Genre: YA

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn SchneiderThe Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Published by Katherine Tegen on August 27th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

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.

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?

I was waiting in line and happened to have this book with me, and after only 10 minutes I was already hooked. The first few pages recount a horrifying situation that is bound to shock anyone, and already I could put myself in their shoes and feel it changing these boys for life. Then shortly after, we’re brought into the second shock of the book: the accident that changed Ezra’s life.

The Beginning of Everything is narrated by Ezra, a one-time golden boy who’s now feeling out of place with his cane and worthless self image. I loved this boy from the get go. His voice is brilliantly depicted as a teenager who used to have it all – or so he thought. You can not only feel his pain, but you also come to understand how hard it is for him to accept that he’s not who he was anymore. Throughout this book Ezra searches for himself, and finds what he needs to find in the most realistic, though not easiest, of way. The start may be shocking, but it’s a pretty mellow read for the most part. Robyn gives us a real teenage boy with genuine insecurities and flaws. Obviously I’ve never been a teenage boy myself, but I found him to be perfectly portrayed with a convincing – and refreshing – personality.

This is another of those plots that aren’t necessarily about anything in particular; at least nothing cut and dry. We have Ezra who was once the most popular boy in school with tennis championships and prom King crowns in his back pocket, and, of course, the prettiest girlfriend, but after the accident his life takes a 180. All in all, this book is about ever changing life; or in Ezra’s case, a life changed by tragic force. But, is it really the worst thing that could have happened? We see him question who he really is, if he really belongs anywhere at all. The book also has friendship as a major topic; he finds out who his true friends are. It’s bizarre how sometimes it takes a tragedy to change people for the better; to make them see what they took for granted.

Romance is another large aspect of this novel, which is where Cassidy comes in. I adored this girl just as much. I found she brought a lot of energy to the book. She’s intelligent and confident, but there’s also something underneath her bright surface that is weighing her down. In a way, this made her perfect for Ezra’s love interest. They bonded with this inseparable connection that you can sense through the pages, born from shared brokenness – even though they’re good at hiding it. The mystery behind Cassidy’s past becomes fairly predictable, however – at least I thought so – especially after her sudden change of heart. It was made obvious by the immediacy following a certain conversation if you pay attention. I knew then exactly what had happened, though not right away who exactly it involved. As for the ending, I think it’s one that readers will easily love or hate. I fall more on the love side for how incredibly realistic it is. Life doesn’t end neatly wrapped up with everything we expected and/or wanted, it just goes on. I appreciate realism over anything in these types of books.

Compelling characters, a strong narration, and great writing fill the pages of this book. The Beginning of Everything is sad, funny, hopeful, heartbreaking; it’s about dealing with what life throws at you. Lemonade, anyone?


4 Hot Espressos

Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

Posted by on 08/12/2013 • 22 Comments

With a fantastic premise and an overall interesting plot, I can see why The 100 has already been signed on by CW as a TV series. If only it was tightened up with better character development and a stronger dedication to world building instead of establishing the romantic angle, it could have been a real page turner. Nevertheless, it’s interesting enough to warrant a read. I believe its success will lay in the TV series, however.

100 teenagers are to be sent to earth after humans evacuated it 300 years prior due to a nuclear war. After only a brief introduction, we embark on this unnerving trip to a now foreign planet. While I enjoyed this quick drop into the big picture, I was left feeling like I’d missed the…

Giveaway: Night Witches by L.J. Adlington

Giveaway: Night Witches by L.J. Adlington

Posted by on 08/10/2013 • 12 Comments

I have a treat for all y’all today! Thanks for the lovely people at Hachette Children’s Books UK, I have a copy of this gorgeous pretty for giveaway! I don’t know about you but I kind of love this cover! They describe it as a dark and rich fantasy with teenage bomber pilots and witchcraft – Yes please!


Hachette Children’s Books UK has generously offered a paperback of Night Witches for giveaway.

Open internationally Giveaway ends August 23rd, 2013 Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter

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Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Posted by on 08/05/2013 • 28 Comments

Do you ever wonder where you would have ended up if you’d chosen differently that one time? “What if?” is a question we’ve all wondered once or twice. How different would our lives be today? This is why I enjoyed Just Like Fate so much; it explores consequences of two sides of a coin, while showing that no matter the road that leads, we end up where we’re meant to be. For Caroline, both roads are linked to her decision to go to a party, not knowing it will be during the last of her grandmother’s moments. A quick decision, really, and things end up so incredibly different for her. Told via alternating chapters, we see how neither of these roads are easy, each coming with their own set of…

Review: Memory by Christoph Marzi

Review: Memory by Christoph Marzi

Posted by on 08/02/2013 • 18 Comments

This blurb, this cover, it gives off such a wonderful creepy vibe that intrigued me immediately. Ghosts! London Cemeteries! A girl with no memories! All things that made this book an instant must-have. Although one part does have its share of thrill, the mythologies introduced felt out of place, the characters are flat and boring, and the story is nothing if not cheesy.

The book begins with Jude finding this girl in a cemetery who is not quite a ghost, but not a live person either. People can’t see her, yet she’s not cold nor does she have any other ghost qualities. She also has no memory of who she is. It was an attention grabbing beginning which I thought for sure a good sign. Then we start to learn…

Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Posted by on 07/30/2013 • 26 Comments

This was very different from anything I’ve read before. A very short book at only a little over 200 pages, If You Could Be Mine examines not only life in Iran, but life in Iran for a young girl in love with her best friend, Nasrin.

From a very young age, Sahar knew she wanted to many Nasrin and spend her whole life with her, they’ve been in a secret relationship for years now, and being found out could mean imprisonment – at the very least – for these two. This was my first book set in Iran and I found the culture and laws quite intimidating. Even though I’m not blind to what life is like in that country, especially for women, it was still shocking to find…

Review: False Sight by Dan Krokos

Review: False Sight by Dan Krokos

Posted by on 07/29/2013 • 16 Comments

*Spoiler free for the series*

I’m feeling torn on this one. On one hand it was a highly entertaining read, very unique (as expected), and I definitely want to know what happens next, but it was such a different book from the first and I’m not sure how I feel about the direction it went in. Being different is not a bad thing – who wants a repeat of it predecessor? – but I feel like the increased sci-fi-esque of this whole plot became a little… too much for me, maybe?

I was a big fan of False Memory when I read it last year. I remember loving all the excitement and the unknowns – it has an awesome unreliable narrator -, as well as the great overall group…

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Posted by on 07/26/2013 • 26 Comments

Wow what a sad story this was! Told in the voice of a morose, yet incredibly intelligent teenage boy, we’re given a raw look into the road to suicide, and how depression affects your thoughts.

What I noticed immediately was the writing style which stood out to me as something very… honest. Not only is it told in first person – which I consider a requirement for a story such as this – but we get a format that emphasizes his unhealthy state of mind even more so. This includes foot notes on his interpretations of certain situations and people; pages that only include 1 single word for a whole sentence; “Letters from the future” which had me baffled at first but ended up leaving me teary eyed. Knowing…