Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Title: Falling Into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Publication: September 9th 2014, Greenwillow Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Own copy from NBS
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


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.

Misfit Review:

My plan was to review this book as soon as I finished it... But it almost took a few days before I can actually say what I thought about it here, right now... Falling Into Place ruined me. Ruined and unraveled something in me and I can't even tell if it's good or bad.

The story is about Liz Emerson and how her almost perfect life was shattered into pieces when she decided to kill herself in a car accident. Liz seems incredibly fine with it. She had it all planned out but of course she still thought that something, someone could stop her from doing it but still, she did. We are then taken into her thoughts, her best friends' Kennie and Julia's and that one boy, Liam  whom she tormented and the narrator who seems to know everything going around in her life while Liz is in a coma in the ICU.

What struck me most about how the story was handled is the nonlinear direction of the plot line which reminded me very much of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. If you have read the book, you can see that the chapter titles are mostly about a certain day or time before or after Liz Emerson crashed her car and they don't actually go on chronological order. In those certain time frames, we see more of Liz as she drops off her mask of happiness and perfection and we are introduced to a totally different person.


Liz, by far, has become one of my most favorite intriguing characters. Even now as I have finished the book, I am still intrigued as to why she had to do the things she did aside from crashing her car that is. There's just something so fascinating about her. Her honesty, raw emotions and frustrations somehow leads the reader into feeling entirely sorry for her though you wouldn't exactly think that with how she is in her background. Liz, as I have analyzed, is the image of every young girl who has stooped into the level of letting peer pressure get to her. Her nonchalant character may seem all that but in fact she worries and thinks of the things she did, how these actions hurt people and even labeling herself as the cancer; the tumor that eats up and ruins everyone, thus leading for her to think of ending herself.


And then there's her friends Kennie and Julia who are as broken as Liz. Fortunately for them, their guilt and insecurities haven't eaten them up yet, but indeed slowly. Out of the two of them, I felt for Kennie. Julia was a little bit more rational even with her actions and didn't seem as entirely vulnerable as Kennie but she seems to be the most caring. Kennie on the other hand is far more emotional, scared and insecure and would drown herself to the idea that she is popular if she acts the way people expect her to act. But there was a certain scene in the hospital that made me feel bad for Kennie and I cried for her as much as I cried for Liz.

Which brings me to this realization, true to Beyonce's song, Pretty Hurts, that even the most beautiful, the most popular of people can go through certain moments in their lives where they've had enough and could not take anymore of the pressure, pain, misunderstanding and maybe even the lost of appeal of the world. We have objectified the popular kids and thought that they never get hurt or they never ever feel the burden of what they've done. We've always rooted for the underdogs and the misfits, but Amy Zhang opens up a door, so rarely opened, into the world of the highest of the high and see them slowly go down.


The novel is fresh, smart, heart aching and in many ways relatable to the young teens of this generation holding on to the talons of drugs, sex, first world problems and the ever amazing social media.

The rise of young adult fiction revolving around the vulnerabilities of teens and their tendencies and acts of committing suicide is very much apparent, but Falling Into Place doesn't, in it's own grandeur, fall behind from any of them. It has it's charms to send you into a spree of depression, glee and maybe even hope.

About The Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Amy Zhang used to have lots of imaginary friends. When people told her to grow up, she turned her imaginary friends into characters and started telling their stories. When she isn't writing, she can be found playing piano, hitting balls on the tennis court, or struggling through her weekly existential crisis. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

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