I am very excited to tell you about The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. This was the second book on the summer reading list that I received from a student and I loved it!
The Beginning of Everything tells the story of Ezra Faulkner, a high school senior who is required to re-learn the ropes of his high school after a life changing car accident. He goes from being at the top of the popularity chain to the very bottom. It is there that he finds himself and learns the difference between living and existing.
This book was amazing! This book was amazing! This book was amazing! Do you get the idea that I really enjoyed it?
First, let's just mention the variety of literary references this book makes. What a wonderful way to interest YA readers in classics such as The Great Gatsby and to encourage reading Harry Potter and other well-known YA books. I am so excited to see a book that encourages young readers and sends them on their way to books that they may enjoy.
Next, I want to praise Schneider for her fantastic use of a wide variety of literary devices. She created Ezra, a character who uses wonderful allusions, puns, and imagery to describe the world around him. Thanks to Schneider's use of language, there is never a dull moment in this book. Even during the seemingly dull moments, the way she personifies Cooper really continues the energy of the story. My favorite part,however, was her ability to bring out the important details that just seem superfluous. For example, how many freaking times is she going to mention the black SUV? Obviously she wants that to stick in our heads for some reason. And when we finally find out that reason, we feel the entire world drop out from beneath us. It feels so very much like the first huge drop of a roller coaster in Disneyland.
Third, Schneider expertly delivers an important theme to a young audience. She is encouraging her readers to take a look at why they live the way that they do. Are they living to make someone else happy or to be who they really are. I think this is an amazing thing for YA readers to think about as they enter their college career/the workforce. Are they doing something because it makes them happy or for the benefit of someone else? I'm 24 years old, and sometimes I still don't know which of these I'm actually doing. Although, being a teacher was definitely for me :)