extraordinary Means and I am planning to read it either this month or next month and those who have already read it is telling me that it is better so I am looking forward to reading it soon. 🙂 ).

AND YES, I GOT MY BOOKS SIGNED WHEN ROBYN SCHNEIDER VISITED THE PHILIPPINES LAST JULY 5, 2015! 😀 Here are some of the photos that I took including the picture of me and Ms Schneider. 🙂

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