By: Melanie | September 21, 2013 | (21) Comments

Review: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn SchneiderSevered Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Release Date: September 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 288
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Robyn Schneider's book, originally titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini and novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for themβ€”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 career as a jock, 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 metβ€” achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

Together, Ezra and Cassidy discover flash mobs, buried treasure, secret movie screenings, and a poodle that might just be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby. 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?

With lyrical writing, nerdy humor, and realistic romance, Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a story about how difficult it is to play the part people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts (or The Beginning of Everything) was one of my most highly anticipated novels of 2013. So when going into this, I had high expectations. And for what seems finally, my expectations were fulfilled. Before I go into this review I’d just like to point out that I much prefer the old name, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts which also happens to be the UK/AUS title, I mean it describes this book perfectly in the most direct and indirect ways.

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes he has just encountered his worst tragedy ever. And he is relatively correct- his life basically did a 180 spin. Now not-so-golden-boy Ezra with a shattered knee finds himself falling lower down the social ladder with his passion for tennis disappearing as well. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is all about finding yourself, finding true love and friends, as well as learning from old mistakes. Robyn Schneider does a remarkable job at creating such a credible male voice that will and have moved readers significantly.

Being a fan of Pretty Little Liars, my main concern when going into Severed Heads, Broken Hearts was the characters. Ezra and Toby, two of the main characters in Severed Heads, Broken Hearts also happen to be two of the leads in Pretty Little Liars. I was quite afraid for my prejudice to kick in and paint them with my natural instincts towards the PLL personalities. However, this was totally not the case. Robyn Schneider’s characterisation was glaringly distinct and strong, I was utterly enthralled into the story no prejudgement issues. Ezra’s character arc was a momentous leap, after giving up his passion for tennis and old ‘friends’- ones on the highest peck of high school no longer talking to him; he was lost, with his growing self-consciousness. Faultlessly portrayed and created, Ezra’s flaws, blemishes and mistakes were just more reasons to love and empathise him.

β€œYou have this maddening little smile sometimes, like you’ve just thought of something incredibly witty but are afraid to say it in case no one gets the joke.”

Relationships seem to be one of the main orbiting themes in Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. We have Toby, sweet and humorous just like Ezra. He can see through the slightest of lies. Toby’s part in this novel was quite compelling. Once upon a time best friend, who had a bad history with Disneyland- the result of a severed head. I loved Toby for his reacceptance towards Ezra, who had left Toby after the Disneyland tragedy. Romance is another element that was focused on. I wasn’t awfully convinced with it for majority of the novel but at the end I was shipping Ezra and Cassidy hard. I wasn’t too convinced with the romance mainly due to Cassidy’s mysterious behaviour which I began to figure out a while into the novel. Her personality was energetic, intelligent and defiant in the sense that she didn’t care what other’s thought of her. Therefore, a perfect match for Ezra who was failing to feel comfortable with a cane all the time.

Like nothing I have read before, Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is a strong, cogent novel about finding your true self, and picking up from where you fall no matter how hard it is. It’s about love, friendships and trying new things. It’s about people like Ezra, whose narrative so conceivable can face new and unexpected realities. Life is hard, but like so many characters in this novel do, they keep going, head held high.


~Thank you Simon and Schuster for sending me this copy!~

4 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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21 Responses to Review: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

  1. Kate Bond says:

    What if I’ve never read Pretty Little Liars? Would that be a problem?

  2. Amelia says:

    Ooh this looks so good, Melanie! Your review is amazing as usual πŸ™‚ The characters seem like ones that I will love greatly. I’m glad that I haven’t read or watched PLL then.

  3. Tanja says:

    I agree with you about the title. I love this one and while The Beginning of Everything is interesting title this one is way better πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you enjoyed this one because I have seen some not so great things about it. Great review πŸ™‚
    Tanja recently posted…Author Interview: Jamie BaywoodMy Profile

  4. That is seriously creepy and awesome that the two MCs are Toby and Ezra, I guess when I read this I’ll be fangirling like I’m mental, hehe. Any chance you can send this one over for me as a lend? πŸ˜‰ I swear I won’t nearly kill it like with the other book you sent me… *please don’t kill me* Lovely review, Mel!

