Review: Falling Into Place – Amy Zhang

Release Date: September 9th 2014
Published By: HarperCollins Australia/Greenwillow Books
Pages: 304
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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis: On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.



Review: Remember how, about a month back, I reviewed ‘Take Back The Skies,’ and was like, ‘Well, I definitely feel like an underachiever,’ because the author was my age and she’d published something? And not just any something, but a novel-something? Yes? Well, this is another case of that. But, the feeling is even worse because I adore this book.

‘Falling into Place,’ written by (18-year old)Amy Zhang, is the story of Liz Emerson. She is the most popular girl in school, and she has decided to commit suicide. One day after class, she crashes her car, and the next, she’s fighting for life. Told from a non-linear and fascinating perspective, this book absolutely stunned me.

I’ll try and refrain from gushing too much, but I can’t promise you anything.

I’ll start with my favourite, favourite thing - the writing. Oh my gosh, the writing. I loved, loved, loved it. Much like with ‘We Were Liars,’ I found that it was the writing that really pushed me along. It’s got a peculiar quality to it: The very first page grips you and it feels like you can’t breathe until you finish the novel. It’s not a huge book, but it really packs a punch. Right in the stomach.

I also loved the perspective. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s not your typical first-person narrative. It’s not necessarily third-person either. I will say this though - I’m pretty sure I’ve never read anything like it (except maybe Cloudstreet? But Cloudstreet is in it’s own field for unique perspectives, so let’s not get into that.).

The characters were really, really well done. Liz (and her friends) had a real capacity to be mean girls and stay mean girls. Instead, Zhang created multi-faceted characters with a conscience and regrets. It was realistic and I loved it all. I also loved how the importance of friendship was reiterated throughout. No matter what goes on, being there for your friends should always be a priority.

There’s one thing that really struck me in the book though. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s something I need to mention. ‘Falling into Place’ makes you extremely aware of your mortality (and everyone else’s). So, if you’re like me, and prone to neuroticism, just be aware that you might have an existential crisis midway through the book.

I was in shock when the book ended. I’d kind of gobbled it all up within a day, and then it finished a little abruptly. I’m not criticising that - I think it was a good way to end. Just know that a state of shock is a not uncommon feeling.

I read in the blurb that people were comparing this book to Gayle Forman’s books. While I definitely see that (especially so with If I Stay), it’s executed very differently and can definitely stand on its own.

I love this book. It’s on my top reads for 2014. 4.5 stars.


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