Falling Into Place
Falling Into Place is a contemporary novel I've had my eye on since its release, so I'm glad I finally picked it up and read it. I can see why readers have been praising it and the author as a fresh new voice in contemporary YA.
First I have to talk about the prose, because it is quite simply beautiful. Stark, emotional, and lovely, the writing style of the novel kept me turning the pages. It was just so easy to read such pretty words. The author is a truly gifted writer and I can't wait to see what she writes next.
This is not a book with a likable protagonist. Liz Emerson has treated people terribly over her life and at times I found it difficult to sympathize with her, but I also think this made her feel realistic. She's not perfect, and her struggles take a toll until she feels she has only one option.
What Left Me Wanting More:
While the choice of narrator was definitely unique, it ended up feeling too much like a gimmick to me. I think I would've been able to sympathize with the main character more if I had been directly in her head. And while you do get to see different facets of the characters, at times they read as one dimensional to me.
The Final Verdict:
Falling Into Place will appeal to readers who love realistic contemporary novels with beautiful writing and heartbreaking moments.
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.
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!
This book ended up being so much more than I was expecting. Liz could have easily come off as impossible to sympathize with considering she was not a nice person, but instead I found myself caring about her and wanting someone to notice all her pain. Her two best friends were also easy to sympathize with, even though they could be just as horrible as Liz. They could be a terrifying trio of bullies willing to wreck lives, but they were also dealing with a lot on their own.
The book really got into the issue of bullying, both intentional and unintentional bullying, and the consequences it can have on everyone.
The narrator was so perfect. It was very non-linear but never confusing. The story would jump from person to person, or from the present to the past, so we got a complete sense of what led up to Liz’s actions and the reasons for the reactions of others.
The writing was really beautiful. Simple, effective, and almost poetic. It makes me very excited to see future books from Amy Zhang. I do wish the ending had been a little more dragged out, it felt a little abrupt, but it didn’t ruin the story.
This book probably isn’t for everyone. If you don’t enjoy unconventional narration or dark subject matter, it might not be for you. If you do, mark your calendar.
I have to say that having to relieve all these moments of Liz's past where what turned this book so painful, I cried so many times in this book - I think that 50% ahead I just didn't stopped crying until the very end of this book, that's how emotionally invested I was in this story.
One thing that surprised me on this book was the fact that Liz Emerson is a terrible person, she is the definition of a mean girl and a bully but still I couldn't help but like her, and feel sorry for her and for what she had been through. I know that in any other book, in any other story I would have judged the hell out of Liz but not in this book.
And I think the main reason for that is the writing, the writing was so beautiful and so full of feelings - this book is incredible short and deals with a LOT of issues so it could have felt superficial and unrealistic but that was not how it went. I felt like when I was reading I could enter totally and completely in this story and connect so deeply with it's characters which made me understand them in a whole other level, like they're my long lost friends and I could understand what they had been through only be looking at them.
I highly recommend this book to fans of realistic fiction and to someone that is looking for a contemporary read that is emotional and truthful.