Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Release Date: September 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
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 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 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 met— 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.
“You 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!~
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