Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Publication.Date March 6th 2012 Pages: 384 Published By: Simon Pulse | Website Ann Redisch Stampler | Where It Began - Goodreads My review copy: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Chapters
A teen’s world comes crashing down in this compulsively readable YA debut that’s as literary as it is commercial.Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving—and without a single memory of the accident that landed her there. But what she can recall, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the crash.As Gabby describes her transformation from Invisible Girl to Trendy Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why has Gabby been left to take the fall?
As she peels back the layers of her life, Gabby begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex...and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be.
Everyone knows that no matter how much you need to talk to Gorgeous Hot Boy, if you phone him fourteen times between ten and ten thirty p.m., by the time he gets to the third message, he'll hate you, and by message number fourteen, his mother will have a restraining order taken out against you and you'll be in court-ordered Stalker Recovery Twelve Step before you even have time to make call number fifteen.
I am young and entirely cheerless, a bruised repository of random SAT words and fragmented memories that keep flashing behind my closed eyes like stray clips of some lame documentary on Teen life in the Three B's.
Whoever I am, I'm pretty sure that I'm not her.
Apparently it takes more than a eucalyptus tree to bang this particular fact out of your head.
Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler is one gorgeous and unforgettable book! Laced with humor, exceptional wit and powerful insight, this book gets you hooked right off from the start. It's intense, funny, heartbreaking, taut, mysterious and - most of all - so deliciously addictive! Ann Redisch Stampler did a fabulous job depicting high school relationships, with all their flaws and foibles. The MC's extremely amusing sarcastic tone makes for a great narrative voice that is sure to keep you turning the pages until you hit the back cover. It's a wonderful treat for everyone who appreciates a good contemporary novel.
This is how it starts: some helpless girl in a skanky tank top lying on her back in the wet grass somewhere in Hidden Hills. She is gazing at the stars through the leaves of a eucalyptus tree. The trunk of the eucalyptus tree is wrapped in Billy Nash's blue BMW. Midnight blue. The girl is trying to figure out what's going on, beyond the more obvious facts: a mouth lined with a sick combination of beer and stale vodka, a crunched-up car with black smoke pouring out of it, a night sky filled with glassy constellations and a big white moon.
Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed, wired to machines and clueless as to how she ended up there. Her face is smashed in, bruised and unrecognizable. She has a post-traumatic amnesia and her memory of the last night's car crash is gone. Wiped clean. Non-existent. All she knows is what others tell her: she's been at a party with her super-hot-and-rich boyfriend, Billy, and a bunch of his super-cool-and-rich friends. She drank too much. She got into Billy's car and drove it into a tree. And now she can't remember a single thing. Her face, and possibly whole life, is ruined - she's facing DUI charges, being expelled from school and maybe even some serious jail time. Worst of all? Her boyfriend is missing and no one wants to tell her where he is and why hasn't he come to visit her bruised up and miserable self yet. And that's not the only thing people are keeping from her...
Which is when it happens: when the story of my life starts to show up in mosaic splinter flashes in my head.
I was totally in love with this book from page one! The writing was beyond amazing. Witty, hilarious, smart and sexy! For me, Ann Redisch Stampler could write a 1000 pg long description of how to make blueberry waffles and I would probably enjoy every single word of it - that's how fantastic her writing style is. Gabby's narrative voice was - hands down - one of the most enjoyable narrative voices ever. I instantly connected with her, although we didn't really have anything in common (at all). Moreover, I genuinely cared about her and wanted everything to work out well for her. She was quite a complex character- strong yet sensitive, ready to work hard to achieve her goals yet sometimes very naive and impressionable. A typical teenage girl, with all her insecurities, hopes and dreams, longing to be noticed, appreciated and loved. It was really heartbreaking to watch her struggle to hold on to the happy little life she worked so hard to live, knowing all along what she didn't yet realized - that this life was never meant for her.
Gabby Gardiner, shake hands with your totally impossible, not-going-to-happen future.There were quite a few twists and turns that I never saw coming. The plot line might seem a bit predictable at the beginning, but if you think you have it all figured out after the first 20 pages, well, then you're in for a surprise. All in all, it was a fascinating and compelling read that I thoroughly enjoyed. It got me emotionally engaged, it made me laugh, kept me guessing and frantically turning the pages, and in the end left me very satisfied and pleased with the way the whole thing unfolded. I couldn't ask for more. Make sure to add it to your TBR Pile and 2012 contemporary challenge!
About the AuthorEvie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and chatting with fellow book-worms.