May 30, 2013

Speed Date: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (or The Book Formerly Known as Severed Heads and Broken Hearts)

The Plot: Ezra Faulkner was the boy who had it all: the hot girlfriend, the sweet ride and he was at the very top of the high school food chain... until the end of Junior year when he caught his girlfriend cheating and got into a car crash, which ended his budding tennis career.

A summer later, Ezra is starting senior year with a limp and no idea where he's supposed to belong. He's angry: at life, at the SUV that blew through the stop sign and shattered his knee, at Charlotte for cheating, at his friends for never visiting him in the hospital. He wants things to go back to what they were but is intensely aware that they can't.

Enter Cassidy Thorpe. She's a prep school transplant and the new girl in town. She's not quite like any of the girls Ezra has ever been around: she's smart and not afraid of showing it, she is quirky and original and always seems to have a plan for an adventure. At first they don't get along all that well but when they do, Cassidy also becomes a link to Ezra's former best friend Toby Ellicott, whom she knows from Debate tournaments.

Toby and Ezra were best friends up until they were 12, when Toby's tragedy struck him and their friendship was lost in the war zone of middle school. Now, Toby is kind of cool among the geeky/nerdy set of the school and, against the odds, willing to embrace Ezra into his group of friends.

As Ezra loses himself into new friendships, new interests and Cassidy Thorpe, he starts to find himself, even if he does stumble quite a bit. 

First Date: Oh Ezra, I don't usually like boy-narrators but I'll make an exception for you, since I like your voice. And I like Toby!!! I mean, he's not on a lot yet but I like him already. Cassidy seems rude though, and a bit snotty in the Manic Pixie Dream Girl -way that MPDGs have. 

Second Date: Cassidy is a definite MPDG, and the variety I like the least. BUT! I like the rest of the characters a lot, like Phoebe and Toby and the others. And Cooper! I love Cooper, total team Cooper!  Ezra, you are a compelling narrator, but even Toby can see the sucker punch that's coming your way. 

Third Date: Well... I'm a little conflicted. I like the ending in theory but I'm not sure I LOVE the execution. Like, I like the spirt and where the story ended, but the writing felt a little forced right at the end. But maybe I was just... yeah, I had a very emotional reaction to something that happened before the end so yeah, might be clouding my impression of the third date. 

Relationship Status: Going Steady with Ezra
I really liked The Beginning of Everything (or The Book Formerly known as Severed Heads and Broken Hearts) (and I hope I'm not a total jerk for reviewing a book that comes out in August 27th).

Ezra was a great narrator and I quite liked him, I loved the debate crowd and how they embraced their nerdiness like it was a given without making a bug fuss about it, they were what they were and that was that. Plus, they were cleaver and smart without being annoying (except fo Cassidy, but Cassidy annoyed me the whole way so I'm not counting her), and they sounded like teenagers at the same time.

Cassidy was my one big hang up with this book because I found her kind of annoying most of the time. She's one of those MPDGs that try too hard and are kind of needy at the same time, though they keep pushing you away. I was okay with the way her story interwove with Ezra's, and the big reveal was kinda obvious by that point, but still, that wasn't the problem, I just didn't like her very much, though I can totally see why a guy like Ezra would fall for her.

All in all, I loved reading The Beginning of Everything.. It starts a little slow but once it hits its stride is hard to put down. I liked Ezra's dry wit and I actually liked the beginning a lot, where he talks about the tragedies that mark our lives and how we all have one. 
starstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

What's a Book Speed Date, you ask? It's a quickie review--about 150 words or so--of any genre book (variety is the spice of life, after all).

If you want to join in or just read other speed date reviews, check out The Book Swarm

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