The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Summary: Ezra was the most popular kid in school until one fateful night: a black sedan smashed into his car, permanently injuring Ezra and destroying his tennis career. As senior year starts, Ezra realizes that he doesn’t know who he is anymore; tennis was his identity. So he joins a group of misfits who end up being the best group of friends he’s ever had.
My thoughts: Having watched Robyn Schneider’s YouTube channel for quite some time, I can say that this book is totally her. Or perhaps her channel is a reflection of what she’s been researching and thinking about while writing The Beginning of Everything. She’s made a video about insults that only exist in foreign languages, for instance, and Cassidy uses them frequently. It’s interesting to see these two different mediums blend together. It’s like Robyn’s channel is a little bonus The Beginning of Everything that you can watch in tandem with reading the book.
Anyway, let’s talk about the book! The Beginning of Everything is all I expected from Robyn and more. I can see why reviewers have compared her to John Green: both writers are fond of fast-talking, sharp-witted teen characters, but more importantly both writers give readers smart stories that evoke questions. But Schneider does have a distinct style. Her voice is direct and observant, noting and punning upon little things that another writer might ignore.
There’s this bit at the end when Cassidy throws Ezra a total curveball, and it completely changes the way you read the entire novel. You ask yourself if you hadn’t fallen into the same trap Ezra did, and why.
As for Ezra and Cassidy, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with them. I fell for them individually, rather than as a unit. Both are intelligent, but Ezra uses his smarts for humor, while Cassidy uses hers to relate reality to literature. I loved the insightfulness of them both, and how their differences seemed to sort of work together rather than against each other.
If you’re a fan of realistic fiction, you’ll absolutely adore Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. If the stellar opening pages don’t draw you in instantly, I don’t think we can be friends.