Reviewed by Megan Saldecki

Gabby Gardiner started her senior year off with a bang. She spent the summer getting made over from head to toe and her new look caught the eye of one of Winston School’s most popular guys – Billy Nash.

So when Gabby wakes up on the ground to find Billy’s car wrapped around a tree and the car keys in her hands, she’s terrified. She would have done anything to make Billy stay with her and she may have ruined her whole life in a night that left her battered, bruised, and an amnesiac.

Now faced with the possibility of juvie, rehab, and Billy not being able to talk to her for fear of violating his parole, Gabby has to do everything she can to keep herself out of trouble and get her life back the way it was: perfect.

But when Gabby learns the truth about something big, she finds it may be impossible to get back to perfect.

The synopsis for Where It Began stood out to me and it sounded like a terrific read. After getting my hopes up, I was honestly left very disappointed.

Gabby was incredibly snarky. I love snarky characters, but unfortunately that seemed to be Gabby’s only good quality. She was otherwise selfish, shallow, obsessive, and very naive.

Frankly, Gabby treated her parents like crap. She often commented on her mother’s need to shop and her dad’s alcoholism, yet never truly tried to tell them how much it bothered her. She also talked about her mother’s shallow ways, not realizing how alike they were. Gabby also seemed like a terrible friend, and while her friends were there for her throughout the book, she ignored them to spend time with Billy.

Which brings me to my next point: Billy. Gabby was entirely too obsessed with him and you could hardly go a page without Gabby talking about him, thinking about him, fantasizing about him, etc. I pitied her for how obsessive and naive she was for not seeing how shady Billy was.

Although I enjoyed some parts of Where It Began, overall it left me disappointed. I struggled to get through it and would most likely not recommend it to anyone. This will not put me off from reading more from Ann Redisch Stampler in the future, however.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Meghan is a 18-year-old book blogger. She likes to read and write in her spare time and would like to become a published author one day. She plans on going to college soon.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon Pulse. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.