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Where It Began

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  3,473 ratings  ·  376 reviews
A teen's world comes crashing down in this compulsively readable YA debut that's as literary as it is commercial.

Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving and without a single memory of the accident that landed her there. But what she can recall, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the crash.

As Gabby descri
Hardcover, 369 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Simon Pulse
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Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,473 ratings  ·  376 reviews

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Sep 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
No. Just no. This book is really stupid, for lack for a more sophisticated term. Let me tell you why.
(Spoilers ahead.)

First of all, it is WAY too long. By a good 100 pages or something, in which nothing of consequence happens.

Second, there is zero character development. Everyone is one-dimensional--including the main character, whose head we're in! Oh sure, she's an 'artist.' Except that only gets mentioned here and there, instead of being fully shown or explained or reasoned. It's like the auth
I was truly suffering from a brain funk after finishing Where it Began. It wasn’t that the book was complicated, so I had a lot to get my head around. But it was just the long winded path the book well more specifically the main character Gabby took to finally discovering the truth! Seriously Gabby kind of made your head spin in exasperated circles.

Gabby wakes up near the remains of her boyfriend Billy’s battered car with no recollection of how she got there, when in hospital she still can’t rem
Amy Jacobs
Mar 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-own
I was so excited to get this book in advance from Amazon Vine. It sounded interesting and I was in desperate need of a young adult book to bring back my passion for this genre. Unfortunately, this book was not as great as I was hoping it would be. I think I will be in the minority in saying that this book is not one that will live up to the hype, but this is only my opinion.

Gabby was not a character I enjoyed. I was to the point of wanting to rip her from the pages of the book and slap some sens
Nicole Wang
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing

EDIT: I just re-read this and I realized how immature I was when it came to reviewing. Wow. Anyways, jsut needed to say I KNOW IT ISN'T VERY PROFESSIONAL.

So because I'm new to the whole blogging/book reviewing business, I don't receive ARC's. I just have to deal with whatever books I buy from Amazon or Barnes and Nobles, or library books. But, thanks to a certain giveaway on Goodreads, I finally managed to get my hands on Where it Began, which comes
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-galley
It started interestingly enough with a sense of confusion and not knowing that was conveyed quite effectively. Except the trip down memory lane was not a pleasant one because in the end all I felt was sorry for this girl who's a bit too used to describing herself as “sub regular.” And lost memory or not, her story was funny~ just not in a funny ha ha way. Her running commentary on being sub-regular and being the moon to Billy’s earth was in simple terms: off putting and quite disappointing. Yet, ...more
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
How far would you go to cover for a friend? Would you allow your reputation to be torn to tatters? Gabby is the main character of this book. She doesn’t make the best choices, she is a fairly good student, and she has a boyfriend and friends. Overall, Gabby is a normal, everyday teenage girl. One wouldn’t think that underage drinking, suspensions from school, therapy sessions, etc… could happen to a normal, everyday girl.

One bad decision can lead to a lifetime of regret. For Gabby, this slightl
It isn't very often that I sit down to start a book and have it finished about 4 hours later-- As much as I love reading, I'm pretty slow at it and I usually lose steam and need a few breaks in between. But every now and again, I get my hands on a book that I just cannot put down, that I just cannot get enough of, and end up devouring the whole dang thing in one day. Where It Began was one of those books...

Gabby Gardiner has what many people would call a "privileged life." She's grown up in the
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
*** Originally posted to: Bookish

SIDE NOTE: I'm currently hosting a giveaway for a gorgeous SIGNED finished copy of this book! Enter here: Guest Post + Giveaway with Ann Stampler (US/Canada, ends:MARCH 15th

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
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted to Words at Home June 7, 2012:

Where it Began is an utterly compelling and poignant look into the life of a sub-regular turned, girlfriend-of-a-golden-god teenage girl. It is a completely addictive story and I guarantee that you will be glued to this book within the first few pages. Between Ann Stampler’s unique and utterly fabulous writing style, her incredibly three-dimensional characters and captivating plot she has become my fa
Ashlyn Rae (TeenageReader)
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Stampler's debut is amazing! The last few chapters changed EVERYTHING. Review to come!

