Sunday, February 26, 2012

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Where It BeganWhere It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads: 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.

My take: The book starts out really strong. Gabby wakes up in a hospital with a closed brain injury. First of all, she doesn't know who she is, second of all, she has absolutely no clue what happened. All she knows is that she wants Billy. Billy is her boyfriend. His car was decimated around a tree with Gabby lying on the road nearby, holding the keys. She spends the first part of the book regaining memories and having Mommy run interference with the police. But the honest to goodness truth is that she doesn't remember what happened.

The rest of the book is Gabby trying to regain her life. What she had was this; after being a regular girl with regular looks, her shallow mother spends mega bucks on Gabs' hair, nails, body, and face. No plastic surgery but Gabby blossoms. She starts the beginning of her junior year as a completely new woman. She turns heads, including playboy, Billy Nash. She gets to sit with the cool crowd at lunch. There is her meteoric rise in social status, a drunken party and then the hospital. This part dragged for me. Gabby has all kinds of dialogue inside her head, applying metaphors that leave me scratching my head and wondering about the segue.

If I cared more about Gabby, I'd want to slap her silly because she's not putting the obvious pieces of the puzzle together. However, I give her a break since she has a TBI. The book is about shared culpability and complete stupidity and a societal peer pressure to save the Golden Boy. The truth about the accident eventually leaks out onto the pages but the reader pretty much guesses as much early on. In the meantime, Gabby takes us through the journeys of her guesses of what happened and I was bored. I never really felt like I connected to any of the characters. They're all shallow. Even Gabby.

The underlying message is about self discovery and being true to yourself even when all the pressure around you says to be someone you are not. Good message.

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