Book Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling Into Place CoverBook: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Published September 2014 by HarperCollins|226 pages

Where I Got It: I own the e-book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What It’s About:

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.

What I Thought:

I have mixed feelings about Falling Into Place.  It is different than your usual book about a character who is depressed and suicidal and actually tries to kill herself.  But there were also things I didn’t like about it.

A suicide disguised as a car accident, and what happened in the months leading up to the car crash and what happened after she crashed…it’s definitely a different way of telling the story.  I was expecting so much more about depression, and was really surprised that Falling Into Place didn’t really delve into that.  I mean, you do get all of these memories and flashbacks and how Liz regrets the things she’s done, and while suicidal and depressed characters are characters I relate to and connect with a lot, I had a hard time connecting with Liz. And you see that people do need Liz, even if they don’t realize it until there’s the possibility that she won’t be around anymore.

I liked that you got glimpses of the different characters and how everything slowly came together.  I’m still having some trouble figuring out who the narrator is- Liz’s childhood imaginary friend?  Her younger self?  I have no idea.  And you do spend the entire book wondering if she does die or not- it would be interesting to go back and re-read it knowing how it all ends.

The shifting timeline is interesting and I liked it fine, but maybe that’s why I had such a hard time connecting with Liz.  But…even though I didn’t feel for Liz the way I thought I would, and even though I read it and felt sort of “meh” about it, there is something about the writing that pulls you in.  And the actual writing itself isn’t something I normally pay attention to but the sentences are  very well put together and it felt like every word was carefully thought out.

My Rating:

3 stars.  I liked it, and the way it was told is very different but I couldn’t completely connect with Liz.

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