Saturday, September 7, 2013
The Beginning of Everything
Katherine Tegen Books, 2013
Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.
I feel like I've been waiting for this book for forever as it experienced title and cover changes but it is here now! The first chapter does show very appropriately why it was originally titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts with a rather graphic description of a decapitation with a young boy catching the head that serves as historical background for the story to come.
Ezra Faulkner was the golden boy-captain of the tennis team, involved in student government, dating the most popular girl in school. Until one night when he is hit by a car, permanently injured and walking with a cane, and abandoned by his so-called friends. The new school year sees him reuniting with Toby, the boy who caught the head so many years ago. More importantly he meets Cassidy Thorpe, refugee from a fancy boarding school, whose every thought and action fascinates Ezra. Spurred by their relationship, Ezra starts to discover himself as a completely different kind of person until tragedy splits the pair up...possibly for good.
This book is like a lot of contemporaries set in high school that don't have a defined plot. I mean, Ezra definitely takes a journey but it's not as defined as a typical fantasy or dystopia might be. What will really make or break this book for you is the writing, I suspect, at least based on reviews I've read. I love Ezra, Cassidy, Toby, and their crowd's way of speaking, filled with intellectual jokes and references to classical literature. From the reviews I've seen, some people were turned off or found it unrealistic. I don't think most people speak like that but I like imagining that we can all be as witty as characters written by skilled authors. I was also thrilled to see Cassidy introduce Ezra to the panopticon, something I studied in college and is basically the only thing I remember from one class.
As far as the plot goes, it moves pretty quickly with the brief flashbacks at the beginning and then picking up through the first day of school moving toward Thanksgiving. There is some mystery around Cassidy, all of which is revealed-it's pretty predictable to be honest but I thought the quirky writing style really shone through this book. That's what I loved, observing in my goodreads status update, and that is what I'll remember as I move forward.
Overall: I would say read an excerpt if you can-if the writing clicks with you, then give the full book a try!
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