Where It Began

Where It Began

For Ages: 14 - 99
  • 1
An accident puts everything into shocking perspective in this darkly funny, “searing portrayal of power, privilege, and betrayal in the hills above Los Angeles” (Publishers Weekly).

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 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 just 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.
  • Simon Pulse | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442423220 | 
  • February 2013 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions for

Where It Began
By Ann Redisch Stampler

1. One of the first things we learn about Gabby is that she underwent a complete physical makeover just prior to the time the story begins. When and how can a makeover become problematic? Do you think there are any pros or cons to Gabby's makeover?

2. What was your first impression of Billy? How did your opinion of him change as the story unfolded? What events most influenced your opinion of him?

3. To what extent did you feel sympathy toward Gabby? Why, and when? When did you like Gabby? When did you dislike Gabby?

4. Gabby often remarked about how she needed Billy to want her. Consider her comment: “I need to see him all the time and I need to make him want me again.” What do you think Gabby really “needed” and “wanted” from the relationship? How much of love is need? How much of love is want? What is the difference?

5. Gabby discussed her “memorabilia drawer.” What kinds of things would be found in your memorabilia drawer?

6. Gabby describes Andy and Andie's relationship as "the only good marriage any of us has ever seen." What do you make of their relationship? Do you find their relationship appealing, or too close?

7. Billy repeatedly encouraged Gabby to “pretend” when answering to the entourage of people hired see more

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About the Author

Ann Redisch Stampler
Photograph by Sonya Sones

Ann Redisch Stampler

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. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, Rick.