Review: Falling Into Place

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.

Ever since I started this blog, I feel like I’ve been reading more and more sad and depressing books. It started with “The Protected” by Claire Zorn. Then it was “Made You Up” by Francesca Zappia. In the last few days alone, I’ve reviewed two books dealing with suicide and mental illness. The next one in line, Falling Into Place is an extremely mature book, and it deals with heavy themes such as suicide and depression.

Depression is often described by psychologists as a “black hole”, where the person feels their emotions being sucked into it little by little until there is nothing left but sadness and misery making up the soul of the person. When family members of people with depression ask for advice, they are told that that they shouldn’t get in the hole with them. They just have to stay outside and throw the tools to the person so they can get themselves out.

Amy Zhang has written her book and done the exact opposite of what these psychologists tell us. She has created a black hole within her amazing novel and drawn the reader into it, spreading the sadness and grief. She has a very unique style of writing, which I believe she has completely developed. This is amazing at the age of 18. Most writers don’t find their writing style until they have written and written and written for years and years and years.

Falling Into Place is a very deep book, and it really makes you think about where you’re headed with your life, what you want to do with your life and how your actions affect others. Zhang’s book really emphasises the ripple effect, the concept of how every little thing you do can affect people in monumental ways. In fact, this is the driving point of the novel, when Liz realises how many people’s lives she has ruined, with a word here or a photo there. This is what drives her to drive her Mercedes into a tree.

The book is written in flashbacks, from the hospital room to 5 years before (the crash), to 45 minutes before, to the hospital room to 52 minutes before. They are apparently random, with no chronological order, but each one leaps to a memory that gets progressively darker than the one before, until you end up with really depressing memories. The decline from the happy girl who loves life to the still-happy-on-the-outside-but-hates-herself-on-the-inside girl in the end is really quite sad, and the progressive way Zhang has slowly eased the reader into the depression is so slow at first, you don’t really see it until you lie in your own pool of tears.

The narrator was a really interesting part of the book. Who the narrator is isn’t revealed until Chapter 77, near the end of the book, but I had suspicions all the way through, and I turned out to be correct. It was a really unique character, and it really set the book apr from the other books I had read before dealing with suicide.

Falling Into Place was an extremely interesting, yet sad book dealing with mature themes. Written by a phenomenally mature author with experience far beyond her years, it will reveal suicide to you in a whole difference way.

Rating:  9/10

Falling Into Place is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.

The Info:

  • Title: Falling Into Place
  • Author: Amy Zhang
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062295047
  • URL: Amazon, Goodreads

4 thoughts on “Review: Falling Into Place

  1. Pingback: Annoying Characters, But Great Writing… I’m So Torn! – The Galaxial Word

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