Book Review | Where It Began

Title: Where It Began

Author: Ann Redisch Stampler

My Review:

Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler is likely not a book I would have picked up on my own, but I decided to give it a fair shot anyway. Just as I had initially anticipated, this book and I were not a good fit.

Gabby Gardiner basically had two friends and no boyfriend–until her intrusive mother Vivian gave her a makeover and Gabby was taken in by the popular kids. Now with a new look and a hot boyfriend, Billy Nash, Gabby is on top of the world. And then the accident happens.

Gabby can’t remember anything about the night of the car crash, when she wrapped her boyfriend’s car around a tree and was found drunk and holding the keys in her hand. Gabby soon learns there are consequences to her actions when she is forced into “kiddie AA”, has to talk with counselors, and may end up in a courtroom. She is desperate for her life to get back to normal, so she can be with Billy again and live out the rest of her high school days as one of the popular ones.

Right from the beginning, I did not like Gabby. She is clingy, needy, and completely unable to go for a single minute without worrying about Billy or what everyone else thinks of her. It’s not entirely Gabby’s fault; her mother is a monster who pushed Gabby into that lifestyle rather than letting her spend time with people who truly cared about her.

Gabby is not a heroine that teenage girls should look up to. She doesn’t think for herself, and tries to get out of trouble by lying and pretending she is someone that she is not. It took an incredibly long time for her to catch on to what really happened the night of the accident

Where it Began was extremely predictable; the reader will know early on that Billy is no good and that he will fulfill none of the promises that he makes to Gabby. I was so disappointed in the ending, hoping it would somehow redeem the rest of the book. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.*


Jen currently lives in Utah with her family, and enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. She is active on popular book websites including,, and

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