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Falling into Place

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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.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published September 9, 2014

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Amy Zhang

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,513 reviews
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,005 reviews1,049 followers
December 18, 2015


And some books leave you swimming in your own tears. This book falls under the latter.



For the record, this is the first book ever that put me in tears from start to finish. My nose has turned ugly red from excessive blowing and wiping.



This is one heck of a sad and heartbreaking story. Nobody told me Newton’s laws of motion would make you bawl out other than the reason that it’s hard enough to understand.


But the author managed to torture me further with those Physics Equations. Believe it or not, the general theme of the story is premised on several Newton’s laws of motions. Force is equal to mass times acceleration (F=ma).

Liz Emerson is a strong force. She is popular, rich, and beautiful and can make anything happen. She can make anyone believe what she says. She has “mass”, she has “acceleration”. She does mean things to people and has become uncontrollable. She is a force veered to the wrong direction that resulted to destruction of everyone around her.

She however belatedly realizes (or so she thought) that her effect to people especially to those she loves is catastrophic. It must be noted that she wasn’t always the negative force that she is. She waited for Newton’s Third Law of Motion to take its effect on her. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction or more easily understood as “karma.” For every bad thing she's done, she waited for punishment but it never came and so she decides to take matters into her own hands.

”She hated what she was and didn’t know how to change…she didn’t have enough force to stop the world from turning. But she had enough to stop her own.”

The underlying themes about suicide and bullying, the MC’s pattern and even the POV remind me so much of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall as the story is told in a very curious POV (which I would like for you to discover for yourself). The narrator recounts the life of Liz and we discover that the rich and the popular don’t really have the perfect lives that many of us assume.

Was Liz a victim of bullying? Definitely not. She was in fact the instigator of pranks, of bad gossips about people whose lives turned upside down very tragically because of her actions. She wanted to stop, she wanted to do something about it but she doesn’t know how and so deep inside, Liz suffers severely for everything she’s done. In secret, she cries a lot, she has become utterly depressed but no one seems to notice what’s going on inside her.



In retrospect, Newton’s Third Law applies to her after all.

“She didn’t think that she deserved to share a planet with seven billion people who were immeasurably better than she was.”

The flow of events is rather sporadic in a perfect kind of way which matches the raw, direct but beautiful kind of writing. I was deeply moved by the sincerity and truthfulness of the subjects tackled in the story and then I was so completely dumbfounded after reading the book because I found out that Amy Zhang is a high school student. OMG! She should be acknowledged by Guinness World Records or something!

But again, the question remains- What fate awaits Liz Emerson? I recommend for you to find out by reading the book. ^^
Profile Image for Maureen.
484 reviews4,218 followers
June 15, 2016
TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE, DEPRESSION, & BULLYING
Even though that was an audiobook, I sped through pretty fast.
This is heartbreakingly beautiful and so well written. It's kind of like an If I Stay without the out of body experience, and I enjoyed it SO MUCH MORE than that.
Liz Emerson is your typical mean girl, but there's so much more going on behind that facade. I normally can't stand books that feature mean girls, but this one was so different to me.
This deals with suicide and depression in a totally different way than I've seen them dealt with, and it was so much more heartbreaking and hard to read about - but that's what made it great.
I liked how much the plot jumped around, but I'm not sure everyone would. I also really liked the narration style and the narrator, but I'm not sure everyone would.
All in all, I really liked this book and would definitely recommend it!
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,359 followers
November 3, 2014
I was so torn on rating this one. While I truly enjoyed the writing and the depth of the story itself is incredible, I really did not like the main character. I realize she is a character we're not supposed to like, per se. She's not likeable, period. But contrary to many books I've read with unlikeable characters (Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are come to mind), I never got to the point where I "got" her despite it all. She never learned, she never wanted to change, it was like she figured she was going to kill herself anyways so why bother being a better person.

So this was my only issue, but it was a big one. I could not get myself to be sad about a bully who's depressed because she's terrible, yet she KEEPS DOING terrible things!! She did not have redeemable qualities. I can feel sympathy for someone who makes mistakes that comes with emotional consequences from which they learn, but she was really like someone who cries after poking themselves in the eye, and yet KEEP POKING. Over and over. So, yes, her story is undoubtedly sad, but I felt like she didn't deserve my sympathy. Maybe I'm just cold, maybe I just have an unbendable intolerance towards bullies, but it is what it is. I'm not saying she deserves to die, I'm not evil, just that I couldn't bring myself to be sad about this inner turmoil she was fighting. This definitely affected how emotionally invested I was in her story. Mostly I was curious about what brought her to this situation, and if she would survive or not, which is what kept me captivated. Kind of like a train wreck you can't help but stare at, you know.

With that said, the story is one that makes you feel as if you're just about to topple. You don't know which side, yet, but something is bound to happen at any moment. This is mostly due to the way in which it's told, using a back and forth timeline that brings us closer and closer to its peak moment. The moment she tries to kill herself. From these flashbacks, you get to know the characters around her - her friends, her schoolmates, her family life/absentee mother - and see the social power she had over people. You see how people deal with grief, with impending loss and uncertainty. It was a powerfully emotional novel in that sense. I came to care a the most about Liam who, in my opinion, deserves so much more than a person like Liz. But I do like that he was willing to see through her bully armour and glimpse at the person she could be.

My first instinct was a 4-star, so that's what I gave it; it really IS a great book with a lot to offer, but the main character sure made it hard to completely love it. Also, no matter how mean a person is, depression is still a very real and very frightening illness, and I applaud this book for this raw, honest look at such a serious topic.

--
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
August 5, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

This debut novel came highly recommended by like, everyone, so of course I snatched it up from Edelweiss when I saw that Harper had uploaded it, months ago. It's contemporary, and "tough-issue" contemporary at that, but the synopsis intrigued me. A book that is told in three stages - before, during, and after the car crash? That's different. I've never read any of Forman or Asher's books, and I hated any Oliver books I've read, so I didn't really have high expectations for this one.

Liz Emerson gives up on living, and decides to plan her suicide. She will crash her car, far away so no one will find her, in the afternoon/evening, in an "accident" that will look like an accident, but it's really a carefully planned suicide. But what went wrong? Why did Liz want to kill herself?

Obviously I didn't like this book. But one of the redeeming qualities I found was the writing style of this book. More like, the structure of the book? Or perhaps both. Zhang's writing is very clear, very smooth, not quite lyrical, but somewhat poetic. I enjoyed READING this book, even if I didn't enjoy what I was reading.

The structure is kind of cool. It flips between during the car crash (what Liz is thinking as she is about to crash her car), before the crash (how everything spiraled out of control), and after the crash (at the hospital, at school, etc.). I know it might seem random and broke-up and weird, how Zhang does this, but really, it's genius. Zhang places every scene, every chapter, ever "before/after" with purpose. This is really well-done!

Now, read on, to see what makes me of the unpopular opinion.

What I Did Not Like:

First, I don't usually like "tough-issue" contemporary novels. I've enjoyed a few, like Patty Blount's books. But for the most part, key things about these books piss me off. Usually, it's the heroine, or the bulls*** that the heroine does or makes up or suffers in her mind. Usually, it's all in her head. And it's such bulls***.

