Ezra Faulkner, a high school junior, was undoubtedly one of the most popular kids in his grade. He had lots of popular friends, a hot girlfriend, and was the star player on his tennis team. Ezra was relying on his tennis skills to get a college scholarship, so he slacked off in class and didn't challenge himself academically.
Then his life changed. He was in a car accident that put him in the hospital with a ton of severe injuries. His tennis career was over. When Ezra returns to school, he is no longer sure of how he fits in but is adamant about returning to his old life as if nothing has happened. Yet he is an outsider who shies away from past tennis friends. Ezra is forced to "start over." He becomes friends with a new girl, Cassidy, and rekindles a friendship with his childhood friend, Toby.
The three eventually form a close bond and become part of the same debate team. Cassidy, who was the star of the debate team at her old school, doesn't want to compete but agrees to coach Ezra. As they spend more time together, Cassidy brings out a new side of Ezra and they eventually start dating. They plan to go to homecoming together, and everything seems fine until Cassidy ghosts him. Ezra, confused about why she didn’t show up, searches and eventually finds her at the park crying. He tries to console her but she unexpectedly dumps him and says she has a boyfriend from another town. After their breakup, Ezra goes back to his old tennis friend group. He tries to forget about Cassidy, but he can't. By pure coincidence, he runs into her at therapy and they begin to hang out again. Soon enough, the real reason she broke up with him is revealed and now they must each decide how to move forward.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
I loved reading this book. Ezra's development as a character and seeing just how much Cassidy impacted his life was so interesting. The plot twist took me by surprise and made the book even better. I also appreciate how the book incorporated topics of mental wellness through Ezra and even Cassidy after they experienced their own personal tragedies.
There isn't any part of the book that I disliked. Although it is not insanely long, The Beginning of Everything is still a bit lengthy. The story moves pretty quickly, especially because it is easy to get engrossed in the characters. I recommend The Beginning of Everything to anyone who likes heart-wrenching stories; every age should be able to enjoy this read. This book would also be a great gift to a wide variety of readers!
Readers who like happy-sad movies and heart-grabbing stories will cling to this book and wish they didn't have to let Ezra or Cassidy go.
Mild profanity and violence. Although the reading level is "middle school," the content is intended for the young adult audience (high school and older).
This YA novel is about friendship, resilience, recovery, and self-discovery.
Perseverance, guilt, trauma, resilience, and friendship are among the few themes that are easy to explore and discuss. Ask your reader what future Ezra and Cassidy "look like" to them - what careers? what successes? what failures?
15 and Up
15 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer’s Age: 16
Borrow for a summer read.