19 Dec 2014

REVIEW: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Title: Falling into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary.
Publication Date: September 9th 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Paperback

Pages: 296

Rating: 4/5

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.

When I first heard about Falling into Place, I wasn’t really interested in it. I think books about mental illness and suicide are incredibly important, but at the time I just wasn’t feeling it. Then when I was up in Sydney for Book Expo Australia, the lovely Ebony posted a photo on Instagram of the book and mentioned how much she’d enjoyed it. Then the wonderful Michelle bought herself a copy and read the blurb out loud, and then I knew I had to have it.

Without a doubt, the best thing about this book is the writing. I’m pretty sure this has been mentioned in every review I’ve read, but it’s honestly true. The writing is beautiful and almost lyrical. On the back of the book is says that this will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman and Jay Asher (I haven’t read any Jay Asher), but I think Amy Zhang’s writing is completely unique. Maybe fans of those authors will like this book, but I do think any of them can even begin to compare to Amy Zhang.

The story is sort of strange, in the sense that it’s told in an odd order. It’s not your typical start to end novel, it jumps around in the timeline so that you learn things in particular orders. Sometimes I’m a fan of this, sometimes I’m not but in this case I definitely am. I don’t think the story would have worked half as well if it had been told in chronological order. It meant there was a little mystery surrounding the events.

Moving onto the characters now. Liz Emerson is a bitch, there is no other way to put it. We’re talking straight up, life ruining bitch here. She is the sort of girl you do not want at your high school. Despite this, I actually didn’t completely hate her – as I learnt more and more about her, I felt more sympathetic to her and I understood why she did some of the things she did. I wasn’t so fussed on her two friends, but I think I would have had to learn more about them to decide.

The only thing that stopped this from being a five star for me was the ending. Obviously, I don’t what to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read this but I don’t know. I think I was expecting more the end. Overall, I did really, really enjoy this though.