In this book... well, I'll just go ahead and say it: I HATED Liz Emerson. I HATE girls like her. Liz Emerson ruined the lives of basically her entire school. She humiliated the one boy who actually liked her, by turning the whole school on him, and turning him into a joke. Who the f*** should get away with ruining a boy's life, having everyone starts rumors that he's gay, or weird, or mentally unstable, or perverted. She caused a girl to not go to college, and to work at a crappy store or restaurant (yup, this is no joke). She got one best friend addicted to weed (or is it crack?), and didn't defend another as boys took that friend upstairs at parties. And boy, there is so much more.

What. An. Awful. Person. I don't forgive Liz for anything she did, for any of the pain that she caused. People like her deserve everything that they did right back in their face, in my opinion. I know that's not great to say... but what she did to others was beyond CRUEL. There is no adjective for her actions, her decisions, her apathy. It's so unbelievable infuriating ESPECIALLY when she KNEW she was doing the wrong thing, making the wrong choices, ruining someone else's life, but she kept. On. Doing. It.

I can't forgive people like that. I can't LIKE people like that. Call me heartless, call me soulless, but I will NEVER, EVER defend someone like that, forgive someone like that, be buddy-buddy with someone like that.

No one "contributed" to her suicide, like SHE contributed to other people's suicides or ruination. She directly and indirectly ruined other people's lives, but no one directly or indirectly ruined hers. No, she did that all by herself. She ruined her life by making s***ty decisions and dragging everyone down with her. She had SO MANY CHANCES to stop, so many chances to remember her humanity, so many chances to stop doing the wrong thing... but she never did. It's like she half-hated what she was doing, half-reveled in it. B**** DOES NOT EVEN COVER WHAT I THINK OF HER.

Honestly, girls like these, I don't say anything to, and I don't interact with. Because as soon as someone else lashes back, the girl contemplates suicide, or harassment, or shuts down. You have to be strong and withstand all of her harassment and the humiliation, but as soon as she feels some, she crumbles and everyone must feel sorry for her. This ISN'T what happens to Liz - she crumbles under self BECAUSE of herself and her decisions, but this is just an observation of mine.

I said something on Twitter about cruel people in general - cruel people aren't ever "sorry" or "regretful" of what they do to others until others are physically hurt, on the outside. The thing is, Liz wasn't even sorry then. She wasn't sorry when she ruined the reputations of others, the credibility of others... or when a girl got hooked on drugs, another committed suicide, etc. She never stood up for anyone (except that ONE time, and OMG, Liz is a hero now).

I hate Liz. I hate the "romance" (there is none, the attempt at it was atrocious). I hated the supporting characters. I hated the ending. Oh my gosh. I hated the ending so much. Literally the worst ending ever. And the "mystery" of the narrator? So obvious. I knew from the start. UGHHH, SO MUCH PENT-UP RAGE!

(I'm writing this review days after reading the book. I thought I would be less angry at the book, but I'm not.)

Would I Recommend It:

No. No no no no no no. I know a lot of people are super excited to read this book, and a lot of reviews are super positive, and I'm probably going to get bashed because OMG YOU DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR A GIRL WHO TRIED TO COMMIT SUICIDE?!

*narrows eyes*

Rating:

1 star. That 1 star comes from the great writing style and the structure of the story, Amy Zhang's got talent, I must say that. But this book... it really hit a nerve. I feel disgusting, just thinking about it, sadly.
Profile Image for Jaidee .
561 reviews1,024 followers
Read
September 13, 2020
I am not going to rate this book as Ms. Zhang was only in her mid teens when this was published !!!

Warm congratulations on this remarkable feat. It is clear from reading this book that Ms. Zhang is highly creative, intelligent and has the potential to be a wonderful writer. The question I have is will Ms. Zhang be content to churn out adequate chick-lit or YA (where she will likely earn more money) or strive towards becoming an award winning literary author. Selfishly I hope for the latter !

Already she has more talent than many of our current women's fiction and YA writers. I think, however, with much more practice and wise guidance that she could create literature that would stand the test of time.

I will be honest with you Ms. Zhang as much as I see how talented and clever you are I did not like or enjoy this novel. You have many fans so don't let that upset you too much! Who cares what I think anyway for you are a published well selling author in your late teens and I am just an old forty something year old man who loves to read (I mean loves to read !!!)

As a reader these are the pointers I would give you regarding this book:

1. Turn down those violins. They are way too loud all of the time. You take an excellent and important story and then bombard us with so much melodrama and tears that the impact of bullying and teen suicide is completely obliterated by too much....just too much !!

2. You are immensely clever. Use it in measured doses. When I read something clever on every third page I become bored, irritated and it becomes like a puppy that does the same trick over and over. Cute until you want to throw the puppy out the window (kidding about the last part )

3. Spend more time on your characters. These ones are just outlines (likely of people you know). They are two dimensional. Work with them. Breathe into them.

Hurrah Ms. Zhang I look forward to following your career and see in which directions you go. I look forward to reading a book by you when you hit your mid-twenties.

Ciao for now.
Profile Image for Tiff.
568 reviews539 followers
September 15, 2014
Review originally posted at Mostly YA Lit

So many publishers and bloggers recommended this one that it was at the top of my BEA list - and I'm so grateful that I've read it.



You've probably heard the premise by now. Liz Emerson is a queen bee at her high school, the kind of popular Mean Girl that you have legitimate reason to hate because she destroys lives, her own included. The book starts with Liz's attempt to commit suicide. What happens before, during, and after is told in fragmented pieces throughout the book.



The narrator of the book is an onlooker, someone who has followed Liz's life for a long time. I think the identity of the narrator is supposed to be a bit of a twist, but honestly, it's not much of one - and it doesn't need to be. Whether you guess who the narrator is or not is not the point. What's interesting about the narrator is the voice and insight he/she gives to Liz's story.



This is a book written by an author who is wise beyond her years. I am completely floored that author Amy Zhang just graduated high school, and wrote this novel in high school. I'm even more impressed that the writing is not only honest and poignant, but also quite literary. The form of the novel follows the themes perfectly. The starkness of her writing strips all of her characters bare, down to their most secretive, knowing places, in bald contrast to the very public nature of Liz herself.



Because while Liz is your typical Mean Girl who drinks and makes out with lots of boys and is truly nasty, she's also a desperately lonely person. I know a lot of bloggers said they couldn't connect with her right away. She's not the kind of person you feel sorry for. She pretty much defines the Me Generation. She certainly doesn't have the nerdy life that I had in high school. And yet, the more you get to know her, the more you see her as a girl with so much potential and heart. Everything that has happened in her life has led her to this.



I feel like I'm spouting cliches here. But this book moved me and surprised me. I expected it to be very dark and depressing...and at certain points, it was. But with every moment of darkness, there was another fragment that gave us more of a clue to Liz's character, and those pieces were fascinating to behold. The mystery of her character is what compelled me to keep reading.



Falling into Place is, at its heart, a character study of a deeply depressed and lonely person. But Zhang takes it up a notch and builds in very strong, layered secondary characters, especially in best friends Julia and Kennie. They are so much a part of who Liz is and what she became. What's even more fascinating, though, is how people around her who didn't know her that well also added to Liz's character. The guy who called the ambulance. The kids who are playing cards at the hospital waiting to hear her diagnosis. The teens she bullied. Liz is not just the sum of her own parts, but what she's touched and influenced throughout the years, and we see, again and again, how little ripples can change and shape a person.




