Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
**Please note that this book was titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts when I originally read it. The title has changed since then.**
Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them, that the people buying milk in their pajamas or picking their noses at stoplights could be only moments away from disaster. That everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary-a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.
Ezra Faulkner thought he had everything. He was the Golden Boy of Eastwood High. Star tennis player hanging with the popular crowd and dating the popular girl. Everyone knows him.
Then the accident happened and his life wasn’t the same.
This story is told from Ezra’s point of view and I absolutely fell in love with him. From the very first chapter, Schneider gives us this unique and wonderful character with an incredibly interesting outlook and voice. The dialogue was wonderfully written and so completely high school to me at times. I found myself laughing quite often.
How can you mistakenly think something is porn?” I asked, halfway interested at this turn in the conversation.
“It’s porn if you use a self-timer,” she explained, as though it was obvious.
“Right,” I said, wishing that she’d been smarter, and that her answer had impressed me.
Ezra has the suffering in silence thing down to a science when he returns to school for his senior year using a cane and trying to blend in with everyone else. He’s spent most of his life doing what was expected of him… preparing to go to college where his parents expect, never really looking at anything from the ‘this is what I want’ perspective. No longer able to be on the tennis team and avoiding his regular ‘friends’, he finds himself drifting to a table of misfits that includes someone from his past. Toby and Ezra were best friends but as years passed they drifted apart… (wait until you hear about his big tragedy!) Ezra to the popular table and Toby to the debate team. Seeing them reconnect was a wonderful treat.
But he also meets Cassidy, a new girl who seems to be a mystery and doesn’t quite fit in with everyone else either. The debate team knows her because she used to debate for a private school but they don’t know any details of her disappearance from the debate scene or why she’s now in their school. Ezra begins to fall for her despite the warnings from Toby.
She tasted like buried treasure and swing sets and coffee. She tasted the way fireworks felt, like something you could get close to but never really have just for yourself.
I’m not sure what specifically I loved the most about this book, as one of my updates says… this has been added to my all-time favorites after reading. Maybe it was the first person narrative, maybe it was the dialogue, maybe it was the characters themselves, which even though I finished this book early yesterday, I’m still thinking about.
The best part of this story though for me, is definitely Ezra. He brings this story to life with his sarcasm and unique sense of humor. Seeing the rise and fall of his relationships and the growth his character experiences was wonderful. There were times when I wanted to shake him and say ‘stand up for yourself’ and ‘do what you want to do’, and ‘don’t put up with that crap’ … but he needed to find the strength to do that within himself. When all Cassidy’s secrets are finally revealed I think you’ll be as surprised as I was in the end. But when you turn that last page you’ll realize what a captivating and incredibly lovely story you just read.
If you’re looking for something that has moments of sadness, moments of laughter, moments of romance and just a wonderfully told story, then I think you’re going to really enjoy The Beginning of Everything. Like I said, this book has gotten a spot in my permanent all-time favorites.
Make sure you run out and get this one as soon as it’s released in August!
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Ezra Faulkner is adjusting to life after an accident takes away his ability to play tennis. For such a long time it has defined who he is and now he doesn’t have it going into his senior year of high school. He spent the summer avoiding all of his friends and trying to come to terms with what he will do when he goes back to school.
Cassidy is the new girl and although it is clear she is hiding something, she refuses to talk about it. A number of the kids that Ezra ends up hanging out with know her from her old school because of debate and ultimately she and Ezra become close.
I loved the two of them together. The friendship and banter ultimately turns into more and eventually they are a couple. Another great thing about this book are the secondary characters. Toby was definitely one of my favorites and honestly, the way he is introduced to the story by Ezra has to be one of my favorite character introductions. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but it definitely had me wondering how the rest of the book would be.
Overall this book had me turning the pages to find out what would happen next. It isn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows…if you don’t care for angst this won’t be for you but I truly enjoyed this book. It was wonderful to see Ezra (with the help of Cassidy) come to realize what he wants to do and understand that one thing does not define him entirely.
5 full stars for this book.
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