The Beginning of Everything

By Robyn Schneider
Published on August 27th 2013
Published by Katherine Tegen
Source: Publisher
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.

Let me preface this review by saying: Wow. It’s been awhile since a book has hit me in the gut this hard out of nowhere.

Ezra Faulkner was a popular, star athlete who was supposed to be homecoming king, until a car accident shattered his leg and his dreams. Suddenly, he finds himself ostracized by his friends, a member of the debate team, and in love with the mysterious and adventurous new girl, Cassidy Thorpe.

At first glance, this novel seems like another typical story. Ezra is your stereotypical jock who hangs out with other jocks and dates only popular girls. He goes to parties where everyone gets drunk and does stupid things. Until, one night, he leaves one of those parties and ends up in a terrible car accident, shattering his leg, and ending his tennis career forever.

The first thing that threw me off guard about Ezra’s situation was how it seemed like everyone at school, not just his friends, turned their backs on him because he wasn’t Mr. Athlete anymore. The second thing that threw me off guard was the introduction of Cassidy, a free-spirited girl who he instantly falls for. Their romance is sweet and Cassidy seems to bring out an adventurous side of Ezra that the reader doesn’t know is there. But Cassidy is holding on to a dark secret that gets between her and Ezra, and the exposure of that secret sends the rest of the novel into a spiral of drama that I honestly didn’t see coming.

I thought the first half or so of the novel was a little slow and uneventful. The reader spends a lot of time with Ezra and Cassidy going on adventures and getting to know each other. Ezra slowly starts to realize who his true friends are and becomes his own person. It isn’t until Ezra starts to realize that Cassidy is keeping secrets from him that the novel reveals itself to be something far different than what it seems. I don’t want to give anything away, and this is the kind of novel that is so hard to summarize without revealing some major plot points, but I will say that it left me both saddened and inspired. So, I urge readers to keep reading and find out for themselves!

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