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The Beginning of Everything Hardcover – August 27, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (August 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062217135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062217134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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, LAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The way Ezra Faulkner sees it, everyone gets one great tragedy, after which life should roll on predictably. His middle-school best friend, Toby, gets his when a roller-coaster accident brands him a social misfit, and Ezra gets his a week before junior prom, when he, the tennis star and class president shoo-in, is injured by a distracted driver. When senior year begins, Ezra and his destroyed leg slide easily into a new social circle, eschewing the surface attempts of former friends to stay connected and instead joining Toby on the debate team. That’s where he meets Cassidy, a beguiling transfer student who helps Ezra discover his new self. To Ezra, it’s an idyllic relationship, so when it collapses, his worldview collapses, too—hadn’t he just recovered from his one great tragedy? Throughout, Ezra reads The Great Gatsby and alludes to parallels found in the classic novel. His story of self-discovery and reinvention is told in past tense, providing just enough distance for bits of reflection and subtle foreshadowing, which serve to enrich characters and build suspense. This thought-provoking novel about smart kids doing interesting things will resonate with the John Green contingent, as it is tinged with sadness, high jinks, wry humor, and philosophical pondering in equal measures. Grades 8-11. --Heather Booth

More About 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. You can watch her vlogs at and follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Customer Reviews

Well written- interesting characters and plot.
Talaya Simpson
This story had a bittersweet happy ending and it left you wanting to know more about what happens to everyone and yet satisfied for now.
Ezra is a great character, his tragedy and depth make him very real and relatable.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Lili's Reflections on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I went into this book with no expectations and I came out of it practically salivating at the mere thought of Schneider releasing a second book. This is a brutally honest coming of age story; a journey of self discovery mixed with severed heads, broken hearts, angst, a big black poodle, and wry humor that had me cackling throughout the novel. Overall, this book was a really sobering experience. This book represents life, the world we live in, how one can find themselves at the most inopportune times. This is what it's like to be a teenager and grow. And, damn, did my heart swell as I turned the last page, unwilling to say good-bye so soon.

This book is perfect for fans of John Green. Schneider uses similar dialogue techniques. By that I mean that all of the characters are sort of hyper-intelligent and if you can't keep up you can get lost in their plethora of explanations for the most randomly awesome things. After watching many of Schneider's vlogs on her YouTube channel, it's glaring obvious that these characters are similar to her personality. She loves those random facts that nobody else knows and she constantly wants to share them with the world. She's fascinated with weird German words, which do make several appearances in this novel. She is also a literature buff, but hey, aren't we all? These three aspects of her combine to create her characters in really interesting ways. They're constantly spewing these facts that I never would have found otherwise and I loved every second of it. I learned from this book, legitimately learned awesome facts to spring on my unsuspecting peers when they least expect it. And the best part is that she found the perfect time to insert these tidbits, so I never felt rushed or confused.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Step Into Fiction on October 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever read a book that didn't seem memorable, but found yourself remembering? Every once in a while I thoughtlessly think about Ezra Faulkner and his theory on tragedy, and I'm reminded just how much I really liked The Beginning of Everything.

Seventeen year old Ezra had it all; he was president of his junior body class, captain of the tennis team, drove a Beamer and dated the most popular girl in school. From page one Schneider drew me in with imagery, setting forth a series of events that lead up to Ezra's single encounter after which everything that really mattered happened. With cheeky puns and prose that reside somewhere just below lyrical, The Beginning of Everything rocketed into my top five favorite books of the year.

Admittedly, when I first read the synopsis I wasn't on board. I bought it because it was on sale for five bucks, and the girls on Goodreads were raving about it. When I think "tragedy" there are a hundred devastating scenarios that come to mind, not one of them Ezra's circumstance. As an adult, one no longer young enough to be considered "young", I was certain there wouldn't be anything I could relate to; Never did I depend on a sport to carry me, I didn't rule the school, and my parents certainly never bought me a Z64. I was wrong.

The characters of this world were, for the most part, likable. There weren't any chronically-blushing-damsels, who seem to be so trendy in the YA/NA genres. My personal favorite was Toby. Years after his friendship with Ezra dissolved Toby remained loyal, proving just how wrong Ezra is about, well, most things. His personality reminded me quite a bit of Patrick from Perks of Being a Wallflower, whom I also loved. Come to think of it, the majority of Schneider's characters seemed oddly familiar.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By kacunnin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Robyn Schneider's THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is all about tragedy. High school tennis star and BMOC Ezra Faulkner is injured in a hit-and-run accident the weekend before his junior prom. His knee is shattered, leaving him the teenage version of House - depressed, bitter, and dependent on a cane. He'll never play tennis again, his jock friends have moved on, and he can't figure out how to make his life work without them. As Ezra explains it, "everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, . . . a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen." The car accident is Ezra's tragedy. It's also "the beginning of everything," as Ezra reconnects with Toby Ellicott, his old BFF from middle school (a quirky debate team nerd who Ezra dumped in 7th grade), and meets new girl Cassidy Thorpe, an "achingly effortless" free spirit who quotes Marvell and Shakespeare and quickly wins Ezra's heart. But this is a book about tragedy, so don't look for a happy ending. Ezra and Cassidy may be cute together (excruciatingly cute at times), but there's more to Cassidy's story than she's saying. At one point, about two-thirds of the way through this book, Ezra says of Cassidy, "I pictured her tragically; it never once occurred to me to picture her as the tragedy." That pretty much says it all.

Not a whole lot happens in this novel, since it's less about plot than it is about character (and tragedy - don't forget the tragedy). Ezra gets hit by that car, his girlfriend (who cheats on him just before the accident) leaves him bleeding in the road, he misses prom (and most of the summer), and then he comes back to school to find that nothing much is left of the life he used to live. He gets close with Toby (I liked Toby; he was almost my favorite character . . .
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