Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Gabby lived under the radar. Way under. That all changed at the beginning of Senior year. She came back to Winston with a brand new look that her over-the-top mother, Vivian, insisted upon. That is when the bad, yet most popular boy, Billy Nash notices her and then she’s suddenly living it up in the popular crowd with his hand in her back pocket.
But then one night, Gabby wakes up on the ground. The stars are spinning above her and not far off, a car is wrapped around a tree and the keys are in her hand, but she can’t remember what happened or how she got there. Everybody else does though. While everyone thinks she’s covering for Billy about the crash, she’s trying to figure out how to get out of this tight, legal fix without jail time.
Soon enough she discovers that she can’t continue to ignore the truth any longer and has to find out what it is. It could be what saves her.
How do I begin? Hmmmm…
Well, there is much I appreciate about this book, but much that I don’t. The style was really unique! I loved it! I was in the front seat of the character, Gabby, who is recovering from a horrendous car crash due to drunk driving. Just like her, we are clueless about what is going on around her. This POV was much closer than your ordinary first person POV. I was planted right into her head and the story pulled you along with her memories and thoughts. That did limit what I knew, though. The natural fluidity that comes with the character physically interacting with everything around them was not there because you never stretch beyond Gabby’s mind. Between Gabby’s recovery from the car accident she can’t remember, I rediscovered some memories with her that retrace her steps to where she is currently, which was really nice. I liked it because it gave some backstory, which really adds to the story. The style is much like Dot-To-Dot.
The blips between Gabby and her boyfriend Billy in their chatrooms were really nice, too. I liked that Ann really held up the style and language that actually occurs online. It added good fluff to the book that filled out the characters.
The tone however? I did not enjoy. Not. At. All. Gabby’s over-exaggeration that doing anything that would help get her out of her nasty legal situation with drunk driving and wrecking a car was mind-numbing. She was going to just DIE if she had to lift a finger to do anything. Not very appealing. And neither was her boyfriend, Billy Nash. I couldn’t believe she wanted to be with this guy. He’s conceited, obnoxious and could care less about the condition Gabby is in. The girl was completely mangle from that car accident, but yes, let’s fix his sexual need. Queue my flattened and disgusted look. He cares more about his probation and if he’ll get out of this. Ann did phenomenal job in getting me to hate this guy.
And then Gabby is telling herself what to not do in order to keep him—don’t do this, don’t do that, it’ll chase him away. If a boy acts like a jerk and has you trying to figure out how not to be yourself then he is not a keeper. I was just disgusted with this kid! Who did I love in this book? Gabby’s friends, Anita, Lisa, and Huey. All three have decent heads on their shoulders. They were not falling for any of this deceit and even though Gabby was ridiculous, they were loyal to her and never ditched her once through her recovery and return to Winston.
This book was more disappointing than I expected. It’s not my taste, I believe. Rich, privileged kids and their parents working to get them out of a fix by nailing the girlfriend with it is just downright slimy. I just struggled too hard trying get on Gabby’s level. She didn’t seem like much of a better person. She was too snooty and uptight and felt entitled. I just can’t give this book much love. I was happy that she’d found a happy ending to a better life, though.
“This is how a person falls in love with Billy Nash.” (Gabby, p. 97)
“I had never been beautiful before this moment, but now I am. I am beautiful because Billy says.” (Gabby, p. 100)
– Okay, I plucked this one out because it made me cringe. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a grand and special feeling when the one you’re falling for finds you to be beautiful, but-and this is sole opinion of course-do not, I repeat, DO NOT sit there and think that you are only beautiful because he/she says so. No. You were beautiful before you met them and you will always be beautiful after. Their say so does not determine beauty. It’s you.-
“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.” (Gabby, p. 127)
“Nobody believed I didn’t remember, so nobody told me the truth; they all thought I knew the truth already.” (Gabby, p. 326)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Baby Don’t Lie by Gwen Stefani.
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