Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Publisher: Harper 360
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: October 9th, 2014
"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?
Falling Into Place is by no means a nice book to read. It isn't fluffy or fun, but it is honest and raw. It has succeeded in living up to my expectations, which I'm very glad about, and I love its non-linear structure that leads up to the day high school student Liz Emerson calculatedly drives her car into the path of a tree.
Told in flashbacks and the present day, Falling Into Place is the story of one girl's internal struggle and subsequent fall. I started off not liking Liz very much at all, but I gradually understood her more and really became invested in her life. Her decision isn't one I would personally ever make, but I can understand her motive and the thoughts and feelings behind it. The flashback scenes show her life before the accident, with the present day at her hospital bed interspersed throughout. The flashbacks serve as a countdown to the day she ends her life, and it's fascinating to see everything unfold the way it does.
Amy Zhang's writing style grabbed me immediately; I can't think of many YA books written this way, and I appreciated the change of pace. There's a sense of foreboding reading this novel, because obviously the reader knows what's coming and yet we're powerless to stop it. Liz is destined to meet her fate, but it's how she gets there and what happens after that makes her story so unforgettable.
Falling Into Place is an enthralling look at high school life and the pressures teenagers endure. It's about living the best life you can, addressing flaws and realising that we all possess the ability to change ourselves for the better. It's worth reading for the narrative structure alone, and fans of Before I Fall and If I Stay should definitely give it a whirl. Amy Zhang is a formidable new voice in YA fiction and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us.