Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

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Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: One of the stand-outs so far in an incredible year for YA contemporary novels, this lyrical and unpredictable book is an outstanding read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1471115462

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Ezra Faulkner thinks that everyone has a tragedy in their life, something which will forever define you. His happens when he loses his girlfriend, his tennis ambitions, and his social life in one night after a car accident shatters his knee. Drawn back towards his old friend Toby - whose own tragedy, years ago, was to catch a decapitated head on a theme park ride, forever dooming him to misfit status - he meets new girl Cassidy. With new friends around him and a potential new love, can Ezra rebuild his life?

This is one of the most literary teen books I've read for a long time - up there with John Green - and it's a delight to read, especially thanks to frequent references to The Great Gatsby, one of my favourite ever novels. I thought Ezra was an outstanding narrator with a brilliant voice, while Cassidy is an equally excellent love interest. I loved the way the relationship between the pair developed. I also enjoyed the supporting characters, especially the way that Ezra and Toby dealt with their past friendship and the gulf that had grown between them over the past few years, and thought that Schneider captured the school atmosphere very well.

It's one for more mature teens, both in terms of the language used and content - there's sex, but it's handled in a beautifully understated way, not at all explicit. Dealing with the ending of Ezra's athletic career and the effect this has on his social standing, it's a hard-hitting read and a thought-provoking one.

My overwhelming fear of spoiling the really good books means that this is another one which I'm not sure I'm doing the greatest of jobs in reviewing. Like You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett, I went into this with little real idea of what to expect and was completely stunned by it - I'd like you to have the same experience. I hope I've made you think that you'll give it a try! One thing I can say, though, is that the ending absolutely blew me away, being unpredictable, powerful, and altogether fantastic. As for the closing paragraph - is it the best since Gatsby itself? Possibly not, but it can't be far off.

Note: To avoid confusion, I should point out that the US title of the book is The Beginning of Everything.

The only real link between this and Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer is that they both have main characters on debate teams, but I don't need much of a link to recommend such a wonderful book as DCMI. Fans of Schneider's writing style should definitely check out the aforementioned John Green. While Looking For Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars seem to be thought of by most as his best books, Paper Towns is my personal favourite.

Another fantastic recent book which is clearly inspired by The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald is The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, perhaps my favourite adult novel so far in 2013. You might also like to take a look at Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

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Buy Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider at


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