September 16, 2014

Falling Into Place - Amy Zhang

Falling Into Place book cover
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks Harper Collins!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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? (from Goodreads)

"Quiet and introspective" - these are the first two things that I think when I reflect on Falling Into Place. Debut novelist Amy Zhang lays out the life of main character Liz Emerson in a set of puzzle pieces that vary in perspective and time, assembling them to reveal Liz as she truly is - feelings, desires, flaws and all. The unique approach to the story takes some time to adjust to, but once it clicked, it was pretty compelling.

Readers get an in-depth look at Liz's life, at what she's done or failed to do, at what she's gone through. But I never really felt a connection with Liz Emerson. This, my friends, is where the novel didn't quite work for me as well as I wanted it to. I was interested in her life in the way a casual observer who can't look away from a train wreck might be, but never really felt emotional ties to her story. And seriously, her life is really messed up! She's surrounded by people who are in situations that make her feel guilty and depressed, and she harbors so many regrets and is plagued constantly by what ifs. It wasn't always pleasant to read about her, but it was hard to look away too since readers will want to know why she chose to run her Mercedes off the road.

With a constantly shifting storytelling style, Falling Into Place might not necessarily work for every reader. For me, thanks to the fact I appreciate how it was told and how Newton's Laws of Motion wind up being integrated, I thought it was a pretty good debut novel from such a young author. 


  1. I also never felt an emotional connection to this story, but I still really liked the book overall - it's different from most other YA books.

    Very nice review! :)

  2. Cool cover, even though all those math equations raise my anxiety level a bit(horrible high school flashbacks, lol). And I always hate when I don't quite make that connection w/a character like I want to.

  3. Hmmm that's really hard! I struggle with books that have great concepts but you just can't connect emotionally to the characters. That's how I REALLY get into the good ones. All the feels! I definitely still want to read this one, but I'm glad that I have that heads up!


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