Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

falling into place by amy zhang

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Published by Greenwillow Books on September 9th 2014
Finished copy from Publisher
296 pages
Purchase on AmazonThe Book Depository


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?

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.

Hazel @ Stay Bookish

Hazel Ureta is an advocate of stories. She is the blogger and Editor-In-Chief of Stay Bookish because she loves talking about books. She enjoys reading Young Adult novels the most and writes them too.
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  1. Cali W. on September 24, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Great review!

  2. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives on September 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    I was skipping this one for now, but those excerpts totally have me convinced. I’ll be sure to get a copy soon! Lovely review :D

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on September 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

      I purposely included those gorgeous quotes because I know someone might appreciate them and be convinced to read the book! I’m glad my tactic worked. ;)

  3. Taylor Lynn on September 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book! It sounds touching and breathtaking and poignant and heartbreaking, and everyone seems to be raving about the gorgeous prose and how moving the story is. This is a great review, Hazel, and you’ve only reinforced my interest in this book–I can’t wait to read it myself!

  4. Myra @ Myra Chronicles on September 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Lovely review! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. Based on what you have said, it does sounds like a powerful and impactful book that deals with a tough subject.

  5. Sarah @ The Bookshelf Pirate on October 2, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I’m so glad to have found this review! Parents and teenagers keep asking me about Falling Into Place at work, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Not only do I feel good about recommending it, now, but I want to read it myself ASAP.

  6. Danielle on October 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Ooo you’ve made me super excited about this book, it sounds just gorgeous and emotionally stirring. Wonderful review!

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on October 4, 2014 at 3:58 am

      Glad to hear that! I’d love for more people to read it since it’s such a lovely book! :D

  7. Jayvee @ Writer For Misfits on October 5, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Must get this soon!

  8. Aaliyah on October 11, 2014 at 2:50 am

    Wow the book really sounds amazing to read! I’m in a tough patch myself right now and I think I’d be able to sympathize with Liz even for just a little bit. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one!!

  9. Ebony @ Daring Damsels on October 15, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Fantastic review, Hazel – I loved this one too! The writing was just phenomenal and was one of those books that had more impact the more I thought about it after reading. Glad you enjoyed it, too!

  10. Julie on December 1, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Definitely want to read this book now! *___*

  11. Anette Fabre on January 9, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Thank you for this wonderful review, Hazel. :)

  12. lea on March 5, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Haven`t heard of this author before, but I love the review…

  13. Kenny Campos on July 11, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Great review! I love that you included quotes from the book, adding it to my TBR list!yay!

  14. […] I said in my book review for Falling Into Place, I think this one is a really powerful, poignant novel and I’m so excited to meet the author […]

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