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The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything

4.1 68
by Robyn Schneider

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Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.

Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king,


Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.

Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

As Kirkus Reviews said in a starred review, "Schneider takes familiar stereotypes and infuses them with plenty of depth. Here are teens who could easily trade barbs and double entendres with the characters that fill John Green's novels."

Funny, smart, and including everything from flash mobs to blanket forts to a poodle who just might be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby, The Beginning of Everything is a refreshing contemporary twist on the classic coming-of-age novel—a heart-wrenching story about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Editorial Reviews

Sarah Mlynowski
“Heartbreaking and hilarious. I have no doubt that girls everywhere are going to fall madly, deeply, hopelessly in love with Ezra Faulkner.”
Lauren Barnoldt
“Smart, funny, heartbreaking, and so true it hurts…this is a book you will never forget.”
Booklist (starred review)
“This thought-provoking novel about smart kids doing interesting things will resonate with theJohn Green contingent, as it is tinged with sadness, high jinks, wry humor, and philosophical pondering in equal measures.”
New York Times Book Review
“It’s an endearing book filled with similarly touching little moments and plenty of snappy dialogue.”
Jeannette Walls
“Dazzling. Full of razor-sharp wit, a keen sense of observation, and surprisingly tender compassion.”
Publishers Weekly
First-time novelist Schneider offers an engrossing romance in which tragedy brings two teens together, then threatens to tear them apart. Ezra Faulkner has a bright future as a tennis player until a car accident leaves him with a serious knee injury. Along with losing his spot on the team and his prospects of being recruited by colleges, he is dropped by his popular clique (“I had been Ezra Faulkner, golden boy, but that person no longer existed”). At the onset of senior year, he makes major changes, rekindling a childhood friendship he’d dropped after a gruesome mishap, joining the debate team, and getting to know Cassidy Thorpe, an the enigmatic new student with a reputation as a stellar debater. Ezra is mesmerized by Cassidy’s intelligence, wit, and philosophical ideas, but after they become a couple, her mood swings set off unexpected sparks. Tension builds as Cassidy’s past comes to light, and a shocking climax culminates in an emotional crash to rival Ezra’s physical one. Schneider shows remarkable skill at getting inside her narrator’s head as his life swings between disaster and recovery. Ages 13–up. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Aug.)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“The Beginning of Everything is a tragic romance of the best kind that leaves the reader feeling as though they are part of the story, and wishing there was more.”
Julia DeVillers
“A witty and unexpected, smartly-crafted and slightly twisted coming-of-age story.”
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
Ezra Faulkner had it all. A tennis star with a beautiful girlfriend, he was the most popular kid at school and destined to be the homecoming king. But that was before his girlfriend cheated on him. Before a car accident shattered his leg and ended his tennis career. Before he lost everything he thought he always wanted. As Ezra learns to deal with his new handicap, trading in his tennis racket for a spot on the school debate team, he rediscovers old friendships and finds that he has a talent for debate. He also meets Cassidy Thorpe, the new girl with a dark secret. In the developing relationship between Ezra and Cassidy, and the rebuilt friendship between Ezra and his former friend Toby, Schneider weaves a complex tale of finding meaning in a new beginning. Although the story starts slowly with a slightly-unnecessary flashback and, at the end, peters off with a chapter that feels like a movie epilogue, the main story in the middle is captivating and powerful. Readers dealing with loss of will find themselves in Ezra, Cassidy and Toby, who each deal with their own unique sorrows. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles
VOYA - Lona Trulove