Bonuses:



Physics: Can I just applaud Zhang for using physics in such a clever and distinct way? I don't think I've ever seen a science thread written like this before, and it's quite brilliant. It's not going to make you say "Wow, science!", but it will, like the rest of the book, make you contemplate your own actions.




Stunning Writing: I mentioned already that this is a very literary book, but I couldn't finish this review without adding in a quote or two, because the writing is just beautiful:



"When she threw her head back, she could see the sky bending away from her, and it seemed closer than usual. As though if she tried, she could snag a star on her fingernail, but she didn't move."



"It struck him that perhaps she thought just as many thoughts in a minute as he did, felt just as many emotions, inhaled and exhaled just as he did. And it was then that he began to fall in love with her for the second time, for the same reason that he had picked up his flute again: because he believed in broken things."




The Final Word


Falling Into Place is a book to read when you need to look at life as clearly as possible. I didn't cry at this book. Maybe you will. I was too busy thinking and processing and trying to figure out how to hold on to both the feeling I got while reading, and the feeling that I can be better, stronger, and kinder, with my own life.
Profile Image for Hari ~Brekker-Maresh~.
295 reviews264 followers
March 6, 2016
Falling Into Place

I'm all tears, gimme a second. Until then:

Before people start complaining that suicide is downright selfish:

“Liz never thought she was better than anyone. She thought she was so much worse that in three days, she would drive her car off the road because she didn’t think that she deserved to share a planet with seven billion people who were immeasurably better than she was.”


Kay? Now that we got THAT cleared up... Let's start backwards?

THAT ENDING!! I won't say much about it, but it is absolutely... Absolute. That's it. Won't reveal anything else. But it's brilliant and I'm in tears. (I'll be using that statement a lot, just warning ya)

I've never read anything else by Amy Zhang? But now I kinda want to. The WRITING is intense. Warning: the unusual use of present tense in fiction brings this immediate stress and leaves you at the edge. You know it's gonna drop you down down down, but you can't do anything about it. Cuz guess what? Amy Zhang got you hooked like a damn parasite. And she knows it, too.

The book starts out like this:

We're all familiar with this. It's in the description. We were expecting this.

“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.”

(Actually that's a tiny lie. It starts with the statements of the three laws of motion. Yah physics!)

What we weren't expecting is the narrator. Or no... We were warned that it was a surprising narrator. I'm gonna leak it a bit. It's first person. First. Person. I. Liz is she. Agh. Amy Zhang, why do you do this to me? I won't tell you who that "I" is, but it's gonna blow your mind, even if you were sorta expecting it.

I cried. I cried a lot and I hugged my teddy bear and I told my (apathetic) mom and I told my sister and I bawled and hyperventilated a bit and fell in love with LIAM (isn't that a name you'd just fall in love with?! Or maybe I like One Direction too much.... Not sure...) and damn just stop everything you're doing and read this PLEASE. Such an eye-opener and so so so good. I've never read anything like this, not really.

Definitely 5 stars, definitely a new favorite. OMG, really.
Profile Image for Jillian .
425 reviews1,763 followers
September 9, 2014
This is a NON-SPOILER REVIEW, so you're safe to read!

Inital Reaction after finishing: I'm sitting here puffy-eyed and in awe. One of the most beautiful, subtle, effortless books that I have ever, ever read. Full review to come closer to release.



Falling Into Place is about a young girl who drives her mercedes off a bridge...on purpose. This is her story about why. It's told from multiple perspectives in non linear form, but there is a mystery narrator thrown into the mix as well! Amy Zhang is a crazy talented writer. She wrote this book while in high school. I'm in awe that this is her debut and I look forward to everything and anything else she writes.

Characters: ★★★★★
There are many characters in this book, and it's such an amazing feat by an author when she can fully develop each character, even the side characters. Liz Emerson is our MC who is such a complex character. At the surface, Liz is the popular mean girl. The cliche of YA, but as I delved deeper into Liz's thoughts she becomes more and more human and reminded me about how there's so much more to people, even the ones I tend to judge at face value (we all do it! c'mon). What I love about Amy Zhang's characters is that they are so unlikeable at times, but then they have these real human moments and you're reminded that this is what people are REALLY like. We are not always loveable and wonderful. We are flawed. We are human. We have problems. We are happy and sad. Laughing and crying. Amy Zhang delivers this exactly. I can't even tell you who is my favorite because I love all the characters equally for their story and their journey.

Plot: ★★★★.5
This plot is very similar to If I Stay but without the out of body experience. It's told in non linear format meaning it jumps back and forth in time from past to present. There is also a mystery narrator that I found so, so intriguing that it kept me so invested. As you read you think okay I'm going to find out about why this girl wants to kill herself? What's the big reason? And Zhang skillfully uses the characters and their experiences to connect the multitude of reasons why this girl is depressed.

Writing: ★★★★★
Amy Zhang's writing is so good. I'm just so envious and wish I could write like her! She has this subtle way of tugging at your emotions. Her writing is very honest, but not over wrought with emotion. So when that emotion hits you, it hits you hard. I have to tell you that I wasn't crying much at all, but I hit the last 1/3 of the book and I just burst into tears because the emotion was overwhelming. I have to say this is one the best books portraying depression. Depression is not just feeling sad. It's a complex disease and I feel like Zhang really showed the many dimensions of it through Liz's thoughts and actions.

Romance/Feels: ★★★★★
As you can tell, I really loved this book. It gave me the feels you guys and I really can't say more. So here's a gif:



Ending: ★★★★★
I adored it. It was perfect. I was wondering how Zhang would end it as I was reading, but when I got to the last page I had this sense of...



Overall Enjoyment: ★★★★★
Obviously, I LOVED IT.

Rereadability: HELL YES, i totally pre-ordered a physical copy of this!

Final Rating: 4.92 stars --- ★★★★★
I highly recommend you read this book if you love contemporary with a moving plot and deeper issues.



Profile Image for Thomas.
1,403 reviews8,130 followers
June 3, 2015
Mental illness does not discriminate. Men struggle with anorexia and binge eating disorder, women face Cluster A personality disorders, and people of color experience depression, amongst other mood-related sicknesses. Amy Zhang highlights the unfair ubiquity of suicide in her debut novel Falling into Place. Liz Emerson, our protagonist, bullies people, has bulimia, acts as a fierce friend, lost her father at a young age, and she tries to kill herself by running her Mercedes off the road. We get snapshots of Liz's life from flashbacks centered around her friends and family, ranging from her ice queen behavior to the brutal life she herself experienced.

I would give the concept of Falling into Place five stars if I could. Through Liz, Zhang crafts a compelling main character compact with complexity, and she shows Liz's mistakes, her suffering, and her decisions. With this story, Zhang portrays how we can never take people at face value: people's actions have deeper causes and more long-lasting effects than we might think, and perhaps considering those more entrenched motivations may help us in the long run. Zhang exposes us to a wide array of issues within Liz's friend group: merciless teasing, drugs, teen pregnancy, and more.

