Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rachel Rambles About The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
From Goodreads:
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.

This book left me with some very mixed feelings. There were a lot of things I liked about it, but just as many things I didn't like. So I'm going to make a pro/con list to try to organize my thoughts.

Things I liked:
  • Pop culture references- The Beginning of Everything has so many nerdy, pop culture references to things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who, which are all totally awesome.
  • Humor- The sense of humor in this book is wonderful. The characters are all witty and clever and PUNNY. You guys, there are PUNS in this book! Puns are, no-joke, my favorite form of humor, so it made me smile to read about all the characters throwing puns at each other
  • Secondary characters- Toby and Phoebe are where it's at, my friends. I wish the book had centered on one or both of them because they're both such fabulous characters.
  • The beginning- Way to start off the book with a bang! It pulled me in immediately and made me want to keep reading.

Things I disliked:
  • The Ezra/Cassidy relationship- Honestly? I just wasn't buying it. It didn't seem natural or realistic to me. Cassidy has a sort of manic pixie dream girl vibe going on, and I'm not sure if this is more of a personal thing as opposed to a legitimate criticism of the book, but I just wasn't into it.
  • Cassidy- Okay, so we have the whole manic pixie dream girl thing going on, and I get it. She's all tortured and misunderstood and everything. But Cassidy seems almost too eccentric to be believable. She has all these quirky, offbeat, misfit, nerdy, hipster qualities, and when you combine them, it gets to be a little too much. I feel like she has all these characteristics on the surface, but there's not much development beyond that to make her seem like an actual person.
  • This book tried too hard- It felt, to me, as if this book was trying so hard to be extraordinary. There were so many metaphors and symbols and references to classic literature and musings about the world that are far beyond the average teenager's reach that mean well, but simply do not have the desired effect. Rather than feeling moved and inspired, I felt like these metaphors and references and musings etc. just didn't flow easily and naturally in the story. Instead, they stuck out, in a very obvious "LOOK AT THIS METAPHOR!" kind of way. This book has been compared to John Green's novels, and I think that is a good comparison to make in the sense that The Beginning of Everything tried very hard to be like a John Green novel, but unfortunately, did not succeed.
Like the roller coaster on the cover, The Beginning of Everything has its ups and downs, which cancel each other out and result in a somewhat unremarkable book that I didn't hate, but didn't love either.

After finishing this book, I found myself thinking about it quite a bit, and now I feel the need to pick it up again. I think this book deserves a second chance from me, because it seems like something I should enjoy, so I'd like to reread it and see if maybe my feelings change the second time around. Maybe I'll like it more, or maybe I'll like it less. I don't know, exactly, what I expect to get out of rereading this book, but I'm getting strong "READ ME AGAIN" vibes from The Beginning of Everything, and I don't want to ignore them. I've never gotten vibes like this before, and I'm curious about why I'm getting them. I'm definitely curious enough to pick this book up again. When I do, I'll report back and let you know how this little rereading experiment worked out.

I'm not sure how helpful this review was, since I apparently have no idea how I feel about this book. I apologize for that, but if this book sounds like something you might enjoy, then you should totally pick it up. It might not be for everyone, but maybe it's for you. :)

1 comment:

  1. I love honest reviews like makes me want to read it for myself!