Monday, July 23, 2012

Where It Began - Ann Redisch Stampler

Title: Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Release Date: March 6th, 2012, Hardcover
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Group: Young Adult Literature
Sometimes the end is just the beginning.

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.
Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler is about a girl named Gabby Gardiner who wakes up in a hospital bed after she crashed her boyfriend's midnight blue car into a tree on Songbird Lane. Her head is smashed in and can't remember any of the details of that night. She assumes that it is her fault, but once her friends and boyfriend start acting weird and distancing themselves from her she starts to discover that things are not what they seem.

This book sounded so interesting. I had been excited to read this book since I first discovered it on Goodreads about a year ago. Then the cover got released and some positive reviews started popping up and I was for sure that I would be in love with this book. Maybe my expectations were just too high for this book, because this book isn't bad at all. It has great storytelling and the writing is wonderful and poetic! You can definitely tell that Ann Redisch Stampler spent a lot of time on this and had everything detail and thought planned out.

The problem for me with this book was the main character. I could just not relate with Gabby at all. She was obsessed with her "boyfriend", Billy Nash, and honestly I just couldn't see the appeal of this whole relationship till the end of the story. It was a quote her mother said towards the very end of the book and I could actually see why Gabby was so in love with Billy. Billy is such a player and I could see right through him at the very beginning. So when Gabby complains and whines and goes on and on about how perfect he is; I basically wanted to smack my head on a wall. Gabby talks about a time when her mother, got her hair redone, her eyebrows waxed, her eyelashes dyed, and a completely new look. She looks so different that Billy Nash, the golden boy, notices her. At first I didn't like how the story was playing at, but it started to grow on me. This relationship with Billy is what I consider self-destructive and abusive. Even though Billy never really hit her, he manipulative her so bad that I even I feel bad for Gabby.

Gabby has some weird parents. There is her mom who goes on shopping sprees and is never at home. Then there is her dad that is an alcoholic. At first I did not like her parents at all, but as the story progressed is it weird that I started to like them? I especially started to like John, her dad. Her friends, Lisa and Anita, were great. They were probably the only characters that I liked in the whole book. Then there is Andy and Andie. Don't even get me started about these two. I could probably go on a rant about how much I didn't like them. I don't know who is worse Billy Nash or the Andy’s!

The concept and the plot were great, but I think the downfall for me was the characters. It was sometimes painful to read about these characters that I just didn't like or feel any connection too. I didn't think the story was predictable, but the pacing was slow. It took me quite a while to get into the story and understand it. The ending is the part where Gabby's character actually shines and you finally see some character development. Overall, I enjoyed the book but the characters were such a letdown. I am looking forward to reading more by this author; she has a unique writing style.



  1. So sad!
    I feel like the MOST important thing in any story is the characters!!!
    But I know what you mean when you get your hopes up, waiting as patiently as possible t read a book, and hearing all sorts of great things about it, then when you finally do... its a let down

    Great review
    and I too love this cover

  2. I honestly could go on and one for days about Where it Began and I still wouldn't do this brilliant novel justice! All you need to know is that if you are a fan of contemporary fiction you must run out right now and get this book. You will be thanking me in about 3 chapters I promise! The characters, the storyline, plotting and pacing are just out of this world and this is why Ann Stampler just became my contemporary fiction hero!
    Great site for Seattle Divorce Lawyer Engle Law Group


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