Monday, 4 June 2012
Review: Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Publisher: Simon Pluse
Publication Date: March 6th, 2012
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
When Gabby Gardiner wakes up in the hospital she can hardly remember who she is or how she got there. As time goes by she remembers who she is: former nobody at her school in Bel Air until she was made over before junior year and became girlfriend of Billy Nash, school heart throb. But she still doesn’t know exactly what happened the night of her accident. Unfortunately, the facts speak pretty loudly: she was found thrown from her boyfriend’s car with the keys in her hand and had a very high blood alcohol level. Recovering from the accident is made worst with her legal troubles, and the fact that Billy now has to avoid her to keep himself out of more trouble, since he’s already on probation for his own DUI. But something about the accident doesn’t make sense: Billy is certainly not the type to give anyone his car, especially his drunk girlfriend, and how could Gabby have stolen it from him? As she tries to grapple with the hardest time of her life, she looks back on her transformation and how she went from a nobody to the hospitalized girlfriend of the coolest guy in school.
Twice I had misconceived notions of what this book was going to be like. After first looking at the cover, I thought Where It Began was going to be like The Summer I Turned Pretty, partly because of the quote from Jenny Han on the cover. After reading the synopsis, I assumed it was going to be more like Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Both of these assumptions were far off. This book follows a girl whose life changed when her mother decided to have her made over in efforts to make her less sub-regular. After this make over, Gabby quickly found a new boyfriend and even became a member of student council. Gabby adores her boyfriend and looks at everything but him with a cynical eye. The tone and writing style reminded me of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I felt detached from the characters, including Gabby, who is just so naïve and clueless. I also can never relate to characters that are obsessed with their boyfriends and seem to live only for them. The writing itself was good, but while the plot was interesting it was also predictable. However, I liked this book the most when the truth came out, even if I had a pretty good (if not vague) idea of what happened when Gabby got in her car accident. What was the most interesting about this was what it implied about Gabby and how people saw her. As much as I liked the resolution, I didn’t really enjoy getting there, since the book didn’t flow very well. However, it did make me think. This book looks at the life of a newly popular girl in an elite school and what rising to the top took from her.