Falling into Place
by Amy Zhang
Inertia, force, mass, gravity, velocity, acceleration… cause and effect.
Liz Emerson doesn’t understand any of it.
But I do.
I understand how we fall. Where we fall. Why we fall.
I understand her sadness and loneliness and silence, her shattered heart.
It doesn’t have to be this way, does it?
It wasn’t always this way, was it?
Stay alive, Liz Emerson, stay alive.
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.
“Falling into Place” by Amy Zhang is not a happy read in any way, shape or form. Liz Emerson crashes her car in attempt to commit suicide and the story that follows explores why and what has led her to be in this situation. Tackling topics such as abortion, bulimia, bulling and suicide, this book certainly isn’t going to be putting any smiles on your face.
“Because Liz Emerson held so much darkness within her that closing her eyes didn’t make much of a difference at all.”
So while I feel bad negatively reviewing a book on such a difficult subject, I just couldn’t get on with this one.
Liz is not likeable at all, she’s evil, she’s mean and she thinks she’s better than everyone else. I know that this is kind of the point and we’re supposed to hate her, but it really made it hard to feel for her or understand her motives. Through her time at school, she’s destroyed the lives of so many, yet she never seems to learn from her mistakes, never seems to want to change and in general doesn’t seem like a very nice person.
Liz’s friends aren’t great either and are also facing problems of their own, from drug dealing to unwanted pregnancies. These characters combined with a fair number of cliches splattered throughout meant the story felt quite unrealistic at times and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when turning the pages.
All that said, I’m impressed to hear that the author was still a teenager when this book was published, especially as it tackles some difficult subjects. This is not an awful book in any way and is well written for the most part, it was more the leading lady who ruined this for me personally.
“Some people die because the world does not deserve them. Liz Emerson on the other hand, did not deserve the world.”
Overall rating: “Falling into Place” is a sad story which tackles some difficult subjects, from bullying to drug use to suicide. It’s certainly not a happy read and is quite emotional at times. Unfortunately this book wasn’t for me, I couldn’t connect with the main character and this seriously affected how I felt about the whole thing – 1 star.