However, I felt an unfortunate distance from Liz and the other characters throughout this book. The choice of narrator, which I will not spoil, felt almost unnecessary: I would have loved to read this book in first person from Liz's perspective, or through the lens of another character. While Falling into Place touched my emotions, it did not grab hold of them as it could have, because the writing came across as too detached for the intense subject matter and Liz's personality. I would have also appreciated a little more specific detail about each of the characters, just to avoid their possible shift into stereotypical cutouts.

Overall, recommended to those who enjoy contemporary YA and have not tired of stories about suicide. Zhang, who has not yet turned 20, possesses natural talent as well as room for improvement, so I hope her prose continues to develop and flourish.
Profile Image for emma.
1,786 reviews43.1k followers
August 11, 2022
i felt nothin' but eh about this book when i first read it.

so imagine how i feel now, 6 years later.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago, in a sense
Profile Image for Zemira Warner.
1,569 reviews1,037 followers
October 14, 2015
Incredible! Absolutely incredible! I am sure Falling into Place will be huge after the release date. I will be ordering it for myself because there's no way I'm going to pass the opportunity to put this among other all time favorite titles on my shelf.

This book was so complex and yet simple are the same time. It deals with a lot of topics teenagers and older crowd can identify with-bullying, loneliness, depression, suicide, teen pregnancies, cheating and addiction. I don't think I left out anything out. If you liked Before I Fall, If I Stay and Thirteen Reasons Why I'm sure you'll like Falling into Place as well.

Since I love torturing myself I had to read this book. I rarely miss a chance to read about someone trying to kill himself. A bit morbid, but that's me! I also had to find out who the 'unexpected and surprising narrator' was. I had a theory which quickly turned out to be wrong. In the end, I was pleased with the answer.

Liz Emerson's a popular girl who does whatever she wants. She doesn't care about hurting others and enjoys humiliating other, less popular students. Everything is perfect at first glance but once she goes home she's all alone. Her mother is always away, working and her dad died while she was a little kid. She has two close friends but she never reveals her struggle with depression to them. She has a boyfriend but he cheats all the time. Then there's Liam, a guy she humiliated just because she could. Liz is horrible and yet, even she has redeemable qualities.

I loved the mysterious narrator. His voice was so distinctive, soothing, and pleasant. He was trying to get through to Liz so she could see things in a different light. That alone guaranties a mind-blowing experience.

Liam's character was also great. He saw Liz for what she really was, not just some shallow, cruel girl. I wanted to hug him almost all the time and I actually cried a bit after the crown scene.

Last few chapters were pure torture. By then I was a sobbing mess and couldn't even read like a normal person because of the tears. If you want to still be my friend, you'll need to read this book by October. See, I'm not a complete tyrant. I'm giving everyone of you a month to buy this perfection and read it. If I was able to finish it in one sitting, I'm sure you will find the time in September.

Do yourself a favor and pre-order Falling into Space right now! It will be money well spent because you will be reading it to your gran-kids one day until the books starts falling apart.
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
542 reviews408 followers
March 2, 2015
Fuck.
This book. THIS BOOK. I was on the fence when I started it. I liked it, but I didn’t like like it. The writing style is a little confusing in the beginning, it switches a lot between the present, the past, the even older past, and different POVs. So until you familiarize with it, it can be confusing and a little off-putting. But once that happens…man. This struck deep with me. It’s absolutely beautifully written. It’s like poetry, the really good kind, you know? It resonates with you and it makes you think and feel and just a plethora of sentiments, all poured on you. It’s fantastic.

Falling Into Place is the story of Liz Emerson, who decides that the world would be better of without her, that the things that she has done (or hasn’t done) have only hurt others and that the only thing left for her to do is to take her own life.

This is not an easy story to read. It’s very thought provoking. How much do we really influence each other? How much do our actions count? How much do the affect or alter someone else’s life? We never think about this. We never think something small might count. We never take into consideration that something small might generate a bigger wave than we thought. It’s a story about reasons. The underlying questions are “Why?” and “How?” and it explores relationships, between friends, between families.

The characters are complex, they’re well developed and the story doesn’t focus just on the main character, but on the side characters as well. The reader gets to experience the big picture this way, and see things not only from one perspective, but several. The big surprise was the narrator. You only find out who it is at the end and, for me, it was a shock, but it made everything even more meaningful.

I recommend this to people who have enjoyed reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher or If I Stay by Gayle Forman. It’s a story that will stay with you. I was in tears by the end of it and it has easily become one of my favourites of the year, so far.

Favourite quotes:

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

“She was tired. Gravity pulled at her more aggressively than usual. When she closed her eyes, she could feel it, dragging her deeper, deeper. I would have pulled her back. I would have saved her from falling, but she didn’t see my hand.”

★★★★★

To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,088 reviews6,589 followers
February 13, 2017
Words cannot describe how beautiful and important this book is. I can't even voice my thoughts right now. Wow. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Harper Collins Australia for providing me with a review copy!
All of my reviews are spoiler free (unless stated otherwise) so you can go ahead and read my review!

Plot:
This story is told from a mysterious unknown perspective that outlines in a non-linear fashion, the main characters life up until the moment she decides to drive her car off the icy motorway. Even though the story was told in a non-linear way, I couldn’t put this book down. It was so extraordinarily beautiful in the way the story was told and I think this book has such value in regards to its content. What an important and poignant story!

Characters:
I loved reading about Liz Emerson and her life. All of the characters were so flawed and realistic and it just goes to show that in real life people suffer with so many issues and I loved how the characters went through so much such as mental illness, drug abuse, pregnancy, family issues, etc.

Writing:
The way it was written blew me away. I didn’t expect the non-linear aspect to work so well for the story but it really did.

Romance/Feels:
I was in tears at the end of the book because I had so many feelings! I was just so attached to the story and the characters that I felt everything they did.

Ending:
Absolutely perfect. I won’t say any more but just know that I was tearing up!

Overall Enjoyment:
Such a beautiful story that I recommend for mature YA readers. It’s so insightful and important that these issues are addressed in the Young Adult genre and I will forever cherish this book. I enjoyed it so much that halfway through reading my eARC, I purchased the physical book so I could own it on my shelf forever.

Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,603 followers
March 20, 2015
Review and Playlist also posted at Young Adult Hollywood.
Listen to Falling Into Place fanmix on 8tracks.

description


Falling Into Place rendered me speechless. By the end of the book I was bawling and hiding in my room trying my very best to restrain the sobs.

Falling Into Place follows the story of Liz Emerson who tries to kill herself using Newton’s law. Liz Emerson is the definition of a bully, a bad girl and a bitch. She perfectly fit in the “unlikeable heroine — female characters” category but that didn’t stop me on loving her as a character. I sympathized and rooted for her. She’s not perfect and some of the things she did were awful. She’s flawed and can be very offensive but aside from all of those things she also has a lot of redeeming qualities. It’s very brave for Zhang to write such a complex character for her debut novel. It’s gorgeously written and tackles Liz’s unhealthy and tight bond with her friends, her dysfunctional family and her social life in High School.

I was hooked from the very first page. I had already foretold this book would be my undoing and I was right. It’s easy to get lost in this story. This book is highly recommended for fans of If I Stay and to all readers who are looking for a good realistic fiction book.
Profile Image for Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner).
378 reviews1,713 followers
November 17, 2014
Take from my "Save The Date" review on my blog

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang:

1. I could not put Falling Into Place down. It just sort of crept up on me, dug its claws into me and I just had this pit in my stomach until I could finish it. The plot mixed with the way it made me feel propelled me forward.

