Robyn Schneider, the author of Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is a creative writing graduate of Columbia University. She currently resides in LA and writes novels and the occasional script. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts isn’t her only novel, another one to add to to-be-read pile is Extraordinary Means. In the USA this novel was published under another title – Beginning of Everything – and, as much as the UK title fits the novel, The Beginning of Everything title really hits the spot as the main character’s tragedy ultimately becomes the Beginning of Everything, regarding his future. Very fitting.
However, let’s get on with a review of Severed Heads, Broken Hearts…
Disaster strikes and Ezra Faulkner is left injured and unable to play sports. Through Ezra’s inner monologue there’s a glimpse of high school experiences, the ups and downs, the popular kids or the nerdy kids. All of those horrific stereotypes of where you fit at the lunch table… are you a jock? Are you a nerd?
High school isn’t a party, it’s an emotional rollercoaster of arguments and break ups… but also some life changing friendships.
Ezra is a hilarious pun-fanatic, however this humour is actually a mask to cover up the tragedy he faced and the fact that high school is no longer the same. He has lost his reputation and place on the jock’s lunch table. There’s a silver lining though as Ezra forms new friendships and fixes anything that may have been broken between him and his old best friend Toby. The table he joins is that of a creative bunch; not normally his scene but he falls perfectly into place.
Everything changes when he meets the new girl, Cassidy. She’s different, not like one of those cliché high school girls with perfect hair, perfect clothing, perfect everything. She is intelligent, witty and described as an ‘oddity’. She changes the game for Ezra, releasing him from the humiliation he feels he faces having to hobble around on crutches.
“She tasted the way fireworks felt, like something you could get close to but never really have for yourself.”
There are trips to late night diners, hikes and cute messages sent in Morse code.
In a funny kind of way this novel reminds me of the classic film (500) Days of Summer. Humans are conditioned to have expectations that don’t match their realities which is one of the messages throughout both the film and this book. Our protagonist Ezra creates an image of Cassidy which renders her absolutely perfect (although she near enough is, with her constant literature references and love of Harry Potter) without considering flaws, mimicking the way Tom feels about Summer in (500) Days of Summer.
This cutesy young adult novel is beautifully written and guaranteed to make you both hysterically laugh and, unfortunately, cry. But a novel that makes you teary is successful in my opinion!
Have you read any of Robyn Schneider’s novels? Which is your favourite? What did you think of Severed Heads, Broken Hearts?