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Where It Began Hardcover – March 6, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"A terrific read! Ann Stampler puts you in Gabby's head and keeps you there until the gripping conclusion. A writer to watch!"
--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

Ann Redisch Stampler makes her YA debut with Where It Began. She is the author of several picture books, including The Rooster Prince of Breslov, which have been an Aesop Accolade winner, Sydney Taylor notable books, a National Jewish Book Awards finalist and winner, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year. Ann lives in Los Angeles, California.

Best of the Month in Young Adult
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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442423218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442423213
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ann Stampler was the mild mannered author of literary picture books when she broke out, tore off her tasteful string of pearls, and started writing edgy, contemporary young adult novels set in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and writer's-helper rescue dog - without whose compelling distraction she would have no doubt penned dozens of novels by now.

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

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nikki Wang on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Orignally from Fiction Freak ([...])--
*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.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amber @ Down The Rabbit Hole on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Where It Began weaves an emotional tale of healing wrapped in the pleasantly sarcastic voice of Gabby as she relives that last few months of her life leading up to the accident that put her in bed in the first place. Gabby's strong personality and sad home life made it easy to feel for her plight and the re-examination of the things she held dear is interesting as it is entwined with her new life after the accident. I really enjoyed the mixture of the two time lines.

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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Melanie McCullough on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Gabby Gardiner has been in a terrible car accident. It has scarred her face and broken her body. Worse than that however is the fact that she can't remember a single thing about the accident or the events leading up to it. Her life seems to be falling apart as she faces potential jail time for driving under the influence, not to mention the loss of her looks, her status, and her boyfriend.

Gabby is an incredible protagonist. She is whip-smart and snarky, lending a humor to an otherwise horrific situation. But she's just like pretty much every other teenage girl in the world. She wants to fit in, and she wants the super cute/popular boy who was her boyfriend before the accident to want to be with her again. In fact, she'll do pretty much anything to ensure he continues to want her.

We've all done it. We've lied and told ourselves whatever we had to in order to pretend things were the way we wanted them to be. We've ignored everything else. Even common sense. But Gabby seems to take this almost to the extreme and I spent a lot of the book wondering when she was going to wise up and face the truth.

Ann Redisch Stampler's writing style is superb. It's fresh, exciting, and takes a story that could have been predictable and turns it into something unique. She perfectly captures the naivety and angst of a teenager who considers herself sub-par and unworthy, living in a world populated by the arrogant and over-privileged.

And in Where It Began she delivers a compelling story and a captivating protagonist. Gabby's story will hook you from page one and will definitely appeal to fans of the contemporary genre.
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