Where It Began was truly an amazing debut by Ann Redisch Stampler! The novel had many aspects that a contemporary fan would love.
Gabby was an interesting main character. Stampler portrayed her well enough for her readers to really understand what she was going through after her accident. I could really feel how hard it was for Gabby to deal without her memory of that night when the crash took place.
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-novels
Remember that time you fell for the wrong guy and were so blindly in love you couldn't see anything but the golden glow radiating from his Adonis-like body? Meet Gabby Gardiner the best anti-hero to grace the pages of a YA novel since well, I can't remember the last time I had such fun. Flawed? Check. Wrecked by love? Check. Strong and hilarious? Check. Gabby lives in the three B's of Los Angeles (Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood) where the pressure to be perfectly gorgeous and get into the per ...more
Page Passion
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
All Gabby remembers after waking up in a hospital is her boyfriends car wrapped around a tree. Ever since that night when she supposedly stole her bf’s car and drove it after using alcohol, Gabby’s life turns upside down. She is sucked into a life of false beauty to cover up her bruises, lawyers and probation’s, and most of all a secret “love.” Through her whole ordeal Gabby tries to stay strong, but when she realizes her boyfriend is sleeping with other girls when he’s supposed to be in love wi ...more
Oct 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Awful. The writing itself needs a lot of work. It was trying to be something like Courtney Summers' Cracked Up To Be but came off as whiny, over privileged and utterly unlikeable. DNF. Made it to page 164 before I quit. I don't give up on books easily let me just say but this... horrid. ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, ya
This review is also posted on my blog, In The Good Books.

Gabby wakes up in hospital with no memory of the night that put her there, but what happened was obvious. With the blood alcohol concentration of a keg and in her hand the keys to her boyfriend's car wrapped around a tree beside her, her future looks to be a blur of DUI charges, jail time, and perhaps the most daunting in her mother's eyes, a face mangled by the crash. In the aftermath, she'll question if the events of that night were real
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
[Cross-posted at my blog]

Where it Began opens with a fairly simple premise: a teenage girl wakes up in the hospital, having barely survived a car accident. She has no memory of the night in question, but she's certain she's to blame.

The narrative voice is fresh, crisp, and incredibly witty. I absolutely loved it. (Also, there is BILLY NASH. BILLY NAAAAAAAAAAAASH.)

What makes the book stand out so much? I shall tell you!

Narrative Voice
Gabby's narration is fabulously sarcastic. She considers herse
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Such a good testament to teenage drinking and it's consequences. Gabby wakes up in the hospital broken and battered, in really bad shape and in between flyer mother hovering and nurses poking, are the police wanting to get her statement after she apparently drove drunk after stealing her boyfriends car and rammed it into a tree. She was found lying outside the car with the Keys in her hand. Problem is, she has absolutely no memory of any of it. Not the party, not getting into the car, not drivin ...more
Leila Springer
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Mostly I loved the voice of Gabby Giffords, a girl who is growing up in the "Three B's" (Brentwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills). Gabby just leaps off the page. Her voice is so believable that I was laughing out loud at her snarky, witty observations of her family (an absent-through-alcohol father and a you-can-find-happiness-through-shopping mother) and her fellow inhabitants of "The Three B's." I can still hear her in my head and wish I could call her up and talk to her. Actually ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I first heard about this book I can honestly say I wasn't sure. So I bought it brought it home and it sat for a few weeks before I found the courage to read it. Gabs is a normal girl going to a pricey school where just about everyone ignores her. Her mother forces a makeover on her during the summer and when school starts it all changes for her. She becomes popular, gets the hot jock, new "friends", and she thinks life is okay.

What I truly like about this book is that you feel you can actua
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-young-adult
High school girl obsessed with her boyfriend wakes up after a car accident and is told she drunkenly drove boyfriend's car into a tree. However, she has no memory of the incident. An un-put-down-able novel! ...more
My Rating: 5.0 / 5

First thoughts:
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012 and wow, it definitely didn't disappoint. It's one of those books that you expect to be good, but that turn out to be amazing. I fell in love with Ann Redisch Stampler's style of writing, her witty and slightly obsessive main character and the story she created. I think I can already say that Where It Began is one of my favorite books of 2012.