  5. I prefer the old name as well. The Beginning of Everything title could fit any book. I love that it met your expectations!! I really need to read this one. It’s on my shelf, and now I think I should get it out sooner rather than later. Great review!
    Becca @ Nawanda Files recently posted…Which Fall ’13 New Shows Do You Want Us to Review?My Profile

  6. I MUST read this soon! I also really like the UK/AUS title and the cover is gorgeous too *strokes*
    I must find a copy of this now!

    Great review, Melanie! <3
    Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary recently posted…Emma Pass on the Settings in ACIDMy Profile

  7. Rachel says:

    Wonderful review, Melanie! Changes in social status always intrigue me. I just wish you liked the romance better. That’s a big thing for me.
    Rachel recently posted…Box of Books Giveaway #3My Profile

  8. Henrietta says:

    Greetings, PLL fan! I was a little worried too when I saw the names Ezra and Toby. Glad that the characters here go through a fair bit of growth in the story. I’ve placed a hold on a library copy, hopefully I’ll be reading this soon. πŸ™‚
    Henrietta recently posted…The Moon And More – Sarah DessenMy Profile

  9. Giselle says:

    I LOVED the characters in this one they were so real! And even for a teenage boy written by a woman it was just so realistic in both his thoughts and personality. I haven’t read enough to PLL to have noticed a similarity at first but I’m glad that didn’t end up being a problem for you. I loved Cassidy and yeah she was very mysterious but I knew something was going to be up with her. I did sort of guess what it was especially after the certain conversation where she realizes everything and just up and goes I put 2 and 2 together, but the romance was very realistic too and so was the ending which I appreciated! Great review, doll!
    Giselle recently posted…Fresh Batch (New Releases September 22nd – 28th)My Profile

  10. Beautiful review Mel! I have this one coming as well, can’t wait to read it. Can’t believe the main characters are called Ezra and Toby, totally PLL lol! Sounds like a beautiful, heart-aching story.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…David Estes Amazon Review Giveaway + Free eBookMy Profile

  11. Stephanie B says:

    Wow. This novel sounds like it has a lot of depth to it. Amazing review. I really want to try this one.
    Stephanie B recently posted…Friday Couple: Celaena & ChaolMy Profile

  12. I have to agree – the strong characters were awesome! They totally made the story what it was. I loved this one!! πŸ™‚
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Review: A Little Too Far by Lisa DesrochersMy Profile

  13. VeganYANerds says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed this, Mel!
    VeganYANerds recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (73)My Profile

  14. I approve of this review! And I also agree with you: the old title is WAY better. The new one just makes the book sound like some stereotypical romance/contemporary read, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Robyn Schneider does a remarkable job at creating such a credible male voice that will and have moved readers significantly.” — Ezra’s voice has to be one of the best male voices I’ve read, which I admit isn’t a big thing exactly, since I hardly come across books with male POVs. Still, Robyn did a fantastic job, for sure. And I liked that though he was flawed, he wasn’t flawed JUST to be flawed, if I’m making sense. Sometimes authors feel the need to create flawed characters because that’s what readers want, which may be true, but that doesn’t make the character any more real.

    Oh, lord. That Disneyland tragedy was the worst — and the best. I can’t imagine that ever happening to anyone! Toby has a right to be scarred for life, and I think the tragedy was what made him such an interesting person, too. I would have appreciated a bit more insight into his character though, since I felt like I couldn’t really understand him most of the time. Then again, maybe that was the author’s plan all along.

    I love love love your summary for the review. SEVERED HEADS, BROKEN HEARTS taught me an unexpected lesson, and it was exactly what you said. It’s a very encouraging book, in a way, though that ending just about broke my heart to a million pieces. Still, it was what made the book more real. Great review, Melanie!
    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted…Sci-Fi Saturday: What I Hope the Future HoldsMy Profile

  15. Sarah J says:

    Great review, Melanie! I never realized that they had two main characters with same name from PLL. I look forward to reading this now! Have seen her YouTube videos? She’s really funny!
    Sarah J recently posted…Adrian’s Lost Chapter by Richelle MeadMy Profile

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