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.
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?
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.
So, another title for this book is “Severed Heads, Broken Hearts.” I think that will help convince potential readers this book is (or isn’t!) for them. The Beginning of Everything has some of my favorite book elements: wit, black comedy, realistic banter, relatable characters, Gatsby references, excellent pacing, and a terrific ending . This is one of my new favorite contemporary YA picks, and it’s different from my usual fare in that it toys with the underdog protagonist trope. Ezra is a veritable BMOC until his injury, and then finds himself straddling different worlds and expectations. I don’t want to spoil the ending of the novel, but it was both a bittersweet and pleasant surprise.