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Falling into Place

Falling into Place 4

by Amy Zhang
Publication Date: 01/09/2014
5/5 Rating 4 Reviews

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One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. This haunting and heartbreaking story is told by a surprising and unexpected narrator and unfolds in nonlinear flashbacks even as Liz's friends, foes, and family gather at the hospital and Liz clings to life. "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 narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High's most popular junior girl. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to love someone? To be a friend? 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 and Jay Asher.
General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Publication Date:
HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):

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Based on 4 reviews

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4 Reviews

Falling Into Place is a beautifully written debut Young Adult novel perfect for readers who enjoyed books like If I Stay, Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Falling Into Place is a nonlinear novel that switches from the past to present to explore the reasons behind Liz Emerson's actions. Through flashbacks, the reader finds out more about Liz's past and her relationships with her family and friends. It also deals with the cause and effect of her actions and how what she did had the ability to reverberate in another person's life. I'm a fan of nonlinear storytelling anyway but I thought it was an extremely effective way of telling the story and I was engaged throughout. The novel deals with a lot of serious social and emotional issues, and though it feels like an after-school special at times they're handled effectively in a short number of pages. While Falling Into Place deals with family, friendship, loss, bullying, and pregnancy, among other things, it's main focus is on the impact we can have on other people. The novel's protagonist, Liz Emerson, consequently had a huge impact on other people - for both the good and bad.

In general, the characters are complex and well-developed. I appreciated how there was often a focus on some of the side characters, such as Liz's mother, best friends and crush, though I would have liked to have learned more about them. I really struggled to like Liz. In a lot of ways, she firmly fits the mould of the "mean girl". I couldn't understand a lot of her actions, particularly when she was cruel to her peers. However, as the novel progressed I did gain more of an understanding of her character and I was still rooting for her to be alright so her life could change for the better.

One of my favourite things about the book was its narrator. The voice behind Liz's story is unique and a complete mystery until the end of the book. I was so surprised when I found out who the narrator was, but it led me to appreciate the book even more. Its the kind of thing that already makes me want to read it again.

The ending is quite abrupt and open-ended but I like it. It's just enough to satisfy me, while still allowing the reader to imagine an ending for Liz and the other characters for themselves.

The writing style is lyrical, with a beautiful flow to it. It's a quick, emotional and thought-provoking read. Falling Into Place is a well-done debut by a young author and I'd highly recommend it for fans of Gayle Forman, John Green, Lauren Oliver, Jay Asher, and co.

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This is the first book I've read in a long time that has had a genuinely strong emotional effect on me.

I was right there with Liz on her journey.

One of my favourite aspects of 'Falling into Place' is how well Amy Zhang deals with issues of depression and isolation in adolescence; a very raw, heartbreaking and honest book.

More than anything else,'Falling into Place' is a beautifully written, universally human story that is sure to stay with its readers long after they've turned the final page (... it's personally going onto my favourite bookshelf!)

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*Shortly Before Reading Falling into Place*

Nara doesn't understand how her life will be changed by a book. A simple, yet exquisite book. She doesn't realise that Falling into Place is going to one of the most incredible debuts she has ever read. She doesn't know that she's about to question every other debut she has read, because this book is just. That. Good.

*Shortly After Reading Falling into Place*
Nara wonders how she will ever read another contemporary again without comparing it to the beauty of Falling into Place. She remembers the stunning prose, and the rather unconventional narrator, and realises this is one of the most unique books she has ever read.

*Some Time After Reading Falling into Place*
Nara wonders how she might describe this book to someone else.

A book about depression?
A book about drug addiction?
A book about eating disorders?
A book about bullying?
A book about love?
A book about friendship?
A book about normal, everyday teenage life?

Nara realises that this book tackles every cliched teen problem one can think of- and portrays them in the least cliched, most beautiful way possible.

Nara realises that Falling into Place has most definitely launched Amy Zhang firmly into her list of authors to watch out for in the future. She urges anyone who wants to read an honest contemporary about the most realistic of issues to give it a go.

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