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?
Art + design – M80 Design/Wes Youssi Rating – 4/5
I love the minimalism and flow of this cover. The roller-coaster and the variations in the hand-lettering make it feel a bit chaotic, even with the simplicity of the illustration and the color scheme. I love the lettering and how it follows the lines of the coaster. The composition is really nice, with the upper 3rd of the cover set apart by the line of the coaster. The simple 3 colors are really nice and go well together. I even like the little tagline, and I usually hate taglines on covers. The most commonly used cover for this book is now the yellow/orange version with green writing, but I think this is the best variation.
The Beginning of Everything is a story that’s a bit hard to define, but I’d say it’s like a dramedy. It’s definitely full of dramatic happenings and complicated feelings, but it’s funny in the way everyday life can be. Ezra is struggling to decide where he fits in after his accident and realizing that maybe his old friends aren’t the people he wants to spend his time with. He and his new friends are all trying to figure out what they want to be while facing pressure to be a certain way. Ezra also navigates a relationship with the confusing new girl/debate star Cassidy. Overall I found this book to be an alright way to pass time, but it’s forgettable.
- Toby – Ezra’s friend Toby is one of the best parts of this book. Instead of becoming an egotistical jerk like Ezra, Toby became debate team captain. He seems like the stereotypical nerd character, but he’s a nice guy and he’s a good friend to Ezra despite Ezra ditching him. He’s secure in who he is, even though I wanted him to tell Ezra to mind his own business when Ezra asked if Toby was gay.
- entertaining – This book is pretty good entertainment. The dialogue is often funny, in a way that no one actually talks of course. The underlying story of discovering yourself is universal, and I like that Ezra is the one who acts and thinks differently about himself, rather than his friends shunning him and pushing him away.
- Cassidy – Cassidy runs hot and cold with Ezra, and the way she deals with her problems is by pushing people away. One day Cassidy is cruel to Ezra, then she’s acting like it never happened. It’s clear that there’s a tragedy in Cassidy’s recent past, even though she refuses to talk about it with anyone. I still don’t understand Cassidy’s aversion to debate team competitions, or why she felt that switching matches would help anything. For much of this book I felt impatient to find out what had happened to Cassidy so I could understand why she acted the way she did.Cassidy tries to say she’s not a manic pixie dream girl, but she doesn’t have enough of a personality to be a real character. Why was Ezra even attracted to Cassidy? Is it just because he perceives himself as broken and thinks that her mood swings are a sign that she needs fixing too?
- Ezra – I found everything about Ezra, down to the name Ezra Faulkner, to be utterly pretentious. He pretends his dog is Jay Gatsby and his self-discovery merely amounts to him deciding he was too smart for his old jock friends. Ezra is extremely concerned with what everybody thinks about him; and he’s certain that everybody thinks about him. He’s a former tennis star, homecoming king, parties and popularity kind of guy. He finds it completely surprising that not every student at his high school loves him, that there are lives and activities that go on without him and without him knowing about them. Ezra’s got a huge chip on his shoulder now that he’s damaged goods in his own eyes and he’s drawn to Cassidy because she’s a puzzle. Everything’s always been easy for Ezra, but she’s challenging.
- Ezra + Cassidy – These two have no chemistry together. It didn’t really seem like Cassidy was interested in being in a relationship, maybe because she was dealing with other things, and then she was in one. Neither Ezra nor Cassidy really adjusted their behavior when they decided they were dating. Ezra still acted like he was a movie star trying not the be noticed, and Cassidy didn’t open up about any of the things that were obviously bothering her. To me, it just didn’t feel like these two chose each other. Ezra wanted Cassidy because she was a puzzle – the polar opposite of his ex, and Cassidy was portrayed as an ice queen, with Ezra being the only straight single guy she ever spoke to. When all is said and done, I just don’t care about these characters. They’re both overly fond of themselves, quoting classic literature in their personal conversations and studying random facts to boost their debate skills. They have this air of being too good, too smart, too uniquely strange for any despicable normal people to understand, and when they’re together it’s like their egos feed off each other.
- plot – I’m not sure what the plot of this book is exactly. Ezra mopes around because his leg is busted and to him this signifies that he’s not popular anymore. Much of his funk is of his own invention. Yes, his friends are shallow and no one visits him in the hospital…but Ezra could have chosen to confront them about it, plus he’s the one who became friends with them in the first place. Then Ezra joins the debate team and gets new friends, including his old friend Toby who Ezra essentially ditched when he got cool, and wonders about Toby’s sexuality. And then he tries to figure out what Cassidy’s problem is and still manages to be prom king even though he’s spent the entire book bemoaning his fall from grace. So he’s still popular and the only thing that changed about him was his leg.
“Rosewood’s the section across the park, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Yeah. My bedroom looks out over it.”
“So does mine.” Cassidy grinned. “Maybe we can see into each other’s bedrooms.”
“I’ll remember to close the blinds next week when I commit a double homicide,” I promised, flashing my brights on the blind curve out of the foothills. – Cassidy + Ezra pg. 65
We practiced until four thirty, when Austin had SAT prep and I had to get out of there for PT, only I said it was the dentist. I know physical therapy’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but it still sounded bad: “therapy,” as thought I needed professional help to function. – Ezra pg. 138
Acquired: bought (ebook)