The Beginning of Everything


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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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: 95,710
  • Age range: 13 years

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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