Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler is one gorgeous and unforgettable book! Laced with humor, exceptional wit and powerful insight, this book gets you hooked right off from the start. It's intense, funny, heartbreaking, taut, mysterious and - most of all - so deliciously addictive! Ann Redisch Stampler did a fabulous job depicting high school relationships, with all their flaws and foibles. The MC's extremely amusing sarcastic tone makes for a great narrative voice that is sure to keep you turning the pages until you hit the back cover. It's a wonderful treat for everyone who appreciates a good contemporary novel.
Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed, wired to machines and clueless as to how she ended up there. Her face is smashed in, bruised and unrecognizable. She has a post-traumatic amnesia and her memory of the last night's car crash is gone. Wiped clean. Non-existent. All she knows is what others tell her: she's been at a party with her super-hot-and-rich boyfriend, Billy, and a bunch of his super-cool-and-rich friends. She drank too much. She got into Billy's car and drove it into a tree. And now she can't remember a single thing. Her face, and possibly whole life, is ruined - she's facing DUI charges, being expelled from school and maybe even some serious jail time. Worst of all? Her boyfriend is missing and no one wants to tell her where he is and why hasn't he come to visit her bruised up and miserable self yet. And that's not the only thing people are keeping from her...
I was totally in love with this book from page one! The writing was beyond amazing. Witty, hilarious, smart and sexy! For me, Ann Redisch Stampler could write a 1000 pg long description of how to make blueberry waffles and I would probably enjoy every single word of it - that's how fantastic her writing style is. Gabby's narrative voice was - hands down - one of the most enjoyable narrative voices ever. I instantly connected with her, although we didn't really have anything in common (at all). Moreover, I genuinely cared about her and wanted everything to work out well for her. She was quite a complex character- strong yet sensitive, ready to work hard to achieve her goals yet sometimes very naive and impressionable. A typical teenage girl, with all her insecurities, hopes and dreams, longing to be noticed, appreciated and loved. It was really heartbreaking to watch her struggle to hold on to the happy little life she worked so hard to live, knowing all along what she didn't yet realized - that this life was never meant for her.
There were quite a few twists and turns that I never saw coming. The plot line might seem a bit predictable at the beginning, but if you think you have it all figured out after the first 20 pages, well, then you're in for a surprise. All in all, it was a fascinating and compelling read that I thoroughly enjoyed. It got me emotionally engaged, it made me laugh, kept me guessing and frantically turning the pages, and in the end left me very satisfied and pleased with the way the whole thing unfolded. I couldn't ask for more. Make sure to add it to your TBR Pile and 2012 contemporary challenge!