In another awesome celebration of Contemporary Fiction month Ann Redisch Stampler is giving away a finished copy of Where it Began and some signed bookmarks! Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter at the end of this review.
~ The Blurb ~
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.
~ My Thoughts ~
Where it Began is an utterly compelling and poignant look into the life of a sub-regular turned, girlfriend-of-a-golden-god teenage girl. It is a completely addictive story and I guarantee that you will be glued to this book within the first few pages. Between Ann Stampler’s unique and utterly fabulous writing style, her incredibly three-dimensional characters and captivating plot she has become my favorite new contemporary author.
I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to summarizing this story, it was just brilliant and you simply must read it yourself. The story starts when Gabby wakes up in a hospital bed desperately trying to piece together how she got there. She is able to gradually recall scenes from her life before the accident but has no memory of the accident itself. The novel revealed Gabby’s history through a series of flashbacks as she remembered them during her recovery. It was difficult to stand on the sidelines and not be able to do anything to help Gabby as I could see that ending coming the whole time, although I never expected the full extent of what came to light. I was just waiting on pins and needles for the other shoe to drop and when it finally did it left me as shattered as Gabby.
I truly believe that Stampler has an unparalleled ability to not only get inside her characters heads, but to actually get the reader inside the character’s heads. I have never in my life been so invested in a story or character as I was with Gabby. And that is saying a lot considering I am always talking about how I am a character reader. The entire reason I read is to make a connections with a brilliant character. My heart broke continuously for Gabby as I was reading Where it Began. It was painful to listen to how she described herself as nothing but sub-regular before [her makeover] and her only worth to anyone other than her two besties came After [her makeover]. The way she divides her life into a before her makeover, After her makeover, and after-her-After (after the accident) evoked more emotion than event or conversation could have been. Listening to Gabby describe her life felt like talking with a girlfriend back in high school. At times I just wanted to shake her and get he to wake up, but given the way she was raised it was absolutely no surprise why she acted the way she did.
What about the writing you ask? Oh let me wax on about the writing for a minute please! I can’t even describe Ann’s writing style except to say it is nothing short of amazing. Ann Stampler is an absolute and certifiable genius when it comes to her way with words. And you will see what I mean tomorrow when you read her “deleted scene” guest post. Point in case:
“I want to be back in my After, and not in some weird after-After
Purgatory, waiting to find out if I am Saved or Damned.”
“And you can kind of see it: me sitting in a room with Olga Blau
and a big lump of clay, even if she is bat-shit crazy and I have a
scarlet F for failure stamped across my forehead. So what if what
I actually want to do makes everyone else wince? Because you
Have to figure, things would be looking up if I wasn’t the one wincing.”
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!
I received a finished copy of Where is Began from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This guest post is being shared as a part of the Contemporary Month event being hosted by Evie at Bookish, Bonnie at Words at Home and Asheley at Into The Hall of Books. Click the banner below for full Words at Home schedule.