More detailed:
Where It Began is everything I expected to be, and more. D
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I felt every emotion possible while reading this book! In the end though, I was more shocked and angry than anything. The author did such a great job at making these characters real, and it was many of the characters that made me so angry and upset. These characters could be my circle of friends! I am a very trusting person, and it would very much sadden me if I had to go through what Gabby went through.

Gabby was in a terrible car accident that landed her in the hospital. She can't remem
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gabby Gardiner is a sub-regular girl who goes to school at Winsten high school in Beverly Hills. She has little friends and her parents spend all their time drinking and trying to act rich even when they’re not. The only person she truly cares about is her extremely hot boyfriend Billy Nash. Billy is the captain of the men’s water polo team and bases his whole life around going to Princeton. Billy is the bad boy that has a bunch of probation's and the only reason why his not going to jail is be ...more
Melanie McCullough
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Gabby Gardiner has been in a terrible car accident. It has scarred her face and broken her body. Worse than that however is the fact that she can't remember a single thing about the accident or the events leading up to it. Her life seems to be falling apart as she faces potential jail time for driving under the influence, not to mention the loss of her looks, her status, and her boyfriend.

Gabby is an incredible protagonist. She is whip-smart and snarky, lending a humor to an otherwise horrific s
Hannah McBride
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-contemporary
I love books that begin with a heavy dose of mystery. Anne Redisch Stampler does a fantastic job of throwing the reader in the deep end of the pool, but not drowning them. I love how she begins Where It Began, and the way she builds up the plot throughout the story.

Reading Gabby waking up was a lot like being Gabby. You have no idea who this girl is, where she’s from, or what the heck landed her in the hospital. The more I read about Gabby, the more I just came to love her. I wanted to protect h
Emily Benoit
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
Concept/Ideas: 4/5
Storyline/Plot: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 2.5/5
Overall Rating: 2/5 stars

Painful... This book was honestly painful. From the synopsis, it looks like a good read. Interesting concept, typical girl-teen novel.

But ugh, the book was so slow. I don't really know where to begin with the writing. Yes, the writing was okay, but I felt like the author added in a lot of random and unneeded words that weren't needed in a lot of the parts. Other than that, the author did have a
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler is a compelling story about a teenage girl, Gabby, who wakes up in a hospital after a horrific car accident. She is blamed for the accident but she has no recollection of the events that happened that night.

Ann puts the reader deep into Gabby’s head and exposes them to all of the intimate emotions that she feels after that night in question. The way Ann describes Gabby is convincing and real. She makes bad choices and can get into a bad mood at times. This
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: multiple-reads
This book did not have a cliché ending; a romantic plot line where girl meets boy, falls in love with boy, faces challenges or opposition in the relationship with boy, and lives happily ever after with boy; or a strong female lead, but nonetheless, I loved this book. Maybe it was the writing that lured me in; or the realization that I probably would have made the same poor choices as Gabby if I were in her situation; or maybe it was recognizing that in my naïve mind, every teenage boy will ultim ...more
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I’m not big on reading book summaries. I skim them when I first discover the book to decide whether or not I want to read it then I promptly forget it. So when I opened the pages of Where It Began I was very quickly intrigued. It definitely starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up. The author knows how to hook a reader. I had lots of different emotions while reading, but I never once wanted to put it down.

Gabby isn’t exactly the most likeable girl. She’s pretty self centered and super naive, bu
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy Blackler
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Stampler's debut YA novel is a heart-breaking portrayal of teenage loyalty and betrayal. Readers will undoubtedly identify with more than one character as Gabby's story unfolds. Serious readers will stick with the story through some slow parts, but I worry others may abandon it; hence four stars rather than five. ...more
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Ann Redisch Stampler is the author of the young adult novels Afterparty and Where It Began as well as half a dozen picture books. Her work has garnered an Aesop accolade, the National Jewish Book Award, Sydney Taylor honors, the Middle East Book Award, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year mentions. How to Disappear (Simon Pulse, 2016), her first young adult thriller, will be released in June. An ...more

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