Rating: 4/ 5
Ezra Faulkner used to be the most popular student at his high school. Making the varsity tennis team his freshman year, he’s ridden on his court skills and good looks. Although he’s smart, he’s pretty much banking on a tennis scholarship for a state college. Everything comes crashing to halt when one night at a party, his car is hit by a drunk driver. His once promising tennis career ends abruptly with a shattered knee and a permanent limp. None of his so-called friends visited him in the hospital, which makes him question who his true friends really are. Cassidy Thorpe, a new girl, befriends Ezra, and makes him embrace his new life.
The Beginning of Everything is a pretty fantastic YA novel about the struggles of fitting in, and the challenge of dealing with an unexpected event which turns life upside down. Ezra firmly believes that there is one singular tragedy that occurs, and from that point forward, everything important will happen. For his childhood best friend Toby, it is a tragedy at Disney World when they were kids. For Ezra, it is the car accident that has left him without any prospects for an athletic scholarship and a drop on the social totem pole that is high school.
Cassidy Thorpe, though, helps Ezra realize how much better life could be if he put forth hard work and pursued his own interests, rather than doing what was expected of him. There is an aura of mystery surrounding Cassidy; she’s known for being a debate champion, but has unexpectedly stopped participating in debate tournaments. Unlike the majority of students at Eastwood who have not left the state, Cassidy has attended schools and lived in other countries. She is extremely intelligent and worldly, and Ezra thinks that his life is made when they start dating, until Cassidy abruptly ends the relationship.
The Beginning of Everything is a bit quirky but wholeheartedly charming. I loved Ezra, and even though sometimes I found him frustrating, he is, after all, a high school boy. Ezra also had a great group of friends to round out his story; the so-called “nerds” are refreshing, funny, and Ezra is lucky to have them as support. This is a great book about figuring out who you really are, about rising up from personal tragedy, and about the power of good friends over superficial popularity contests.
In the End: I think readers who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars will like this one. It’s funny, sad, hopeful, and witty.