2. It was tragically beautiful and heartwrenching and really, really stripped down the characters: At a glance, these characters could have been one dimensional but as the story is told it really strips down the characters, (and the relationships I would say) in all their complexities and they just became so vulnerable to me. Even the “dislikeable” ones. Which you could say there are a few. The relationships and friendships are rather unhealthy and, as a reader, you just feel like “OMG WHY STOP.” As you read you see why it all lead up to this destructive event.

3. The narrator is fascinating: It’s told by a mysterious narrator who sees and knows all and is told in a non-linear way (meaning flashbacks and jumping around to different places in the story). It’s easy, after a little while, to guess at who the narrator is but it was a really, really effective way to tell the story.

4. It made me weep at 1am. It’s a quiet novel but it creeps up on you and just lays you out like a wrecking ball does and caused all my insides to crumble.



Who Should Save The Date: people who like quiet novels that really dissect the characters, people who want lovely prose, people who like unique narrators, lovers of the complexities of human interaction and motives



A Sneak Peek: “Force. Liz. She looked around and saw all the broken things in her wake, and then she looked inside herself and saw the spidering cracks from the weight of all the things she had done. She hated what she was and didn’t know how to change, and half an hour before she drove her car off the road, she saw that despite all of that, she didn’t have enough force to stop the world from turning. But she had enough to stop her own.”
Profile Image for Mia Nauca.
124 reviews3,839 followers
September 22, 2015
Este libro fue realmente sorprendente. Al principio pensé que no era para mi, yo y el drama no nos llevamos bien, y no me enganchaba con la primera parte porque no es una historia lineal. Sin embargo, conforme iba avanzando y leía más y más páginas y me enamoraba más de los personajes que al principio no parecían importantes pero luego lees como se entrelazan entre sí y como ayudan a hacer que la historia sea mucho más profunda. De verdad que al terminarlo dije inmediatamente 5 estrellas, sin pensarlo. Me encantó, fue una gran sorpresa.
Este libro lo leí en ingles y ni siquiera me di cuenta, es muy fácil de leer, tiene capítulos cortos y en nivel de dificultad le pondría un 2/5. Recomendado para un nivel de ingles básico o intermedio bajo
Profile Image for Fuzaila.
251 reviews358 followers
January 7, 2019
I recently had a friend asking me for reasons to live. He/she was depressed and thought that their life was worthless. I knew how a wrong word from my side would result in something tragic, so I didn’t say much. If you’re depressed and you’re reading this, please know that you’re valued.
YOUR EXISTENCE MATTERS.

Which brings me back to this book.

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang is about Liz Emerson and how she decided to end her life. Liz is a fundamentally awful person. At her school in Meridian High, she is the popular mean girl, the bully, the star soccer player. Together with her best friends Julia and Kennie, Liz has done all that she could to maintain that image, to tell the world that they don’t care, to destroy anyone who came in their way. But inside, Liz is shattered. Inside, Liz is breaking. And no one knows. So one evening, Liz puts Newton’s laws into practice and runs her Mercedes off the road. And now the only thing keeping her alive is the machine moving her lungs.
And yet, the question remains: Why Didn’t Anybody Know?

“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.” 



This book deserves a million accolades for being the best debut ever. I can’t stress this enough; Amy Zhang’s writing is absolutely beautiful. Everything about this book – the mysterious narrator, the perfectly flawed characters, the alternating timelines, the writing, the sheer brilliance of the plot execution – is done with utmost care. I can’t believe Zhang was just seventeen when she wrote this book. The emotional intelligence required to grasp this level of understanding of the human psyche is far more than what that age calls for. But Zhang has done it, and the result is beautiful.

Liz is a very unlikeable protagonist. What struck me the most about her character was how we each have a part of Liz in us. She craves for the sky; the shard of light through the network of clouds. She bullies people, says mean things she doesn’t mean. In short, she lives up to the expectations of the people, which is, to be a bitch. Like I said, she isn’t likeable. But very rarely have I come across a realistic YA novel which portrays a flawed character so well and manages to gather sympathy. There is so much character development in this book, you’re going to worry Liz is real and dying. I wonder what the author went through to come up with a character like Liz.

Julia and Kennie play an equally important role in the book. Their characters never swap places, you never mix them up. Their backstories are aligned perfectly so.

I related to Julia the most, who is the sensible and rational one among the three. But she is also the one whose life Liz destroyed. When Julia is ready to forgive, Liz is not there to listen. Kennie on the other hand, is like the Gretchen in the Mean Girls trio. She’s famous and rich, likes the attention she gets, but evidently has secrets of her own too.
I also loved Liam Oliver, the fourth main character. Very little is revealed about him and yet his role has a great impact.

The friendship and the bonding between the three girls in spite of everything else surprised me. There is also so much about family and relationships and broken people. Monica Emerson’s incomprehensible feelings become real and raw in front of us. Julia and Kennie’s grief over their best friend’s accident is shaking. The immense shock of discovering your crush broken and shattered on the road is explored through Liam’s point of view. Within these pages, there are so many subtle observations on human emotions, the characters, and life in general, that made me pause a moment to just sit back and admire the page.

I’ve seen many people being mad at this book because seeking help for mental illness is portrayed negatively. Liz goes to her guidance counselor as a last resort, but somehow ends up getting guiltier and depressed than before. I think that was an important part. It’s not at all easy to open up to somebody – even a guidance counselor – when all they know about you is from your reputation of being a bitch. It showed me how there’s a little good left in everybody, how it must take a right person for them to show their true side. Liz’s character taught me a lot.

Even now, if you are having second thoughts about reading this book, what can I say, your loss. If not for the very common trope of depression and suicide among high-school students, read it for the writing. I’m sure Amy Zhang won’t disappoint you. But be aware that the characters are here to teach you something, not to make you like them.

“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.” 



▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Initial reread review:

Once again, this book has managed to break my heart and impact my life with its very existence. I, for one, am at a loss of words.
Profile Image for Melanchallina.
192 reviews110 followers
March 31, 2017
Эми Чжан "Останься со мной"

10 из 10


Перевод: официальный перевод
Экранизация: нет
Жанр: современный любовный роман, драма
POV: от третьего лица, с точки зрения разных героев
Любовная линия: отсутствует
Отличительные черты: много драмы, порочные герои
Рекомендовано к прочтению, если вам нравятся: клип BTS "I Need U", Джей Эшер "13 причин почему"

РЕЦЕНЗИЯ:
Это уродливая книга. Безобразная и жестокая. Но до отвращения реалистичная и сильная. В этой книге отвратительно и одновременно прекрасно все. Персонажи, сюжет, идея, стиль. Но давайте по порядку.

Лиз боялась тишины, и свои страхи она так крепко сжимала в кулаках, что они множились и множились, пока не поглотили ее целиком.

В центре повествования Лиз Эмерсон – самая популярная, жестокая и эгоистичная девушка в школе… нет, в городе. Ядовитая, беспощадная. Первая мысли? Боже, какое клише. Но после? Автор показал очень жизненную проблему нашего времени. То, что многие подростки вынуждены играть определенные роли, даже если не хотят. Они так срастаются с масками, так привязываются к определенной иерархии популярности, что просто не могут ничего изменить, даже если очень хотят. Они либо не могут, либо боятся.

