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Where It Began Hardcover – March 6, 2012
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
Amazon's editors chose their list of the one hundred young adult books to read, whether you're fourteen or forty...Learn more
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--Alex Flinn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beastly
–Jenny Han, bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty
"The relentlessly wry and sarcastic tone of this first-person yarn instantly grabs readers’ interest and propels the story forward. Stampler paints a ruthless portrait of wealthy Los Angeles, but she finds the occasional human being there too. Readers will find much cynicism but also humor and insight into a corrupt system not necessarily confined to the rich. Clever and constantly interesting, this is as much a winner as Gabby.” –Kirkus Reviews
"Gabby is a witty and sarcastic narrator, nailing the superficiality of her exclusive high school and wealthy friends... [Readers] will eagerly anticipate the accident’s entire truth revealed, especially through its surprising and gratifying ending." --VOYA
"Stampler’s story of a girl’s obsession with a guy at the expense of all else is powerful, and Gabby’s alcohol problem, her devotion to Billy, and her overall denial are entirely believable. Gabby’s sardonic voice will draw readers into the story immediately, as Stampler delivers a searing portrayal of power, privilege, and betrayal in the hills above Los Angeles." --Publishers Weekly
"Gabby’s voice is bitter and cynical, yet compelling and heartbreaking. [R]eaders will cheer for her when she finally recognizes her own worth." bookpage.com
About the Author
This title is one of our Best of the Month in Young Adult selections for March 2012. For more on all of our editors' teen picks check out this list.
More About the Author
You can find Ann at http://www.annstampler.com, where she chats about life in general, and at Novel In The Oven, where she offers Really Bad Writing Advice. (Seriously, it's rank.)
If you'd like to check out the first few chapters of her novels, go here for Afterparty (Simon Pulse, 2014) http://www.scribd.com/doc/183272047/Afterparty-by-Ann-Redisch-Stampler-Excerpt
and here for Where It Began (Simon Pulse, 2012)here: http://pages.simonandschuster.com/annstampler
Top Customer Reviews
*Complimentary copy provided. This does NOT affect my review in any way.*
Yeah, basically. Anyways...this book is so similar to Stolen in so many ways, but so different in so many other ways. It warmed my heart. It broke my heart. It made me cry and made me smile. Gabby's the kind of girl who just wants the perfect, the safe, life to live. And so she becomes the picture of perfect and catches the eyes of Billy Nash. Or does she? Because when things are getting tough, when she can't remember anything about the accident that crashed Billy's car and took her memories, he's not there. And he only communicates with her through Instant Messaging. And in public? He's once again the boyfriend of the slu* of the school. But it's just an act, right? To protect her. That's what it is.
As much as I could connect with Gabby, I really didn't like her. She was blind in some situations, desperate in others, hostile when she shouldn't be, and consenting when she should've fought back. These were the things that stuck out, the things that I didn't like much. The things the irritate me. But then, how would you react if what happened to her happened to you? So I can't very well judge Gabby (especially since we were seeing things in her POV).
I can't say I was all-knowing when it came to the ending of the book, but I did suspect a few things. What actually happened though, shocked me out of my mind. It made me think. What happened in that book should never happen to anyone, but that stuff happens almost everyday without us knowing. It makes me think that sometimes the "perfect" life is the "fake" life, that there's not one single person who is perfect in all ways. But that's my philosophical side talking.Read more ›
Gabby's one of those girls that really doesn't see how special she is because no one else around her sees it. Her parents are too busy pretending to be rich to care and since she doesn't feel like she excels at anything, she doesn't have a lot of validation accept for when her mother gives her a make over that turns her into the girl her mother always wished she could be. Suddenly, Gabby is sky-rocketed to the new "it" girl and is on the arm of the hottest guy in school. Gabby's charm and whip sharp tongue color her voice as she tells her tale and make for quite a few laughable moments. Her sarcasm covers up for some of her deeper insecurities which changes depending on her mood at the time. Though I'm not sure I'd want her to be my friend, I did love hearing her uncensored thoughts about things.
The other characters were really wonderful too. Gabby's parents were deliciously evil as they flit around trying to figure how to go back to the way they were while still dealing with Gabby's slew of problems. Gabby's mother, in particular, was a wonderfully complex woman. Her simultaneous inner turmoil to fill her own needs while not thinking about anything else wars with her general want to be there for Gabby. And I really felt that her mother did want to help Gabby in her own way. Her dad played less of an active role.Read more ›
Where it Began is an utterly compelling and poignant look into the life of a sub-regular turned, girlfriend-of-a-golden-god teenage girl. It is a completely addictive story and I guarantee that you will be glued to this book within the first few pages. Between Ann Stampler's unique and utterly fabulous writing style, her incredibly three-dimensional characters and captivating plot she has become my favorite new contemporary author.
I don't even know where to begin when it comes to summarizing this story, it was just brilliant and you simply must read it yourself. The story starts when Gabby wakes up in a hospital bed desperately trying to piece together how she got there. She is able to gradually recall scenes from her life before the accident but has no memory of the accident itself. The novel revealed Gabby's history through a series of flashbacks as she remembered them during her recovery. It was difficult to stand on the sidelines and not be able to do anything to help Gabby as I could see that ending coming the whole time, although I never expected the full extent of what came to light. I was just waiting on pins and needles for the other shoe to drop and when it finally did it left me as shattered as Gabby.
I truly believe that Stampler has an unparalleled ability to not only get inside her characters heads, but to actually get the reader inside the character's heads. I have never in my life been so invested in a story or character as I was with Gabby. And that is saying a lot considering I am always talking about how I am a character reader. The entire reason I read is to make a connections with a brilliant character. My heart broke continuously for Gabby as I was reading Where it Began.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Since looks mean everything, Gabby's superficial mother gave her an extreme makeover (minus plastic surgery) the summer before junior year. Read more
After reading the synopsis, Where It Began seemed like exactly the kind of story I enjoy. Sadly, I found next to nothing enjoyable about it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Torey White
This book is hard for me to review. I liked it, but it was just ok. I was very frustrated with Gabby, the main character. Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. Newby
Very good read ! I loved the suspense in the book, who knew that was coming?!? Well done Stampler, well done!Published 18 months ago by Andrea
Gabby has it all, the perfect boyfriend, the cool friends, and a popular life. This all changes in a matter of seconds. Read morePublished on November 18, 2013 by Serenity
This book is a little hard to summarize because it is not a typical chronological story line. Read more
This book was frustrating!!! I couldn't get through it. I couldn't connect to the character or anything. Read morePublished on March 5, 2013 by nikki
I didn't want it to end. Took me awhile to get into it but it was worth the reading and timePublished on March 2, 2013 by Brianna Walton