Published by Harper Collins on September 9th 2014
Genres: Bullying, Contemporary, Death & Dying, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
Amazon // The Book Depository
One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. This haunting and heartbreaking story is told by a surprising and unexpected narrator and unfolds in nonlinear flashbacks even as Liz's friends, foes, and family gather at the hospital and Liz clings to life. This riveting debut will appeal to fans of Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, and 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher."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 was unexpectedly heartbreaking and wonderful.
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 still finished it in a day and was hooked throughout the entire novel. in the end, all the moments and pieces fit together and fell into place (pun totally intended). amy zhang had a remarkable way of carefully curating each word and sentence, which are filled with so much meaning and purpose; i couldn’t help but fall in love. in short, the writing is sublime.
“On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s Laws of Motion in physics class.”
– page 1, first sentence
it’s also interesting and different because the story is told in first-person pov, but we don’t know who the narrator 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, but really, it’s not something to focus on.)
in the beginning, i found most the characters mediocre, unjustifiable, and melodramatic. unlikable, to say the least. 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, but as we grew to know her, everything fell into place (HAH! PUN INTENDED). her reasoning made sense and the emotions were heavy and raw. it really shows how everyone has a mask on – intended or not.
“…some things fell apart so better things could fall together.”
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 :’-).
how i felt finishing the novel: