The Beginning of Everything

( 26 )

Overview

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 new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

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The Beginning of Everything

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Overview

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 new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Ezra Faulkner had good reason to imagine that his life can be summarized in just two chapters: before and after The Accident. That knee-shattering event not only ended his athletic career; it badly damaged his self-confidence and changed this high school golden boy into an outsider. Fortunately, this former tennis star and junior class president makes new ties, most importantly with his old best friend Toby and a mysterious, captivating new girl named Cassidy Thorpe. With its delicious, wry first-person voice, The Beginning of Everything tells Ezra's story as he enters a third new chapter of his life. Truly one of those teen novels you will remember.

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.”
Jeannette Walls
“Dazzling. Full of razor-sharp wit, a keen sense of observation, and surprisingly tender compassion.”
New York Times Book Review
“It’s an endearing book filled with similarly touching little moments and plenty of snappy dialogue.”
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.”
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062217141
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/29/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 46,738
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robyn Schneider is a writer, actor, and online personality who misspent her youth in a town coincidentally similar to Eastwood. Robyn 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 14, 2013

    Beautifully painful and funny. The description of the silent fla

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Oh my goodness!!! so many feels at the end!! After finishing the

    Oh my goodness!!! so many feels at the end!! After finishing the book I held it for about 10 minutes and wept!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    Loved it!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    Amazing and Important Read

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    Honestly and undoubtibly amazing

    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 :')

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Great

    I love this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    Incredible book, though it wasn't quite what I expected

    Incredible book, though it wasn't quite what I expected

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I really liked this novel, I loved that the book is told from a

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    Amazing

    Must read! This book literslly made me cry. I couldnt put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2014

    I guess I'm a sucker for happy endings. I like it when life work

    I guess I'm a sucker for happy endings. I like it when life works out in a neat little package wrapped in red ribbon and blue paper, and I find the warm, gooey center filled with sugar and jam. But sometimes life kicks you in the ass, staples your forehead to the living room carpet, and then swipes your lunch money.

    While it would have been easy to call this novel cheesy, and then add a bit of sap and honey for good measure, I don't feel as though that truly sums up THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING. Of course, if that's how you would like to view it, and then move on with your life, I can understand where you are coming from, and respect your decision. But I do think you have to dig a little deeper on this one, and pull out your backhoe (that you just happen to have lying around) instead of your shovel.

    When I did this, I discovered a world where Ezra Faulkner had a big head on his shoulders, and brushed off all the folks who could have helped him make a difference. But then his leg was shattered in a tragic accident, and he was forced to reinvent himself. Rather than crying over his iPhone, and watching House reruns, he got his crap together, and took the racket off his shoulder. And I respected and admired his decision.

    Cassidy Thorpe might have more than a few pairs of boy shorts and button down shirts in her possession, but she's beautiful on the inside and out, even if she has a slightly different perception of herself in the bathroom mirror. And, yes, I may have looked at her with a bit more than just fond affection.

    I sucked this novel up through a straw in three days' time, and the teenager inside of me (and all of us) was more than happy with my decision. The romance was beautiful and thrilling, even if it kicked me in the pants at the end, the dialogue was intriguing and spot-on, the pace proved to be both intriguing and interesting and just about right, and the characters were just odd and awkward enough to help me reminisce my high school years.

    If you'd like to rediscover your teenage self, then you might want to take a peek behind the curtain, and see what this particular book has in store for you. You might just be glad you did.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2014

    Awesome

    Love this

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    This book is a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Good

    I loved the plot and how bit just kept going

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  • Posted June 21, 2014

     

     

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    I don't want to be a party pooper, but I just couldn't get into

    I don't want to be a party pooper, but I just couldn't get into this book and I couldn't for the life of me figure why Barnes & Noble bothered to display it. The plot is ridiculous and the characters are completely boring. Save your time and money and read something else.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2013

    Ezra Faulkner believes that everyone has a tragedy waiting to ha

    Ezra Faulkner believes that everyone has a tragedy waiting to happen. And when Ezra's tragedy happens, it turns him from the Homecoming King and Student Body president into a totally different person and into a direction that Ezra never imagined he would go. 




    I have been stewing over this one for a while. This one had SO much potential. I loved Ezra, and the story itself was great, but at the end, I just felt, blah.  I think that was why I kept putting off reviewing it.  It just really, well, missed.  I wanted to love it, but, it just didn't work for me… 

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  • Posted September 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book was so great!! Besides that, the audio made it better

    This book was so great!! Besides that, the audio made it better for me. This book sucked me right in and held me close throughout! Starting off with a tragic accident, it instantly had my attention. I then slowly, but surely became totally wrapped up in Ezra's story and his life. I loved the friendships formed, and even the friendships lost. I felt a true sense of how it really is in high school, so it felt very real to me. This could have been anyone's story that I was reading, not a fiction tale. I actual started to feel like I really knew the characters by the time I finished this book. The audio just made it that much better. Also, a note on the title. This book was originally going to be titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts which was fitting, but I think that The Beginning of Everything is a perfect title and fits the book really well.