Порой Лиз забывала, что вправе делать собственный выбор.

Мне очень понравилось, как Эми Чжан постепенно раскрывала человечность Лиз. То как она осознавала масштаб разрушений, которые принесла в жизни даже самых дорогих и близких людей. Мы не совершенны. Мы совершаем ошибки. Мы радуемся и грустим, смеемся и плачем. И именно через главную героиню автор прекрасно передал все это.

Мне понравились Джулия и Кенни. На самом деле, не смотря на их слабости, порочные стороны, они покорили меня. Они были живыми. Реальными. Они были… настоящими. Я видела в них не только испорченных эгоисток, но и ранимых, запутавшихся, попавших в паутину девочек.

По сюжету эта книга напомнила мне смесь «Если я останусь» и «Прежде чем я упаду». Только без мистической стороны. Но атмосфера и идея очень близки. Время в повествование переплетается: настоящее смешивается с прошлым. А идея с тайным рассказчиком – гениальна. Не сразу понимаешь, кто же нам рассказывает историю Лиз и ее подруг? Никогда не встречала такого.

Жизнь – это нечто большее, чем просто причинно-следственные связи.

При прочтении книги действительно задумываешься о многом. Почему Лиз решила покончить с собой (это не спойлер)? Что сделало ее такой несчастной? Чжан умело переплела множество важных и не очень причин в один клубок. Каждую из которых я пропустила через себя, каждую причину я поняла. На самом деле, это одна из лучших книг, которая столь реалистично передала чувство депрессии и тоски. Они буквально накрывают с головой при прочтении. А то как переплетена физика и жизнь подростков? ГЕНИАЛЬНО.

Ее мир был почти прекрасен. Ей было все равно, что красота эта не настоящая.

Если это дебют автора, то какие же великолепные книги ей предстоит написать в будущем? Я буду ждать каждую! Ах, Эми, я так завидую вам, вашему потрясающему таланту, Вы действительно талантливы.

О и да конец…. Книга будет вас держать в напряжение, и под конец… ну я плакала. Потому что это было сильно, это было реалистично, и во многом это мне близко. Я плакала, потому что мало какие авторы могут создать нечто столь гениальное. А еще эту книгу можно просто разобрать на прекрасные цитаты.

Моя оценка: 10 из 10
Profile Image for Ylenia.
1,041 reviews390 followers
January 10, 2020
I liked the writing style and how the book was structured. The back and forth and the whole atmosphere were great.

The thing about this book is that I couldn't stand the main character. I pretty much couldn't stand any of the characters.
Maybe it's because I didn't grow up in the same society, the typical American high school setting you see in movies.
Profile Image for alexandra.
229 reviews1,512 followers
September 3, 2020

originally posed on twirling pages

similar to if i stay, this novel was told in flashbacks, like a patchwork of memories and moments. it certainly built up the story and fit well; i wouldn’t be able to imagine it being told any other way. amy zhang executed the novel perfectly with these snapshot stories. without realizing it, the plot was built in a beautiful crescendo. everything was satisfying, which is so rare to see in contemporary novels. the only negative aspect i could find was that we wouldn't be completely and utterly attached to each and every chapter. what i mean when i say that is: since the flashbacks don’t connect together in terms of time, you wouldn’t have this “I NEED TO KNOW” feeling after every chapter. each one was concluded and built the story together, with each little moment. although the writing assumes to have a less demanding feeling, i finished it in a day and was hooked throughout the entire novel. it's also interesting and different because the story is told in first-person pov, but we don't know who it is. similar to death in the book thief (by markus zusak), the person is somewhat omniscient, and it's almost like there's an angel or ghost following our characters. (we eventually find out who/what it is) in short, the writing is sublime.

in the beginning, i found most the characters mediocre, unjustifiable, and melodramatic. as the novel continued, i could see them coming alive, coming undone, coming together, bit by bit, and piece by piece. everyone (and everything) grows on you like vines on a castle wall – slowly and without realization. before i knew it, i understood them, and i felt what they felt. our main character liz is popular, reckless, and larger than life. in many ways, she reminded me of margo in paper towns (by john green). although she seemed over dramatic and shallow at first, i grew to really connect to her. all the characters were complex and completely themselves.

there was also the perfect amount of romance in the deep darkness of everything. despite the negativity, there is a fine layer of hope and beauty and love. it's subtle, but it's there. and with it being there, it creates a much more moving and positive story. the relationships between the characters are unique in their own way. sometimes i question their morals, but i love liz and her friends.

falling into place will always hold a special place in my heart. it was unexpectedly beautiful and every adjective that’s a synonym for “wonderful” and “emotional.” i'm not a real "crier" when it comes to reading – watery eyes, but not hardcore sobbing – and yet falling into place made me cry. real tears streaming down my face, physically stopping the book to cry. everyone should read this book at some point in their lives because it is so important. GO READ IT. if i could conclude my thoughts into an emoji, it would be :'-).– alexandra
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Profile Image for Zoe.
406 reviews939 followers
December 7, 2014
3.5 Stars
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang is an incredibly well-done debut, and Amy Zhang has definitely met my expectations with this. A mash-up of Gayle Forman's If I Stay and Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, Falling into Place brews with emotion and sensitivity.

Falling into Place isn't necessarily a new story, but it's powerful and emotional all the same. In this novel, we follow high school Queen Bee Liz Emerson as she crashes her car and tries to commit suicide. As us readers question why she has killed herself, we look for answers in Liz's past via flashbacks, and in the present as we see the effect her suicide has on those who know her.

Zhang has an absolutely lyrical writing style. Her way of stringing words together is gorgeous, and I was completely captivated in her writing. However, I did feel she told more than she showed, especially when it came to discussing the characters. Everything we knew about them was because Zhang told us so rather than figuring it out for ourselves.

image

The characters in this book definitely had the potential to be cliched and/or one-dimensional; yet, thankfully, Zhang makes them all wonderfully complex and developed.

As a protagonist, Liz was a bit hard to connect to for the majority of the story. She's your stereotypical "popular" girl. She bullied other people, she gets drunk constantly, she thinks she's better then everyone else because of her social status.

Frankly, she was a jerk.

image

I never really felt it was easy to connect to her because she made such horrible choices and did such horrible things to people. I did respect her change of heart and her realization that what she had done has hurt so many people, but that came somewhat late in the story.

I also wanted to know more about the side characters. What is life like for Julia and Keenie, Liz's best friends and fellow mean girls? Or Liam, one of the only who sees Liz despite her flaws and imperfections? I felt they were all certainly well-developed, but I wanted to know more about their backstories and how they added to Liz's story.

Also, the ending was a bit too abrupt for my liking. I am a huge fan of open endings because they can be so thought-provoking and can really be great discussion influences. However, for the open ending in Falling into Place, I felt that there needed to be an additional scene inserted between the ending and the second-to-last scene.

