The Beginning of Everything (aka Severed Heads, Broken Hearts)
Genre: YA, Realistic fiction
Similar Books/Author Styles: John Green
Published: July 29th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Book Summary: Ezra Faulkner is your typical high school golden boy; the type that has got it all down when it comes to his sport, gets invited to parties, gets the girls, and has decent grades. Basically the type that everyone knows about and all the other guys secretly envy. But that was all before. His leg was injured and now sports isn’t all he has in his sights. Then the new mysterious girl, Cassidy Thorpe, comes along and his world is flipped around. He had everything going for him (for the most part), but now? Ezra is on his way of figuring it out.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I still think that everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a single tragic encounter after which everything that really matters 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. So who was I in the aftermath of my personal tragedy?” ~ Ezra Faulkner
When I first read the back cover summary of The Beginning of Everything, I thought it would be just like all the other YA contemporary books that we had all read before; a regular guy falling for one mysterious girl that happened to catch his eye. In some ways it sort of was; it was like a blend of John Green books. However, this book somehow intrigued me in more ways than I thought it would.
This book is narrated in first person by Ezra Faulkner and I loved it. His voice, personality, and emotions were evident. It might have been cool to see things from Cassidy Thorpe’s point of view but I guess that’s the whole point of it; she’s mysterious and it’s hard to know what’s constantly running through her mind. Personally, it took me a bit to really get into the book but once I did, it went by quite fast. It had its fair share of awkward moments and philosophical thoughts.
Firstly, I really enjoyed the main characters’ wit, quirkiness, and the activities that they did together as a group in general. It was entertaining to see all their different personalities being tossed together into the events and the way they played out. I laughed a lot mentally and out loud at some of their jokes and dialogues and they were relatable teen personalities. Throughout this book you could see how Ezra Faulkner progressed as a character and at some points of the story, I felt just as confused as he was about how certain things and people.
Cassidy Thorpe’s sly humour was portrayed well in a way that is like she knows things that you don’t. And well, surprisingly or not, she does. She’s an absolute puzzle and likes standing out. I appreciate her bravery for it. But it seems like nothing is ever as it seems.
However, although the settings of The Beginning of Everything are pretty believable and realistic, I couldn’t exactly say the same about Toby’s personal tragedy that was described in the beginning of the book. When it opened with that scene, I felt that it should have been a great way to launch the entire plot with Ezra’s belief about tragedies and how everything came to be in the present time; but it just didn’t connect with me as being something realistically horrible. Rather, it struck me as more of a fictional story or a type of modern fable instead. It slightly bugged me whenever it was brought up, like it wasn’t quite really what happened. The ending was also not what I was really hoping for yet it still made sense for things to end up like it did. (I still can’t help wishing for things in books to happen so that I can feel really satisfied though.)
All in all, I loved that you could relate to the quirky teen characters either as a current teenager or as a memory of being one and the voices in it. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a book with lots of wit and a dash of insight; perhaps something more after reading all of John Green’s books. Robyn Schneider’s writing was great reading about throughout the first book of hers that I’ve read and I’m excited to read her new YA book, Extraordinary Means, soon! It’s currently waiting for me at the library and I will probably write another review for that so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading! If you’ve read The Beginning of Everything or you’re planning to, tell us about your thoughts about it in the comments. 🙂