    Ezra was a character that you can't help but love. Well, I couldn't anyways. I loved his humor and he was really a great guy. Yes, he made some not so great decisions, but who doesn't when you're that age. He isn't the stuck up popular guy, even when he is popular. After his accident, he isn't himself, but he doesn't let it destroy him. He still keeps his sense of self. He is still a fun person. He still wants friendships that mean something. High school is a tough place though. Trying to find his place between being Mr. Popular, and being with his old friend Toby (and new ones) is a fine line that he's not quite secure walking. He does mess up, but ultimately he knows what is right and wrong, and who is really a good friend.

    Cassidy is the other main character in this. Cassidy is like his new start. She is different, not afraid to speak what's on her mind, and still quite mysterious too. She makes him want to open up and be himself, not what other people want him to be. He isn't afraid to do that around her. He doesn't change to please her though, he just lets himself show because he feels like she lets him do that. She was his stepping stone in a way. I loved watching their relationship grow.

    The reader captured Ezra perfectly. I thought that his voice matched his character well. I wasn't a huge fan of the female voices or a few of the other male voices, but it was easy to tell each character apart. Since this is largely Ezra's story, I have to say that this reader was a great choice though. I think he really brought the book to life.

    This book had so much to offer. The plot was wonderful and the character growth was incredible. Robyn Schneider sure writes characters that you can easily relate to, connect with, become friends with. I felt like I was making friends right along with Ezra. When things weren't going well, I ached with him. I felt the story all around me. I was part of it. I thought the writing was beautiful, and even though it was emotional at times, the humor kept it from having too much of a serious feel. It was a fantastic combination of awesome! I will be looking out for more books from this author!

    * An audiobook copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

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  • Posted September 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

        Loved Ezra's voice... Funny and captivating. Exactly what a

        Loved Ezra's voice... Funny and captivating. Exactly what a male protagonist should be. The first person pov works well here, and Robyn Schneider the author is a great storyteller through Ezra. Ezra was sarcastic and tragic, making heavy and light of just the right things. He was brutally honest at times, but also knows how to tell the story without being gratuitous or grusome, but still getting his point across. I just loved the writing style so much! 
        I reviewed this because I loved the synposis, the weird first name of Severed heads, broken hearts (before it changed to the Beginning of Everything) intrigued me, and especially since it was on Edelweiss, though I would have eventually bought or got from the library.
        Friendship with Toby was good too and hate they went apart for a while but story would have been different. Makes me think about all the little decisions that really effect so much. I adored Toby because he took Ezra right back into his circle without question. He gave him a hard time only in that I love you man ragging kind of way, letting him know by saying the opposite that he accepts him.
       Cassidy is the love interest in this one, and she is elusive, seems not to care what others think, just is her own person. I liked her, and wanted to know more about her, and only very little by little did it come out. I think that her and Ezra work together, and though there is a bit of insta-love it seems more at first like physical attraction and seeing a wounded part of each other's soul and connecting that way. So, it worked for me, but I can see how it might not for some others.
       I really enjoy the debate group too. What made this awesome was just that everyone was realistic. No one was perfect, and had their strengths and weaknesses. They were more than one dimensional as well, which is awesome. 
       The ending is so bittersweet, because some of the things I wanted to happen and work out didn't but ultimately we see this huge character growth and development in Ezra that somehow made it all worth it. 




    Bottom Line: Awesome witty writing style, a bittersweet character driven story.

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  • Posted September 3, 2013

    Since I've been on this deeper contemporary kick for basically t

    Since I've been on this deeper contemporary kick for basically the entire summer, I started asking for recommendations for what to read. I got a couple people that told me this doesn't have a deeper meaning, but its still a contemp that I would love because basically everyone that had read it loved it. So I decided to give it a try. In the end, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting but I did enjoy it.
         Obviously there were some things that I did enjoy so I'll start there first. I loved the characters. Ezra started out as what seemed like a douche in the beginning, but as the story went on I loved that he found himself.He grew and became such an amazing person. Seriously if he was a real life character, I'd probably have been friends with him. His humor and the way he felt about telling jokes was exactly the way I felt. I have to admit, I connected with him in more ways than one. I also loved Toby. He was also an amazing person. Even after all those years he didn't hold a grudge against Ezra and accepted him back so many times without any question. He was such a great friend.
         I also liked the romance. For it to be written in from a male POV I was expecting a lot of crude comments, but Schneider made it obvious that Ezra loved Cassidy. It was a bit insta-lovey in my opinion, but I thought when you're as broken as Ezra was, company is much needed. I also loved that it went against what I normally read and didn't provide the exact Happily Ever After that I had originally been hoping for.
         What I didn't like was the plot. It felt like it wasn't going anywhere. Not until the dance night and obviously that was the end. It felt like we were just watching his life day by day to see the few parts between him and Cassidy and that was it. If the book had been mostly like the last 20%, I probably would have loved it a whole lot more.
         This book was certainly hyped up, but in my honest opinion, they hyped it up just a little too much. Even still, this coming of age novel is filled with humor and amazing characters. They all had me hooked from the very beginning, even if it was just to see where everyone ended up.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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