Book Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

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.

WOW-FallingIntoPlace-AmyZhang-01

That awkward moment when a high schooler writes an awesome novel better than a lot of “professional” authors can write.

“She wished to be happy, and fell asleep with an entire sky above her.”

This story is truly inspiring and interesting because we get to see the characters grow and really learn from their past mistakes. The book is written from a very unique perspective which I was certainly not expecting…

“She is human and bound by the same laws of nature—gravity, in particular—as everyone else. Try as she might, she will never grow wings.”

 It’s told in the same way that The Book Thief is, which is something I really enjoyed because of how in-depth it can get.

My favorite thing is that these girls are are bullies and the main character realizes that…

“Liz looked back and counted the bodies, all those lives she had ruined simply by existing. So she chose to stop existing.”

It is so nice to watch her progress as she truly understands what she has done in the past. Too often we get a story told from the victim’s perspective (not at all bad!) but we never get to see the remorse that can be felt upon seeing their actions because, yes, some bullies regret what they do. Zhang offers great insight with the words she uses…

“They were catalysts, the fingers that tipped the first domino. They started things that grew into nothing things that were much greater than themselves. A touch, a nudge in the wrong direction, and everyone fell down.”

At the same time, it is nice to get a victim’s perspective (Liam) and why he can easily grant forgiveness, even before the suicide mission. By writing the story from this different perspective we as readers get the whole story rather than parts.

While Liz’s answer is not the right one (and an extreme one) it’s truly inspiring to see what has happened both previously and presently. Seeing those actions then seeing that guilt really puts into perspective the whole of bullying and that some people just don’t know how to be in today’s society. While again, bullying nor suicide, are never necessary, the fact that lessons can be learned even from these events must be taken into account. Everyone can change with the proper help.

“I wish second chances were real.”

Overall, this book is quick but packs a powerful punch on the topics of bullying, suicide, and remorse, as well teaches an important lesson about forgiveness. A must read for readers of any age.

5stars

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