All in all, Falling into Place is a very worthy debut novel, and I have no doubt that readers will enjoy it. A few minor things kept me from really loving it, but it was wonderful all the same.
319 reviews1,896 followers
July 9, 2014
4.5 stars, probably.

all right, so I'm about to say something pretty big. This book and If I Stay are very similar to each other; of course there are many differences, but the barebones of each are very close. NOW, with that having been said, the biggie: I very much prefer Falling Into Place to If I Stay. In basically all aspects.

and leaving off with that, review to come.
Profile Image for C. Maria.
315 reviews50 followers
September 27, 2015
This was a really enjoyable and quick read for me.

I like how the story approaches some difficult topics like abortion, bulimia, bulling and suicide. I didn't like the main character and we are supposed not to like her - she is really mean - almost to the point of evil.

One thing I absolutely loved from the moment I started reading was the writing just wonderful, sublime, beautiful, amazing. I also like how the book was structured - the chapters, the alternating POV's and the alternation between past and present, the small chapters and the presence of one mysterious perspective/character but not .

All in all I liked this book and I'm quite surprised by it and this is because I read so many books in the last period about suicide and little surprises me now, but this did it.
Profile Image for Hazel (Stay Bookish).
635 reviews1,621 followers
July 3, 2016
Visit Stay Bookish for more book reviews!

Falling Into Place has got to be one of the most outstanding YA debut novels I’ve read this year. Three reasons why you really ought to read this book: The writing is stunning, the characters are realistically complex and the story is earnest, courageous and also important.

“Gravity is our playmate, momentum is our friend. We are blurs of motion. We are racing, and we are both winning, because we do not race each other. We race the world, and as fast as it rotates, as fast as it revolves, we are faster.”

The most popular girl in her high school, Liz Emerson chooses to be an object in motion that would stay in motion despite flattening everything in her path. Sad, broken and destructive, Liz applies Newton’s Laws by crashing her car, with every intention to say goodbye to her miserable life. Falling Into Place is a deep exploration of the inertia, force, mass, gravity, velocity, acceleration and ultimately the cause and effect of Liz’s existence.

“Death, unfortunately, is not in the business of lending wings.”

Seriously, Amy Zhang is a stellar writer. I can’t even begin to express how much I fell in love with her prose. The way she crafted Falling Into Place with this lovely mess of jumbled moments detailing Liz’s life and all its in-betweens, and how she added snapshots- gorgeous. The way she incorporates these physics theories into her story and uses them as metaphors- sublime. Also, the use of a mysterious narrator worked incredibly well for me. What stood out the most though is the essence of the writing and its unflinching and honest depiction of its characters.

“She fell. She thought, Hello, gravity, and tried to spread her arms so that it would catch her. Hello, good-bye. But the world did not fade completely.”

While Falling Into Place is centered on Liz Emerson, it does not fail to take notice of the people in Liz’s life and in fact allows them to be a channel to fully understanding Liz and her brokenness. There’s Monica, Liz’s mom, Julia and Kennie, her best friends, and Liam, a boy from their high school. We get to read their perspectives, discern their connection and relationship with Liz (and how that had pushed her even further into darkness) but we also see these characters for who they are, what their own story is. Everyone has their broken parts and everyone is more than a little messed-up and my heart just couldn’t help but hurt for each and everyone of them.

“Liz Emerson held so much darkness within her that closing her eyes didn’t make much of a difference at all.”

My heart broke the most for Liz though. She’s the kind of character some readers might hate or might feel disconnected to because she sure has her share of irreparable stupid mistakes. That said, I truthfully was able to sympathize with her despite never being in her shoes. The way the author puts Liz’s emotions and thoughts into words- they felt familiar even when they weren’t, you know? I’m probably sounding cryptic here but I don’t know how else to describe the way Liz and her story affected me. I was so surprised to find tears in my eyes when I closed the book.

Well, hello, darling with the ocean eyes,
How many secrets keep us apart?
A sea of poems, a field of sighs,
Can I cross and return to the start?


Falling Into Place is a really powerful novel if you let it take you deeper into Liz’s haunting and devastating life. It opens your eyes to harsh cruelties, hopelessness and depression, and the fact that even the unbreakable can break. While it maybe painful and heartbreaking, Falling Into Place is a beautifully poignant novel in its totality. I can’t recommend it enough.
Profile Image for Victoria | victoriashaz.
234 reviews400 followers
May 2, 2015
I...I have no real words for how this book made me feel. Zhang has written something here that reached me straight to the core. Her prose is incredibly well written. The perspective of the work is a mix of third person omniscient and first person, but the prose and perspective flow incredibly well and work in a way that I could never have imagined.
Much like The Great Gatsby, you are not supposed to like the girls in this book, especially our main character Liz. They are catty and mean and awful. But they're also human, and flawed, and beneath that "mean girl" exterior, Zhang weaves a tale of deeply insecure and sad young girls. It is refreshing to see the opposite side of the 'mean girl', the side that all of those stupid anti-bullying movies we all had to watch in school said, the notion that "those who bully are just suffering on the inside".
I found myself annotating large portions of this book. Underlining and dog-earing and trying to make sure I remembered specific quotes. Not only was the prose beautiful, but it also gave me consistent reminders of both the omnipresence of mortality in this world, and things I should probably remember about life.
Overall, this book handles the topic of depression/suicide/mental illness in one of the best fashions that I have read in a book. By no means is it perfect, but it is well written and is effective at the tale it is trying to tell.
4.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Lauren (Bookworm Boutique).
41 reviews58 followers
December 27, 2015
Please note: this book deals with a lot of triggers including suicide, depression, and drug use, please be aware of this before picking up Falling into Place!

I decided to write a review on this book because when I finished it, I honestly had no idea how I really felt about it... at all. First things first, I have to say how much I loved Amy Zhang's writing style. I know I say this all the time, so if you've been dedicated and have read all my reviews, you'll know this, but I really am not a fan of books that jump back and forth in time and that change points of view... Well, Falling into Place was one of those kinds of books and I adored it. Usually, when a book follows that kind of writing, the reader finds it hard to connect with the characters and can find parts of the book to be incredibly information dumping, but surprisingly, this wasn't the case with this book.

I found that I really didn't like the main character, Liz Emerson, but not due to how she was written but because I'm not sure that you're meant to. Throughout the book you're constantly shown a lot of terrible things that this character does, and even when the character shows remorse or realises that she shouldn't be doing those things... I couldn't help but think "Well, no shit, bullying is bad" and I just couldn't really feel sorry for the character, I ended up feeling sorry for the people around her.

Even though the characters within Falling into Place were unaware that Liz Emerson ended up in Hospital because of a suicide attempt, the book did a fantastic job of showing what happens to the people around someone who attempts suicide, people that you wouldn't necessarily think would care, definitely did. Zhang even showed how pretending to care, like a lot of Liz's schoolmates did, helps no one.

One of my favourite aspects of this book, and I'm hoping it's not a spoiler because I realised pretty early on, but my apologies if you think you didn't or wouldn't see this, is that Liz's sections of the story were told by her imaginary friend, who she no longer believes in. I loved the 'snapshots' within the book, which were one page descriptions of past event's in Liz's life, and how honest the imaginary friend was, even showing disappointment towards Liz.

