Title: Falling Into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
No. of Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult; Fiction
Origins: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: 9 September 2014
Bottom Line: There are not enough adjectives to describe how amazing this book is.
“‘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 did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? The 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.”
Thoughts: Falling Into Place is a novel that one must experience for oneself. To try to explain its intensity and its gut-wrenching drama is a task in futility. A reviewer just cannot do the story justice.
One can safely say that Falling Into Place is a novel that every parent of teenagers should read. Its depiction of teens crying out for help is downright terrifying. These cries for help are even scarier because they are nonverbal to the extreme. Asking for help to Liz and her friends is possibly the worst thing they could do, so they don’t. Instead, they let their behavior provide clues. The only caveat to this is that one must be paying attention to read those clues and see them for what they are rather than typical teenage rebellion.
Falling Into Place presents a fairly grim glimpse into high school dynamics and may frighten parents even more than Liz’s cry for help. For, it shows teens in all their self-absorbed, self-destructive, and mean glory. Liz and her friends may be at the upper echelon of the school, but the things they do to get there are simply horrifying. Yet, they are things that occur throughout high schools all over the world. There is a reason why people do not think upon their high school years very fondly, and Falling Into Place drives home that point.
Liz’s story is chilling, touching, terrifying, and heart-breaking all at the same time. Ms. Zhang’s unusual narrator choice gives special insight into everything that occurs, both past and present, and makes Liz’s transformation into the girl she is now that much more upsetting. Falling Into Place is a novel one can easily digest in one sitting, but the lessons to be learned require time to digest. As such, it is a novel worth savoring and time spent reflecting. Because it is such a powerful story, to do so is anything but a hardship.