Book Review: Falling Into Place ARC by Amy Zhang

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Greenwillow Books at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction

Pages: 

304

Part of a Series?:

I believe this is a standalone

Release Date: 

Sepetember 9th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

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.

My Review:

The synopsis reads: for fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman and Jay Asher. I’ve admittedly never read Jay Asher, but I’ve read everything by LO and GF and you can definitely tell that Amy was influenced by them. The novel reads as a cross between Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. Because of this, I had a struggle to read through the entire novel. It felt like a sort of “been there, done that” plot line and I struggled to keep reading the book. The flashbacks, the coma, that sort of thing, all sort of felt like the previous two books I mentioned. If I Stay and Before I Fall are both favorites of mine so it just felt too close to me to make an impact.

I think what would have made this a stronger book is a stronger main character. In Before I Fall, Samantha is popular and hated, even though she doesn’t want to be and I felt that sort of connection with Liz as well. But Liz didn’t jump off the page nearly as well as Sam did so it felt hard to connect with her. She felt cruel, really truly cruel, and it was hard to connect with her when she started to pull back, when she felt bad. It wasn’t really toward the end, when I started getting flashbacks into the minds of some unlikely characters (trying to be as spoiler free as possible), that I finally seemed to feel for Liz.

What I do think is strong about this novel are two things: Amy’s writing and the beginning sentence.

First off, Amy’s writing is incredible, especially when you stop to think that she’s a teenager. I am still learning to make my writing better and better as I write more but I would most definitely have not published my writing as a teenager. I’ve had to write more and get better as time went on. I think Amy will be the same. But already at such a young age, she is able to write very beautifully, and in a very compelling way. I think that as she learns more and strengthens her story telling, she’s going to be a force to reckon with.

I also think her opening line is just absolutely incredible. That line in its own will be the one that captures you.

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. 

There is so much about that that immediately pulls you in and immediately makes you want to read the rest and so I think she has that going for her. You can immediately get sucked into the story just by reading that line and I do think fans of Gayle and Lauren will enjoy this novel. I struggled with the similarities between those novels and Amy’s but I think she’s a strong writer and will only become stronger as she develops more skills.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

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