This is not your classic boy-meets-girl novel. The Beginning Of Everything is a tragic romance of the best kind that leaves the reader feeling as though they are part of the story, and wishing there was more. Ezra Faulkner, the gorgeous, popular tennis player who is seriously injured in a car accident, meets Cassidy Thorpe, the mysterious, intelligent new girl, and the story unfolds from there. There are many plot developments along the way with foreshadowing throughout. The twist at the end is worth the wait. Schneider does a wonderful job with character development. Instantly, the reader becomes involved in these characters' lives. This novel lends itself easily to teaching dynamic and static character development. The themes are rich and very poignant for the young adult reader. Both Ezra's and Cassidy's relationships, as well as the relationships with and among their friends, are very easy to relate to since they are realistic and touching. The Beginning Of Everything is just the right amount of romance, tragedy, humor, and friendship that young adult girls love. This book would be great for a book discussion or book club, especially for young girls. Reviewer: Lona Trulove
VOYA - Amanda Fensch
Ezra Faulkner had it all—top spot on the tennis team, respect of his peers, and a beautiful girlfriend. A horrible accident changed his life and left him with a shattered leg, unable to return to the life he once knew. Now, a new year has started at his school and he is a bit adrift, unsure of where he fits in and struggling with his injury and a lot of spare time. Tony, a childhood friend, introduces Ezra to Cassidy, the new girl who mysteriously disappeared from her previous school and its debate team the year before. Ezra latches on to Cassidy and his newfound group of friends. He is inexplicably drawn to her intelligence and her wit but something about her does not add up. Tensions come to a head and the reveal of Cassidy's secret sends Ezra reeling, leaving tragedy and sadness in her wake. Told with an abundance of wit and heart, Schneider's novel will draw fans by the scores. Ezra is a unique first-person narrator, introspective and funny with just enough confidence to carry his own voice. The romance between Cassidy and Ezra will make readers swoon because it is wholly realistic—funny, awkward, and sweet. The only disappointment here is that the ending feels rushed. Schneider builds up her characters so brilliantly that readers don't get any real resolution until the last few chapters, and then the book just ends. It is a flaw that does not destroy the book, but may leave some readers grumbling once they finish. Reviewer: Amanda Fensch
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Ezra Faulkner believes that everyone has a tragedy waiting to happen that will be their life-changing moment. In the summer before seventh grade, his best friend, Toby, had his moment when he inadvertently caught the severed head of a boy who was decapitated on a ride in Disneyland. Ezra ended his friendship with Toby after that. Now 17, Ezra encounters his own tragic watershed event: he finds his girlfriend cheating on him and then has a car accident that ends his tennis career. He returns to school for his last year a broken boy who has shunned his jock friends and just wants to make it through life unnoticed. By reconnecting with Toby and developing a relationship with Cassidy, a new girl who has a secretive past and home life, Ezra gets the chance to remake himself into someone who lives rather than just exists. Though Ezra's old friends are depicted as stereotypes, they help to emphasize the attributes of his new friends, who are quirky, smart, and funny. This is a wonderfully told story. The dialogue moves the plot along at a fast pace, and Ezra, with all his flaws, is a character to whom readers can relate. Teens won't want to put this one down until the mystery of Cassidy is unraveled at the end.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA
Kirkus Reviews
Smart writing and a compelling narrator raise this book above ordinary depictions of high school drama. After finding his vapid girlfriend going down on another guy, Ezra Faulkner is seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident, leaving him out of the loop with the jock-and-cheerleader set. When senior year begins, he gravitates toward his old friend Toby, no stranger to tragedy himself. Toby and his debate team welcome Ezra to their lunch table when they find out that the prom king is as smart and funny as they are. Schneider takes familiar stereotypes and infuses them with plenty of depth. Here are teens who could easily trade barbs and double-entendres with the characters that fill John Green's novels. Ezra falls in love with Cassidy, an enigmatic transfer student fascinated by Foucault's notion of society as panopticon, flash mobs and puns. Ezra is forced to confront his complacency about the direction his life has been taking, but it's an uneasy passage. The author takes care with the telling of Ezra's story, allowing time to develop her characters. Narrator Ezra's point of view is an unusual one, that of an introspective athlete reflecting on events from the slight remove of his first year in college. Efficient use of language, evocative descriptions and subtle turns of phrase make reading and rereading this novel a delight. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she studied creative writing, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she studied medical ethics. She lives in Los Angeles, California, but also on the internet.

