I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
Also by this author: Falling into Place, This Is Where the World Ends
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-09-09
Genres: Bullying, Death & Dying, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
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.
I was lucky enough to have picked this book up at BEA. I had some extra time and waited in the autograph line for Amy Zhang. It was a little awkward because I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t read it before and was picking it up purely based on reviews I had read. Regardless, I’m so happy I did!
Falling Into Place follows the story of Liz Emerson. From afar, Liz lives the perfect life. She is the most popular girl in school and is always the center of attention. However, as we all know, things aren’t always what they seem. Liz is actually suffering from deep-rooted depression. All of her life she has felt like she continually lets people down and ruins people’s lives. After months of planning and consideration, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She is going to stage her suicide to look like an accident. If she is dead, she can no longer hurt people, right?
I loved the pacing of this novel. The short chapters switch from before and after the accident. It’s fascinating to see how all of the characters interact before and after the accident. This book really hit home for me. I was bullied a bit growing up and it was eye-opening to see it from the bully’s perspective. I empathized with Liz, even though she would have been one of my tormentors.
One of my biggest fears when I have kids is that they will grow up to be bullies. I’m almost 23 years old and I still remember all of the times I was picked on in school. It obviously doesn’t bother me anymore and I chalk it up to growing up, but it can really have a lasting effect on youth. The amount of suicides by young teens is astonishing and sad. I will make my children read this book and reflect on how their behavior really affects other people.
I loved that this was written by a high school student. I frequently found myself saying “wow that’s so true,” whenever a reference was made to current pop culture. One of the biggest things for me was finding out that a classmate has been in accident or passed away from all of the Facebook statuses. That is my primary “news” source for all things high school. I can’t count how many tragedies I’ve learned about from my news feed. It’s strange to live in a culture where we use Facebook to find out what is going on in the world. I hope when I pass one day that my friends will not find out through social media. I can’t even imagine what that feels like.
One of the major themes of the novel is Liz’s depression. It caused me to do a lot of reflection about my best friends and if I could have missed signs of depression from them. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own world and not notice what is happening right in front of you. I wanted to pick up my phone and text my bffs and tell them I love and miss them. Sometimes we all need a reminder that there are people out there that care about us.
This was a wonderful debut novel and it will hold a special place in my heart forever. I’ve never read another book that so accurately depicts what teenage angst is like. High school is only a small part of our lives but when we are going through it, it feels like the most important part. Finding out your best friend spread a rumor about you felt like the biggest betrayl in the world, something we will never get over. I don’t even remember what my friends and I used to fight about anymore. High school almost feels like a different universe. I’m so happy to be 5 years out of school, life is so much better now. It really does get better!
I highly recommend this book and if you’ve been lucky enough to read it, please let me know what you thought in the comments!