Falling into Place is the perfect book for those who love short, sharp chapters. Each chapter within the book was very too the point and kept my interest up throughout the novel. It made saying "Just one more chapter and I'll go to bed" a very easy sentence to say! I devoured the book in just over 24 hours, but I did leave it feeling confused. I'm not sure whether or not that was because it touched on a very sensitive subject, and it's quite a devastating book, or because of my dislike of the main character, but I do think that I enjoyed Falling into Place immensely.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a realistic contemporary Young Adult book, lovers of John Green and Gayle Forman, will definitely enjoy Falling into Place. Overall, I gave this book four out of five stars (★★★★☆) it's a book that I'll recommend, but maybe not shout about. Thank you so much to Harper Collins for sending me this beautifully written book.
Profile Image for Sophia.
269 reviews2,030 followers
June 2, 2014
4.5 stars

some quick thoughts:
-so well-written. really beautiful prose. it's effortless, too. flows like river water.
-well-rounded characters. maybe not so realistic, but there's depth to the main characters that adds so many more dynamics to the story.
-definitely a character-driven story. plot is similar to if i stay, in the way that the plot is just a patchwork quilt of flashbacks and memories and events.
-the author is a high schooler. just let that sink in. do you feel as underachieving as i do? because jesus christ. to be a high schooler and have written a novel as grand as this one.
-EMOTIONAL. i shed tears. i wasn't expecting to, honestly. but no, i cried. i'm crying right now, too.
Profile Image for Sarah.
281 reviews54 followers
September 20, 2015
Because Liz Emerson held so much darkness within her that closing her eyes didn't make much of a difference at all.
4.5
What a cruel little book this is. If I could use one word to describe it, it would be heartbreaking.

One day the most popular girl at school takes her car and drives off a cliff.
This is Liz Emerson’s story, equally loved by everyone and equally hated by them.
It is told by an unknown and very surprising narrator.

What I love the most about Falling into place is that it constantly surprised me. It’s not a journey back to point out at what exact point Liz cracked.
People seem to think there’s The One Thing that drives people to end their lives. It’s not. It’s all of these small things, that eventually tip over into something too large to handle. I think this book paints an excellent portrait of that, without shying away from the darkest details.
Liz's journey to making this serious decision happened slowly, but the whole book has a very sad undertone.
There are barely any moments of happiness and you can see why Liz feels so lost.

Every single character is flawed, bitchy, terribly unlikable and real.
They seem shallow at first, nothing but stiff stereotypes but there’s so much more to them. They're all fucked up in some way, and they know it. It’s high school, the teenagers are out of control and vicious and unapologetic. They’re ignorant.
There’s slutshaming, life-altering revenges because of petty things, and a lot of bullying. Most of these are done by the main character.
This is where you ask, ’’Why would I want to read a book about unlikable people who do awful things?’’
The above are huge pet peeves of mine, and even though these actions are terrible and something that shouldn’t be easily forgiven, I think it was more understandable within its context.
Because it will make you think about how no matter how horrible they are, they actually deserve better. This is a great example of how you can assume things because you don't understand them. These teens have been neglected and had to fight on their own in a world that bends you until you break. Their values are fucked up, and it would be weird if they weren't.
This next quote sums it up perfectly.

The truth is, Liam has always thought of Kennie as a slutty, stereotypical Barbie with even less intelligence.
Because that’s what he’s been told.
Now he looks at the grimy tracks of makeup on her cheeks and the broken girl trapped in her eyes, and he realize that he’s an asshole.


Can you see it? That's called character development and there is a lot of it in this book, sometimes very subtle.

The story itself is heartbreaking, helpless and dark. 
It’s about the things you want to do, but can’t. The actions and words that could save someone.
Because if someone asked Liz, really paid attention to her, maybe she wouldn’t have driven her car off the road that day. Maybe she could’ve gotten help. But things don’t magically resolve like that.
The MC ruins so many peoples’ lives and she knows it, but she can’t stop. She doesn’t know how to apologize or ask for help, which is what she needs.

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

The writing is some of the best I've seen in YA contemporary for a long time. It's stunning and captures how empty Liz feels. Never did the third person PoV bother me, because it's so well-written and actually made me love the book more.
The perspective gives us an incredibly wide look at all the side characters who are just as important as Liz.

I watched her carve her mistakes in stone, and they arranged themselves around her. They became a maze with walls that reached the sky. Because she learned from so few of them, she was lost. Because she didn’t have faith in anything, she didn’t try to find a way out.

I was infuriated by how the adults acted in this book, and yet didn’t think it was surreal.
There is one scene that hit me particularly hard. Not to spoil anything, but Liz tries to hint at her mental state to an adult and is misunderstood and told that you just need ’’the right motivation’' to get better and change. Like it’s easy. 
It’s fucked up how someone can be quietly screaming for help and heavily hinting at that they’re depressed without anyone knowing and many people in the world are going through the exact same thing.
This book hit me much harder than I expected.

4.5 stars because it took so long for me to feel the characters were more than just mean and sad without any redeemable qualities and the ending was underwhelming.
I highly recommend this to those who enjoyed Some Girls Are. 
My problem with that book is that the story and drama went a little overboard, and felt like it was just going for shock factor. 
The same goes for Falling into place, hence the removal of the half star.
I’m still amazed by the fact that this is a debut novel and that the author wrote it while in college.

Final verdict: No matter what you think of this book, I doubt that it will leave you unaffected. 
Amy Zhang is an author to watch, and I’m already dying to get my hands on her next book. I'll just need some time to piece my heart back together.

She wanted to go back. She wanted to be the little girl again, the one who thought getting high meant being pushed on the swings and pain was falling off her bike.
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
879 reviews251 followers
February 8, 2017
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

MY THOUGHTS
I went into this book fully knowing that I would cry, and cry I did. I cried tears of sadness, because this book is so sad for every character, but this book was also so raw and beautiful.

Liz Emerson tries to take her own life by driving her car off the road. She miscalculates and ends up in the hospital in critical condition and will most likely survive the night. Throughout this book we get to see the perspectives of her friends, family, and peers. But we also see the moments leading up to Liz's decision and why she decided that she had to take her own life.

I can go on and on about how tragically beautiful this book is, but I'll start with the writing. The writing takes a bit to keep used to, but I adored it. The story jumps around in the timeline, in short chapters, as well as following numerous different people. The jumping around in the timeline let us showly understand Liz. It slowly lead into the crash as well as giving flashbacks of her life and regrets. We also see the multiple people that Liz affected in her life, both good and bad. All the jumping around seems really confusing, but it also makes the book more raw, emotional, and, strangely, makes perfect sense. I would also like to mention the narrator. We are never really told outright who the narrator is, but it's fairly simple to guess as the story goes on. The narrator is not only very unique, but it adds so much more meaning to the book!

Despite the narration, Liz is the main character of this book. The entire story focuses on her life and her decision to end it. Liz is the popular girl in school and everyone sees her as untouchable, and invincible, so they're shocked to know that sees possibly dying. By the way, they don't know that she attempted suicide. The truth is that Liz has realized that she has become the person that she despised, the person that she promised to never be as a child. Yes, Liz is a mean girl. Liz realizes that she has ruined many people's lives, even those closest to her. Liz is most definitely a flawed character, all the characters in this book have flaws, but this is make makes this book so realistic.

IN CONCLUSION
I really can't do this book any justice! I read this book in one sitting, reading this horribly beautiful story, and I cried. If you don't like books that make you cry, then you might not want to read this, but I strongly suggest you to rethink that! This book is a new favorite of mine and I will recommend this book to everyone!
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