Book Reviews

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang | Book Review

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang.

My copy: Greenwillow Books (Harper Collins Publishers), September 2014. ARC, 304 pages.

Source: Won in a giveaway. Thank you, Epic Reads!



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.

Happy release day/book birthday to Falling into Place! The lovely people at EpicReads selected me as a winner of an ARC of Amy Zhang’s debut novel. Falling into Place is a contemporary story about how the attempted suicide of one girl affects everyone around her.

Amy Zhang’s writing is gorgeous: so lyrical, so descriptive. It’s easy to read but her sentences are crafted thoughtfully. She structured this book into short chapters that jump from present to past and from character to character. It was a little messy in my opinion, but it kept things moving without getting too dull.

I couldn’t really attach myself to any of the characters, though. Everyone felt like a cliche and almost everyone was a horrible person in how they treated other people. I couldn’t very well distinguish between Liz’s two best friends, Kennie and Julia. And Liz… She could have been a very interesting character, but she never chose the right actions, even when she was literally debating doing the right thing. The fact that she defaulted to being a bully or just not saying anything made me dislike her. In summary, I would never want to be friends with any of the people in this story.

The blurb on the back of the book states that the book is told from an unexpected narrator. After getting just a few chapters in, I had figured out who the narrator was. I liked how unique the choice was and think it worked well with (potential SPOILER) the whole notion of people growing up and changing without realizing it. (End of Spoiler.)

Falling into Place was a good read. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it wasn’t about a topic I particularly am interested in. I find it hard to relate to characters in contemporary books and don’t always like immersing myself in stories that happen in real life all the time. However, that’s just me. I get burnt out on contemporaries very easily, but I know plenty of people just adore them. I liked Falling into Place but it was not my favorite novel in this genre I’ve ever read. I can appreciate it and do recommend it to those readers out there who love these sort of books about conflicted characters and heavier subject material. Amy Zhang has written a very nice debut, and for one so young I am confident she will continue growing as a storyteller. ♦

Have you read Falling into Place?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a book with writing you absolutely loved and thought gorgeous?
Comment below letting me know!

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2 thoughts on “Falling into Place by Amy Zhang | Book Review

  1. I understand exactly what you mean. Iny my opinion it is much easier to immerse yourself in fantasy. At least it is for me. But in general as long as I find a story interesting that is enough to hold my attention because I want to know what happens next! Lol


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