The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Novel: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider | Goodreads
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegan
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.
On the outside, The Beginning of Everything looks like just another YA romance novel—something cute, but not captivating. Had I not heard multiple bloggers compare the writing to John Green’s, I likely would have passed it up in favor of other books with more immediate appeal. However, Schneider’s debut surprised me with its witty writing, complex characters, and intelligent narration, and I am so glad I decided to give it a chance.
One of The Beginning of Everything‘s biggest assets is its pair of main characters, both of whom will captivate readers. Although they both seem to follow clichés, Schneider brings their personalities to life, adding more dimensions to their descriptions. Ezra is the fallen golden boy, but his character grows so much, and Cassidy is the enigmatic temptress, but her characterization is effortless and secretive enough to make her seem like something completely new. Both characters seem simultaneously realistic and too good to be true because they are so complex.
The relationship between these two characters progresses in an unexpected way, full of tension, unpredictable surprises, and moments that will make readers feel both positive and negative emotions. I am not sure if I should even call The Beginning of Everything a romance novel, but if it is a romance novel, it is one of the best ones I have ever read. The main characters’ bond follows an unconventional—sometimes unsatisfactory—pattern that will leave readers relishing a fresh series of romantic events.
My favorite part of The Beginning of Everything, though, is the intelligent writing that deserves every John Green comparison bestowed upon it. Just like the wildly popular author, Schneider blends philosophy, science, and literature references into her novel, and she never makes them feel boring. They enhance Ezra and Cassidy’s conversations, giving readers something to think about. Schneider even uses one of my personal favorite quotes: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” After hearing Cassidy reiterate this line by Mary Oliver, there was no denying my infatuation with her character and her story.
In The Beginning of Everything, I found both a new favorite book and a new favorite author. It made my mind race and my heart ache, labeling itself a must read for anyone who wants a magnificent, John Green-esque story. I came for the writing and stayed for the characters, and both will stay in my head for years to come.