Review: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts {Robyn Schneider}

Written by Robyn Schneider
Amazon | Book Depository 

Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them – an awful moment after which everything that really matters will begin. And then one spectacular night Ezra's own tragedy begins, shattering his knee and his life.No longer a part of his old social circle, Ezra finds himself at a table of misfits; of old friends and outcasts. Including Cassidy Thorpe. She's unlike anyone Ezra's ever met and she ends up being exactly what he needs.Together they navigate a world of flash mobs, buried treasure and secret movie screenings. But as Ezra dives into this new world, filled with friendships he's longed for, he learns that people, like books, are easily misread. And now he must consider whether his knee was the real tragedy, or whether there's something far worse to come.

This is a book that portrays teenage life in a brutally honest and unbelievably endearing way. We see the characters through tragedy and groan-inducing puns and tumble weed snowmen. And not once does the story lose pace or a character become tired and annoying (except when they're supposed to be – I'm looking at you Luke). I guess what I'm trying to say, is that this is one of those books where you'll be tempted to dog-ear each page.

Of course, it's not without its flaws and I have to admit that I wasn't a fan of Ezra's conversations with his poodle. Maybe I'm just a heartless animal hater, but I found it kind of grating. Also, Ezra's friends pre-tragedy are portrayed as kind of stereotypical, but they did help to emphasise Ezra's personal transformation.

As for Ezra's narrative, I think it shone compared to most male protagonists in YA, who seem to always be concerned with sex with the female heroine. I get it, teenage boys like sex. But I like my characters to be a little deeper. Thankfully Ezra was refreshingly charming and hilariously witty. I smirked, grinned and then laughed out loud when he got his comedy on.

Ezra's perceived tragedies he thinks awaits us all was also a great addition. The memorable and emotional perceptions, coupled with Ezra's own horrible tragedy, made for an intense and empathetic read. What also grabbed me was how much perspective he gained and how he just kept growing emotionally. It was great to read about a character who changed and adapted so brilliantly.

Special mention also goes to Toby. He is a great secondary character and the perfect friend to Ezra. He had no qualms re-accepting him or pulling him out of his own head (insert Disneyland related pun here) and lit up the pages whenever he was there.

I really enjoyed the romantic aspects in the book too. Cassidy was a great character, not quite ordinary but not venturing all the way into Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory either. She was spontaneous (if not a little erratic) and really helped Ezra appreciate the new direction his life had taken.

Like Ezra, Cassidy had a unique and captivating view of the world. She was realistic as a teenage girl with a somewhat cynical view of life and I didn't find her observations to be eye roll-inducing. In fact, they made her a more authentic character because, let's face it, we all like to wax philosophical about the world sometimes. 

As for the big 'reveal' and Cassidy's reaction, I wasn't a fan. But people don't always react the way you want them to. That's life. And it goes on. Robyn Schneider showed this brilliantly and getting to see Ezra's journey continue was the perfect ending.

This is a book about finding yourself and creating yourself and knowing that the way the universe works is not in your control. And it's about enjoying the ride, because while we all may have our own tragedies waiting for us, what comes after can make everything seem worthwhile. 

"I wondered what things became when you no longer needed them, and I wondered what the future would hold once we'd gotten past our personal tragedies and proved them ultimately survivable."

Allie has planned out a trio of marvellous desserts for Valentine's weekend. She'll be baking up a storm for love day! And that's not just a metaphor, because when she bakes, the kitchen ends up looking like it's been hit by a hurricane. But hey, the sugar makes the clean-up all worth while.


  1. Lovely review! this does sound really good, and I love a good YA novel with a male p.o.v. That's awesome Ezra has some great humor too, since I'm a big fan of that.

  2. i think i prefer the title severed heads, broken hearts. it's more interesting. he talks to a poodle? lol this book has a john green-ish quality to it so i suspected it'd be quotable. i don't know yet if i'll pick it up soon... i think this is the kind of book i'd want to read if i have some down time so i can properly reflect about what i read

    great review allie :)

    1. Yeah it reminded me a lot of John Green, but in the best way. Not like it was emulating, but more like it oozed the same awesome :D

  3. Cassidy being cynical and Ezra being witty and charming? Count me in. I love how you mentioned the talks with the poodle too, sounds hilarious. I've got this one to review and shall be reading it soon! Thanks for the lovely review Allie.

  4. I also prefer the title Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. I'm thinking of buying another copy just for the unique title and cover! And yes, Toby was amazing! He was my favourite character! I actually didn't like Cassidy that much so I rated this book 3.5 stars. I actually predicted the "big reveal" WAY too early on in the book so I wasn't pleased with that either. Awesome review! :)

  5. He talks to the poodle? Ha! Does he expect the poodle to talk back? ;) I really love this cover too and I'm glad that you enjoyed this book overall! Ezra sounds like a fairly entertaining character and I'm looking forward to meeting him eventually. Great review, Allie. :)

    1. Oh, dude, he actually imagines the poodles responses! I had a palm mark on my forehead every time that happened haha

  6. That cover and that title? How could I not be interested in this book, at least a little. I talk to my dogs, so I can relate to the guy who talks to his poodle.