Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy: Review

Simon Van Booy. I've often read his name on the blogs of my bookish friends. They sing his praises. I'm certain some of them have posters of him on their walls with big hearts drawn in lipstick around his head. He's kind of a big deal and yet I had never read any of his books. When I learned that his new book Everything Beautiful Began After was part of a TLC book tour, I thought it was time to give him a try.

I had trepidations at first. What if I hate this book? Will I be shunned? I admit it wasn't love at first sight. When I first began reading Everything Beautiful Began After, I wasn't wild about it. The writing style takes some getting used to. I had to read several paragraphs more than twice to grasp what he was saying. Soon though, I got the hang of it and I was falling.

Everything Beautiful Began After is about falling too. Three expats living in Athens find themselves falling in love and forming friendships with each other. Both Henry and George fall in love with Rebecca but she only loves one of them. She risks breaking the heart of the other man. They all need the friendship of each other since they are broken people with damaged childhoods.
"For the lost souls of this world, Athens is a place not to find themselves, but to find others like them." 
Things were going along swimmingly, to the point I thought they were obnoxiously happy, when an event occurs that turns everything upside down. That really sealed it for me. I love when something unexpected happens in a book and makes me rethink everything that I've just read. The narration changes at this point to second person which, while a bit disconcerting, fits the tone of the book at this point perfectly. The reader is the protagonist, not just reading what the protagonist feels.

I loved the topsy-turvy plot and the topsy-turvy narration. And the story itself is beautiful. It's a story of loss and grieving and about finding your way out of it. It's also about fate and being at the right place at just the right time. I want to read it again, right now, just to read all that I've missed the first time. Yeah, it's that kind of book.

So, I must join the Simon Van Booy fan club now.

I need his other books soon. Highly recommended!


  1. I wish my library had some of this author's books. He sounds like someone I would love to read.

  2. I have this book and I'm really excited about reading it. It sounds wonderful!

  3. Like Marg, I searched my library's catalog and found nothing. Oh well. There's always interlibrary loan! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. LOL! I love your description of the Van Booy lovers with "posters of him on their walls with big hearts drawn in lipstick around his head." That is hilarious! I actually have van Booy novel on my shelf and need to read it. I have a feeling I'll enjoy it as well.

  5. I'm so glad you eventually fell for this book! Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  6. I can't believe it took you this long to fall in love with his writing. Maybe I'm just not persuasive enough. Sigh.

  7. Sounds good! I have a collection of short stories by him on my shelves. Might be time to take it out!

  8. Another fan? You people are killing me. lol I trust everyone's opinions and my library doesn't have any of his books! :(

  9. Marg, Julie & Kelly- My library doesn't have any of his books either.

    Kathy- I hope you enjoy it.

    Amanda- You might be joining the fangirl group like I did.

    Heather- Great! Thanks!

    Bookfool- I'm always late to the party. ;)

    Em- Definitely do!

  10. Welcome to the club!

    I'm a huge fan of his short fiction, and look forward to picking up a copy of Van Booy's debut novel. Glad you were able to get into the groove of his narration and that it really grabbed you.

  11. Ha! Welcome to the fan club!!! So glad you have "fallen" for him too :) I will be posting my review tomorrow - and yes, I loved it!

  12. So what room did you put YOUR poster of Simon up in? :-D


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