Book Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into PlaceTitle: Falling into Place

Author: Amy Zhang

Publication date: September 9, 2014

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Pages: 304

Source: Review copy from publisher (Thank you, Harper Collins UK!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store


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.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Contemporary YA + Newton’s Laws of Motion = YES PLEASE! Physics was one of the subjects that I loved in high school. I wasn’t very good at it but it was a study that challenged my critical thinking and it fascinated me a lot. Falling into Place brought me back to senior year, truly a strong force that set my mind in throwback motion.

Falling into Place spotlights a troubled teen’s disconcerted state of mind. Poignant and reflective, the book follows the story of popular girl, Liz Emerson, through a puzzle-like sequence of events. Each chapter is a puzzle piece in the protagonist’s life recounting the episodes that took place before, during, and after Liz’s tragedy. What I like about Falling into Place is that the story didn’t center on Liz alone. It also expounded on the people around her. Consequently, the story procured a deep-seated intensity that came from the individuals whose lives Liz affected. Showing how Liz shaped those lives into what they have become provides readers a powerful insight into the causes that led to the effect, which is Liz’s attempted suicide. In the book’s entirety, the enigmatic narrator is the element that stood out to me. It possesses a mysterious semblance and a voice that resounds on every corner of the heart, making it an exceptionally compelling character.

Gifted with a graceful flow of thoughts, author Amy Zhang magnifies the power of words through knitting heart-wrenching emotions that blow readers away with a piercing impact. The author’s writing is very impressive. Her sharp and profound prose will haunt you in a way that is too beautiful to forget.

Falling into Place may not be a book for everyone with its catastrophic and depressing nature. However, I still recommend it because the story is a wake-up call for us to be aware that there might be people going through dark times right now and who need our help. Maybe one of those people is someone dear to us. This story illuminates the essence of asking for help when life gets tough. There are times we feel alone in this world. But the truth is, we are not. There’s always a helping hand out there. All we have to do is ask.

A stunning and emotionally gripping debut, Falling into Place is a novel charged with hope that things, no matter how terrible they are, will be better for someone whose world is falling apart.


4/5 stars


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