10 April 2012

Review: Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Release Date: March 6th, 2012
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Sometimes the end is just the beginning.
Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. But when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.
And Billy's nowhere to be found.
All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way.
It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes.
Especially if it means everything changes.  (Summary taken from Goodreads)

The cover of Where It Began instantly lured me in. It's gorgeous and I'm a sucker for pretty covers. Furthermore the summary sounds really interesting. I am not a big fan of contemporary novels, therefore I don't read many in this genre, however the book description intrigued me and I couldn't wait to find out more about the story and its characters. Unfortunately Where It Began has one really deceiving cover.

After a car accident, Gabby finds herself in the hospital with no recollection of how she got there. The only thing she can think about is her boyfriend, Billy. But oddly enough he is the only one who doesn't call or even visits. She finds out that she was in a car accident because she was driving drunk and to make matters worse, it was her stolen boyfriend's car she wrecked. After spending a lot of time in the hospital, Gabby is allowed to go home. We get to experience Gabby trying to not go to jail and most important: to be Billy's girlfriend again.

Where It Began had potential to be much better. The plot was actually great if not for the completely awful characters. If I think about it: a girl in a car accident with no recollection of it trying to put her life back together, that actually sounds really good, right?! But the problem was that the main character was only focused on Billy. Her goal was to be Billy's girlfriend again and that's it. The novel only began to pick up in the end but then I wasn't interested anymore.

Gabby was one of the worst main characters to set an example to others. She is insecure, completely dependent of her boyfriend, naive in a bad-sort-of way and superficial. But maybe the superficial part comes from her mother and father who only care for Gabby's reputation so that she can date a rich guy, which will help help her family's business. Billy, the rich boyfriend, was a completely self-absorbed a-hole who played Gabby the whole time but still she hung on his every word. 

Where It Began simply didn't live up to my expectations. The plot is actually a good one but the characters were a completely let-down. The only thing that saved Where It Began from being worse was the ending, because Gabby finally does something right. With that said I can't recommend this novel to many people but if you do decide to read it, I hope you will enjoy it.

I was born in Connecticut, grew up mostly in Santa Barbara, and have lived my adult life in Los Angeles, where my novels (Where It Began is just the first; there are more on the way) are set. I believe with all my heart that people have every age they’ve ever been, and every feeling they’ve ever felt, in a rich, messy, mysterious place inside them. And when I dip into all that wonderful, old stuff, YA novels are what I come up with.   For more on Ann:  Website


  1. Thank you! God, this book irked me, but some how, I managed to push through it. The characters were terrible and I couldn't relate to ANY of them, but the plot of the story sounded fantastic! Thank you for your honesty in this review. :)

  2. It's really too bad you didn't like this one. I don't read much contemporary, but I can't stand it when the main character sucks, regardless of genre!