Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang


Title: Falling Into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
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.

It feels like everyone and their mother has been talking about Amy Zhang's Falling Into Place. I'm even one of those people who talked about the book long before I got a chance to read it. I was unbelievably excited about reading this book. I knew it had the potential to be a powerful and moving read. And let me tell you, it definitely was.

No one knows what happened on the day that Liz Emerson drove her car into a tree. To everyone looking in from the outside, Liz Emerson had the perfect life. But appearances don't always reflect reality. Everyone is asking themselves why Liz decided the world would be better off without her. Her friends wonder if they should have seen something they missed. Her mother wonders if things would have been different if she'd been around more. But unless Liz Emerson wakes up, no one will know exactly what happened on that fateful afternoon.

I started being excited about Amy Zhang's Falling Into Place pretty much from the moment I first heard about the book. It sounded like it was made up of everything I love about contemporary stories. Once people started reading the book though, I started getting a little worried. It seemed like either people absolutely loved the book or it wasn't for them. I started being afraid of how I would react. Would I be part of the group of people who absolutely love this story, or would I be disappointed by a book I was incredibly excited about? I didn't really have to worry about it though. I LOVED Falling Into Place. It was so completely different from anything I've read recently, especially in the way the story was told. Falling Into Place is not told in a linear way. Instead, it takes you back in time in an effort to explain what led to Liz Emerson driving her car off the road. I'll admit that it took me a little longer than usual to get into the story because of that, but once I was in, it's what kept me reading. All the jumps in time made me curious about what had led to this point. And that had a lot to do with understanding who was telling this story, and who Liz Emerson really was.

I'll be honest and say that Liz Emerson wasn't exactly a likeable person. None of what I really saw about her, especially in the flashbacks, did much to make me like her more. Liz was essentially the textbook definition of a mean girl, and even that might be putting it nicely. But as much as I wanted to dislike her, every so often I would get these glimpses of a different Liz. A Liz who understood that what she did was wrong, and who regretted everything she did. And that's the Liz I wanted to root for, the Liz I wanted to see pull through all her injuries from the accident. Really though, I wanted to believe in the version of Liz the narrator saw. And that brings me to the narrator. I new going in who the narrator of this story was, so I was curious to see how it would all work. And it really did. For most of the story I almost forgot who the narrator was, it just felt like I was reading a story told in third person. But then there were those moments that were heartbreaking, the ones where the narrator was trying to go back to a time where Liz was her better self. It's just really hard to explain it all in a way that makes sense. But it does. If you read Falling Into Place, it will all make sense.

Amy Zhang's Falling Into Place was everything I had hoped it would be. This was a moving story that left me completely raw. It wasn't until the very last page that I was able to let go of the breath I was holding. If you are looking for something completely different from what's out there, but feels entirely real, than this is the book for you.


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