The Beginning of Everything

by Robyn Schneider

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

Pages: 335

Characterization


Major Characters

Ezra Faulkner

Main character of our story. Golden-boy turned outcast when his knee was shattered in a car accident. Very thoughtful and intelligent, trying to learn to live. His tragedy shattered his knee and his life, so he has to begin again. He faces love and loss and trying to find who he really is.
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Cassidy Thorpe

Mysterious new girl. Full of life and adventure and knowledge. Runs away from situations when things get too real for her. She's so bright and lovely and fun. So easy to fall in love with. She has thousands of stories of sitting on roofs and sneaking into college classes and organizing giant zombie flash-mobs. Well-known in for her perfect record in debate.
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Toby Ellicott

Nerdy sidekick and best friend of Ezra Faulkner. Caught a decapitated head on the Thunder Mountain ride at Disney. Captain of the debate team. Ms. Weng's "Weng-man." Wonderful, loyal, and a great friend. He sticks with Ezra through-and-through and is always there to support him.
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Characterization


Minor Characters

Evan

Ezra's ex best friend, who has taken his place since the accident. He's filled in as captain of the tennis team, most popular guy in school, and Charlotte's boyfriend. He's a total meat-head and honestly the perfect stereotypical jock.
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Charlotte

Ezra's awful ex girlfriend. Gorgeous, vile, popular, and flagrantly accessible. She cheated on Ezra, which is why he left that party that night. He wouldn't have left and gotten in that accident if she hadn't cheated that night. She's your classic prep; totally rude and gorgeous and of course the most popular girl in school.
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Luke Sheppard

President of the film club. Kind of a hipster-type. "King of the Nerds." Snarky and a little bit rude. Responsible for the secret floating movie theater.
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Phoebe Chang

Editor of the school newspaper. Good friend. Hilarious and loyal. NOT a well-known cupcake thief. She was there from start to finish, and may have had a tiny crush on Ezra.
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Setting

This book takes place in the present, in the "perfect" town of Eastwood, California.
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Conflicts

Person vs. Self

In this story, Ezra is sort of struggling with himself. He had this identity for so long, and because of the accident, he's becoming someone completely different, and he's trying to figure out who exactly that is. He has to find out who he is and what he wants. Ezra has to face himself and kind of let out his real self.


Person vs. Fate

This is a major point in the story. This book plays around with fate quite a bit. Everyone has their tragedy, and this story is Ezra dealing with his. Everything sort of plays out by fate and chance. He has to deal with his own fate and what has happened to him in this story.

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Summary

Golden-boy Ezra Faulkner had everything. Varsity athlete, popular, charming, good grades, dating the most popular girl in school; basically the paragon of high school popularity. Everything has always gone just right for him. Or at least it did until the night that everything changed. The night of his tragedy. As he stormed out of this party after seeing his girlfriend cheat on him, Ezra gets into his new, perfect car and disaster strikes. A wild driver comes along, hitting his car. His knee is shattered in the accident, along with everything that made him king of high school.


He becomes cast out from his "friends" and is a bit alone, until his middle-school best friend, Toby Ellicott, comes along. He reconnects with Toby and gets introduced to a whole new world. A world where he's on the debate team, a world full of flash mobs and secret films. And most importantly, a world with Cassidy Thorpe, the new girl full of life and mystery and new adventure. A girl who shows him how to truly live.


Through their adventures and time together, he finds out more and more about her and he eventually falls in love. They go through lots of ups and downs, highs and lows, falling hard and fast. It's amazing, but fleeting, as too many great things are. Cassidy suddenly seems to change. Slowly and then all at once, she's a seemingly new person. She avoids him and no matter how hard he tries he can't get to her until one day at the vet, after his old dog had been attacked, why she had been avoiding him: her brother was the one who had hit him in the accident that night at the party and then he died a few days later. Every time she looked at him from the moment she found this out, all she could see was her brother, dead in him. They drifted away after the death of his dog, Cooper. This is a bit of a turning pint for Ezra. He realizes how fatally flawed this place is. He realized that after everything, that he didn't need her. He began to feel like everything was his own again. He comes to realize that the Cassidy he had loved was some figment of his imagination: that he had her held up on a pedestal the whole time.He realized that he needed to stop existing and start living.

Theme

Everyone gets a tragedy. A life-changing, awful moment that affects you forever. In this book, Ezra has to learn to deal with his tragedy, and at one point he thinks that life itself is the biggest tragedy of all. For Cassidy, it's love. But in this novel, not only does he learn to cope with his tragedy, but he learns that he can't let it define him. We all go through something, but we get to choose how it affects us. We have to learn to live and let go. We have to keep going despite our tragedies. We must stop existing and start living.

Evaluation

This book is absolutely fantastic. It's actually my second favorite book in the whole world. I only recommend it to people who mean a great deal to me, because it's one of those books that really makes an impact. It kind of became a part of me once I read it, like it just made a home in me, like few books can really seem to do. I'm selfish and I want to keep this part of me tucked away safe, so I don't think I'd really recommend it to anyone unless I felt like sharing everything with them. A favorite book is like a piece of your soul, so it's really hard to give that up. It is really a remarkable book and a really important one to me. It's realistic, while still allowing you to escape your own reality. It's thought-provoking. It's hilarious. It makes you want to find yourself and go out and have fun and stop existing and start living. It has the power to change the way you see things and people and the world. Any book that can do that, is truly amazing in my mind. I think that anyone can connect to this story in some way because it's so honest and real. The characters are believable, the words are honest, and the problems are real.
All Time Low - To Live and Let Go

Live and Let Go by All Time Low

This song captures the theme that no matter what happens, we need to learn to just live and let go of everything that's happened to us.