Estelle: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn SchneiderThe Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Katharine Tegan (HarperTeen)
Pages: 330
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: high school, debate team, secrets
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss. (Thanks!)

Summary: A car accident catapults Ezra into a very different senior year than he imagined: debate team instead of tennis, rekindling old friendships and making new ones instead of manning his spot at the popular crowd’s table, and a connection to a girl who challenges him and makes him want more.

Did you ever find yourself in a group of people who were talking about something totally over your head and all you could do is just stand there, nodding and smiling?

That’s kind of how I felt when I was reading The Beginning of Everything. I didn’t connect with golden-boy-turned outcast, Ezra, as much as I wanted to. (This might have had something to do with him narrating the story after it happened. The events and after thoughts felt too polished.) And when the quirky Cassie was thrown into the mix, the tone of the story got a little haughty. The literary references, the tid-bits of trivia, and reciting poetry to make a point? I found myself just not relating to the way they communicated with one another, and I wish all of these tidbits felt more down-to-earth.

Schneider does excel when it comes to the chemistry between Ezra and Cassie (a mysterious attraction that reminded me of John Green’s Looking for Alaska) and the rekindled friendship between Ezra and Toby. After years of blending into the popular crowd, I loved that Ezra was able to reconnect with his geeky self and accept that that part of him would always exist. Toby was a loyal friend; the years of silence between them were just water under the bridge. He never held any grudges even though Ezra could have been a better friend.

Also: the Disneyland scenes (minus the earliest one) sprinkled in every once in awhile were awesome.

There are two twists at the end: one of them totally broke my heart and the other one, well, I think it tied things together a bit too perfectly. I never once suspected the second twist, but I think the book could have easily worked without it. (Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing.) The Beginning of Everything may not have been a perfect read for me, but I am looking forward to see Schneider come into her own as a writer in her next books.

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10 thoughts on “Estelle: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

  1. Bookworm1858 says:

    DISNEYLAND?! Though I was already planning to read this book, that really just seals the deal. I may have issues with some of the same things as you but I adore Disney so i have to see how it is described here.

  2. lily says:

    I don’t know if this is my type of book after reading your review. If i read a book from a males POV i always need to find some way to connect with him. not to mention i need the guy to be protrayed honestly. and i don’t think thats in this book.

    Lily @ lilysbookblog

  3. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader says:

    Despite your inability to really connect with Ezra in a meaningful way, I’m still curious enough about this novel to read it when it’s released. Novels told from a male point-of-view are few and far between and while I’ve heard that the characterization is a little flat, I’ve heard wonderful things about the chemistry between Ezra and Cassie. Like you, I was also excited about the inclusion of Disneyland and would be interested to see Ezra reinvent himself in the wake of his accident. It really sounds like the sort of story I usually enjoy 🙂 I’m just sorry that you didn’t enjoy it more!

  4. molly @ wrapped up in books says:

    “This might have had something to do with him narrating the story after it happened. The events and after thoughts felt too polished.”

    THIS. Sometimes that way of framing a story works, sometimes it doesn’t. It felt too slick in places.

    I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did as well. And I got all the geeky references (probably because I actually was a high school debater) but they did feel excessive in parts.

    But I did like Schneider’s writing and would check out future books by her.

  5. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books says:

    YES. Your review so clearly explains why I have no real desire to read this book. I don’t generally like to read about uber-sophisticated and intelligent teens who just…don’t seem like teenagers. The premise of this book just doesn’t sound like something I’d be super interested in, which could then affect how well I connect with the characters and all. I’m sorry this one didn’t work out super well for you, and I do hope that your faith in Schneider’s future installments will be well-justified!

  6. Alexa Y. says:

    I’m still not sure if I want to read this book or not. It does sound very intriguing, and I do like that it seems *cringes because this is a word that’s overused*… quirky. And Disneyland! But we shall see if I get to it.

  7. Rachel says:

    Aww, that’s so unfortunate that you didn’t connect to this one! I haven’t read it yet (but I want to!), but I can totally see why this one wouldn’t be for you. I kind of like that they recite poetry and all that stuff because that’s kind of how my friends and I were back in high school. I hate perfect endings though, so we’ll see.

  8. Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages says:

    I’ve been excited for this one for a while, but for some reason the closer we get to its release the less excited I become, I have no clue why. I’m sorry it wasn’t what you wanted it to be, but I do think it’s a good sign you’re still excited to read more books frmo the author.

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