Teen Review: The Beginning of Everything
Review by Sophie, member of the Brentwood Youth Advisory Group
“Everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary, a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.” Or at least that’s what Ezra Faulkner thinks, a 17 year old “golden boy” who lives in Eastwood, California, a boring suburb 20 minutes from Disneyland filled with 6 bedroom Spanish style homes. In Eastwood they don’t go looking for adventure, they chase it away.
After finding his girlfriend, Charlotte Hyde, the most popular girl at Eastwood High, making out with some other guy at a party Ezra leaves with an angry haze over him. As he’s driving home, blinded by frustration, he gets hit by a car, shattering his knee, and putting his reputation as Eastwood’s best tennis player on hold, possibly forever.
For Ezra, this is his tragedy, but who is he in the aftermath of it? Is he the golden boy they all knew him to be, the tennis star, the most popular boy at school, or homecoming king? For Ezra, the answer is none of them. No one will ever remember him as the boy who had the record amount of votes for the school election, or the one who held hands with Charlotte Hyde in the hallways, or even the one who single handily led Eastwood to their tennis championship. But then who is he? “The funny thing about gold is how quickly it can tarnish”.
We follow 17-year-old Ezra through the challenges of senior year, and even though it’s his last year at Eastwood High, he definitely has a lot more to cope with than the average senior. None of his friends care to visit him in the hospital, his tennis coach gets into a fight with his dad, and he becomes a guest in his own home, unable to walk without the support of a cane. So on the first day of school it’s like he is starting high school all over again, with no one to sit with at the welcome rally or anyone to talk to at lunch. None of his friends even look at him anymore, confirming what he thought all summer, that this is his tragedy and his alone. As he was the king, it seems fitting to take his exile. That is until he falls in love with the new girl Cassidy Thorpe.
The Beginning of Everything is hands-down my favourite book. It is filled with everything from humour, romance, mystery, and tragedy as well. It will make you laugh, cry, and maybe both at once. I would recommend this book to anyone because the topics are relatable for any teen. Robyn Schneider also does a great job keeping readers engaged by making Ezra a character that both girls and guys can connect to as well as using a hilarious tone filled with sarcasm and heart-felt moments.
This book does have quite a few great philosophical quotes for those of you who are into Pintrest quotes and artsy Instagram captions along with several Great Gatsby references for fans of that American classic. As well, the book does have a bit of a plot twist at the end which will leave you begging for more. Ezra is such an inspiring character filled with such an unexpected personality it’s hard not to fall in love with him as I’m sure many who have read this book have. This book really does have a bit of something for everyone and I would definitely recommend it to anyone ages 13 and up. It’s a book that everyone should read before they finish high school, with a message so important it will impact your life, and a twist so shocking you won’t even see it coming.