Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: FALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang

Title: Falling Into Place
Author: Amy Zhang (@amyzwrites)
Published: September 9th, 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Contemporary
POV: omniscient narrator, past / present
Pages: 304
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Vine Program
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf

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.

In all honesty, I'm always incredibly wary when it comes to novels written by very young authors. While young authors are usually capable of capturing an honest, youthful voice, their books rarely leave me thinking about the writing or story. I cannot even remember the last time I read a novel by a young author that I genuinely loved. So, going into this book, I was very critical and doubtful that the story would be anything special.

I was incredibly, foolishly wrong to have doubts. Fortunately, Amy Zhang's debut is the exception to my past experience with novels written by young authors. Not only does Falling Into Place feature realistic, flawed characters, it also manages to touch on a myriad of emotions and leave readers thinking about the story long after it finishes. The narration jumps around, following who Liz Emerson used to be, who she is, and how the people around Liz see her. Such a narration gives readers a glimpse into Liz, her friends, and her family. 

Highlights: Such a non-linear story could easily become confusing, but Zhang skillfully makes the structure of this story work. While this is Liz's story, it also revolves around Julia, Kennie (her best friends), Liam (a boy who likes Liz, despite her wrongdoings), and her mother. The focus jumps around to a few other characters, but it sticks with the previously mentioned ones the most. Zhang reveals Liz through them, and peels back the layers to all of their perfect facades. This is a story about people at their best and worst, and the way we see and treat each other. 

Lowlights: The ending seemed a bit abrupt. I never cared for any of the characters, but that distance didn't bother me too much (although, I would imagine that it would bother some readers).  

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf: 4+ out of 5. If you are in any way curious about this novel, I would urge you to check it out and give it a chance. Falling Into Place is an outstanding story that deserves to be on your to-be-read list, I'd highly recommend it. 

I received an electronic advanced copy of this novel for review consideration. 
This is no way affected my opinion of the novel. 


  1. That's encouraging. I kind of dismissed this book because the cover doesn't really jump out at you. The actual synopsis is pretty interesting though. Glad that your previous expectations WEREN'T met and that you were actually surprised and blown away by what you had read. :) Great review!

  2. I will have to give this a try sometime. I wondered if it would be like Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall. Thanks for your review!

  3. I have this book on hold at my local library and I can't wait to read it after reading your review :)


  4. I agree about the great voice but ending was kinda like hmmm

  5. Aw, great review sweetie. <3 I'm glad you seemed to love this book :) I.. decided not to read it. As I heard bad things, and I would not have been able to like main girl at all. So just not for me :\ but it do make me happy that you enjoyed it so much :) Thank you for sharing. <3

  6. I love love loved this book ( though I totally agree about the abrupt ending!). And I am SO IMPRESSED with the fact that she is so young and wrote so brilliantly and a book that lingered for me. I met her at BEA and she's super sweet and I was like HEY I AM LIKE A ZILLION YEARS OLDER THAN YOU AND YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!

    Glad you loved this one too! I know a lot of people struggled with hating the main characters but I found them interesting and memorable and loved the way they slowly were drawn going from 2 dimensional to completely real to me.