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The Beginning of Everything 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
RandyLRB More than 1 year ago
Beautifully painful and funny. The description of the silent flash mob 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my goodness!!! so many feels at the end!! After finishing the book I held it for about 10 minutes and wept!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic! I loved the characters and plot. The only part that i didnt really enjoy was the ending, because it wasn't the happy cliche that i enjoy so much. It ended like real life, not perfect, but still a great read that i think any lover of a John Green book would enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This crossover teen novel grips you and evokes emotions most books do not. I loved this book and hope it gets the recognition it deserves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im not going to lie, i teared a little and im not ashamed. This book is so amazing that it was able to bring out a tear from me. If youre reading this deciding whether or not to read this take my advise and get it. I will warm you the first bits of it may be a bit boring but i ashure you it will get better :')
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read! This book literslly made me cry. I couldnt put it down!
Gabmore More than 1 year ago
I liked this book and I feel like maybe I could have loved it, had I not read it right in the middle of a slump. The characters were funny and I kind of found myself wishing I could be friends with some of them, specifically Toby. I'm not going to dive into my thoughts on Toby because, I feel you need to discover him for yourself. The main character, Ezra Faulkner, started out seeming a tad whiny to me, rightfully so, but at some point I found myself really just wanting to give him a hug and cheering him on. I couldn't tell you the exact moment that this happened only that it did. While The Beginning of Everything is about how everyone gets a tragedy, you might find yourself laughing the way I did. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, this story just plays with you in the best way. I did hit a patch within the last three chapters where I was crying and unsure whether or not I wanted to finish. I'm glad I did. Robyn Schneider changed the way I look at certain moments in my life. I can honestly say that not many books have touched me in quite that way. I strongly suggest picking it up and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. "I STILL THINK that everyone's life, no matter how unremarkable, has a singular 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?" (The Beginning of Everything)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beutifully painful I started to cry (and I hardly ever cry)I could easily say the whole entire book.If you ever said you wanted to read a book with a sad ending (me) you will regret those words.You wish the story kept going and they saw eachother in college and things happened,but they don't and they never will.You feel confused and it seems there is a whole othe chapter left but it's not.Though I wish the ending is different it wouldn't bethe same.This book reminds you that nothing lasts forever, and that is true because one day when you have been married for a long time and the other person dies your love will never fade but they won't be there because nothing lasts forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book. Not too heavy
NinaNicole More than 1 year ago
Good quick read.
Jennd1 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this novel, I loved that the book is told from a male perspective and i loved Ezra and his pals. I'd love to see these characters again. Ezra's world changes drastically at the end of his junior year and when Senior year starts his world at school is vastly different but with the help of his old pal Toby and Cassidy the charming and mysterious new girl he will gradually try to figure out his new place until he learns that life is more complicated than he could have imagined.
terferj 7 months ago
3.75 stars I thought it was an alright book. I found it cute but I felt a lot of the stuff could have been cut out. I felt stuff that happened in school that had no point on building the story was tedious and it dragged the story down for me a little. I liked the crazy beginning with Ezra and Toby at Disneyland. That was disturbing but it set the mood for me with the story. I really liked the Ezra after the accident. He was more free and good natured. I found Toby to be a doll. I loved him. He was weird and funny. Cassidy I liked. She was fun and different but I didn’t like the shadiness on how she dealt with things. I liked Cooper and how Ezra made the dog (to me) like a rich person that wore a eye monocle. lol. Brave dog. :( I didn’t expect it to end the way it did but I liked that it went that way. So, yes I thought it was cute and it made me happy, chuckle, cry, and inquisitive.
Oliviafar 12 months ago
The main character was annoying as times, but what teenage boy isn't LOL. It was a well written book. There was a great twist in the book that I didn't see coming. If it wasn't for that twist I do not think I would have liked this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is seriously fantastic. It's witty and charming. Something like John Green. I could not put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are all damaged - how will you handle the damage? This a beautiful novel. It will not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading, Robyn Schneider's "The Beginning of Everything," I would definitely recommend it to any other reader in high school. I loved this book because of the story it told and the characters in the novel. Not only did Schneider manage to make my eyes tear up, she kept me laughing throughout each chapter. There was not a moment while I was reading this book that I wanted to put it down. Robyn Schneider chose her characters very well and the plot of the story is one that makes you want to keep reading it every second you can. I personally enjoyed the sarcasm Ezra used and how much his character changed throughout the book. "The Beginning of Everything" truly shows how one tragic thing can change you for life. Not only does it do this, but the book also imitates the stereotypical high school. One thing that I was not fond of in the novel was how The author went into detail about people or characters that were not important. The main thing that I liked about this book was the fact that Schneider made it so relatable to the reader and high school students. One thing that I never saw coming was the awful, yet important plot twist. Because of the plot twist, new and exciting things happen in the book which made me want to keep reading. All in all, I loved "The Beginning of Everything" from start to finish! Every chapter had something new and interesting for me to read which made amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my god! This book is amazing. I read it as a hardcover book a not as an ebook but it's still one of the best books i have ever read. If you lile romantic books with twist and the main character trying to figure out who they are, I totslly recommend this book. I recommend this book even if you dont like these.genres. This book fits into a lot of catergires and I guartuee that u will like, if not LOVE this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I seriously was impressed by this author. He writes a bit like john green and this book was mind blowing. Ezras personality was a jumble of "im the popular kid and i legit dont care." HUGE PLOT TWIST THO. I DIDNT EVEN SEE IT COMING. I litterally gasped OUT LOUD.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
New favorite author?? I think so :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only REAL tragedy here is this shell of a novel. Using 10 cent words as opposed to 5 cent words doesn't constitute good writing, nor does it make up for a lacking storyline filled with high school stereotypes, pretentious and angsty teens, and so-called "witty" banter that sounds like it was pulled straight out of a bad rom-com. Ezra's narration was a bit too melodramatic for my taste, and his constant whining made him highly unlikable as the protagonist of the novel. I found his short-lived romance with Cassidy a bit lackluster as well, but this was largely due to the fact that they were both such irritating characters; I had trouble feeling sympathy for either of these priveleged yet so terribly "tragic" teens. In fact, I couldn't have cared less when they broke up because I was so indifferent to their relationship. The only redeeming aspect of this novel is Cooper who, mind you, is a dog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. It was very well written and there is a lot of wit between all of the adventurous characters. There are parts that will make you laugh, cry, and sit in utter shock. The reason I am giving this four stars and not five is because towards the end of the book, Cassidy started to become extremely rude. It took away from her quirky, loving, fun character. Ezra just dealt with her attitude in the end and apologized, when I felt like Cassidy should have been apologizing.  Danielle M