Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: borrowed
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
POV: 1st (but mostly 3rd person)
Pacing: slow
Genres & Themes: YA, Contemporary, Friendship, Bullying, Mental Illness, Love, Death.


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.


Liz Emerson committed suicide. But made it look like an accident.

Who would think the Liz Emerson who has it all (popularity, boyfriend, money, friends, …) would crash her own car?


No one does. No one suspects how unhappy she really was. How conscious she became of all the bad things she did in her life, to people who did not deserve it.

She did not realize that the equal and opposite reaction was this: every terrible, horrible bitchy thing Liz had ever done had bounced back to her.

Because she was a bad person.

But, wait, things didn’t go as planned; she didn’t die but went in a coma instead. Now, it is up to her to decide if she wants to stay alive or not.

Reminds you of If I Stay? It does but it is not the same thing. Sure, there are memories narrated about her life and what made her take this decision, but this is not a love story.

I really enjoyed reading this book, even though it contains so many clichés. There are everywhere! But, surprisingly, I did not mind it as much as I usually would. Must be because it was very realistic, in a way, even though it is a fictive story.

The writing was beautiful and I loved the author’s style. The atmosphere reminded me of the one in the We Were Liars book, because of how unearthly it felt. While I did not enjoy it in We Were Liars, in this one I did. Which is interesting.

The character of Liz Emerson is hard to empathize with, and I actually did not. At first, yes, but when I saw how badly she hurt people or didn’t intervene when she obviously had the possibility to, it kind of made me angry. In a way. Because I don’t have much respect for bullies.

I didn’t appreciate not knowing who the narrator was before the end of the book. I tried to guess but there were so many possibilities. When I learned the truth, I was not impressed.

The last thing I didn’t enjoy very much about this story was how almost every character seemed to have a ‘problem.’ Maybe it’s drug dealing. Maybe it’s lack of love or losing a child but they (almost) all had something on their mind. Something sad. This book is sure filled with sad feelings and wouldn’t work for everyone.

Still, I would recommend it to anyone thinking this is a story they might enjoy or find interesting. I am absolutely not regretting reading this.

My review on Goodreads.

16 thoughts on “Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

  1. I’ve been curious about this one for a while. All my blogger friends seem to rave on and on about it! But being terribly against contemporaries, I always avoided this one. I’m glad you enjoyed it though, girly. I loved the writing in We Were Liars so perhaps I should give this one a go (perhaps when it’s a rainy day out and I’m stuck inside :D) Fabulous review, Lola <33


  2. My thoughts reflect yours in that the characters was a horrible person and I couldn’t connect with her either. I guessed about the narrator as well, but i ended up being wrong. The writing was definitely beautiful and worthwhile reading, but yeah there were just some things that didn’t sit right with me. Great review Lola!


  3. It’s too bad for the clichés but it’s interesting and a different kind of stories. I’m quite curious to discover the main character as she is something else. thanks for the review!


  4. I just read this one a few days and really loved it! I agree, there were a lot of cliches but Amy Zhang’s writing was so beautiful that I didn’t mind them at all! I guessed who the narrator was mid way into the story but I still enjoyed how different it made the book. I’m glad you did enjoy reading this one Lola, although I do believe I ended up enjoying this one more than you! Great review 🙂


  5. Yes I still do have to read this (along with If I Stay). I’ve heard so many things about Falling into Place, and I’m glad you ended up liking it! I’m not sure how I’ll deal with not being connected to the main character though, because I hate it when I hate a character. But maybe it won’t be so bad. Thanks for the awesome review Lola!!!!


  6. I have heard so much about this one that I actually cannot wait to read it. I love the whole idea and while you didn’t connect with the main character still it seems like you enjoyed this one. I love it that it gives away similar vibe to We Were Liars as I loved it there. I really have to check this one out. Great review, Lola 🙂


  7. This looks like an interesting story just because apparently the main character is a bully and in most stories the bully is never the protagonist… But what I cannot stand is when authors write all their characters with personal problems and not particularly light ones… It doesn’t feel real to me.


  8. I immediately loved this book. I reviewed it last night. I got If I Stay vibes immediately too, but it worked great for this book I feel. I loved If I Stay, so I knew I’d love this book too if it was anything like it. I also wouldn’t necessarily call If I Stay a love story. 🙂

    The writing style is beautiful and like you, it reminded me of We Were Liars (which I finished after Falling Into Place). Although there were stereotypes, I feel that Amy Zhang wrote the characters with enough depth to help fade the stereotypes. I actually loved Liz, although she was mean, she was also nice (while, maybe being mean). Liz wasn’t without fault which I really loved about her character. Liz knew the way she was acting wasn’t right and she did really try to change, she did regret her past mistakes and for a lot of the book, basically all of it, she hated the way she acted.


  9. Pretty much. The “problems” were my problem with the book-they make the story so banal, like look we all have issues! As if issues are a carry-bags. Sure, everyone’s a little fucked up but it looked like the issues were distributed at a sale. But it’s like you said, didn’t mind it as much as I could have.


  10. Hm this one sounds interesting, if I’m a bit baffled at the idea you don’t know who the narrator is until the end of the book (that sounds super irritating, I’d probably flip to the end to find out lol)


  11. This book sounds like one of those reads that leaves you thinking about the world, days after finishing. I’m not sure if I’ll pick this one up just yet because of the subject matter but I’ll certainly recommend it to a friend of mine who loved Thirteen Reasons Why. Wonderful review, Lola ❤


  12. I’m not sure this one is for me. Im not usually into sad books, but it does sound like it could be good. I like that it’s got a similar “should I fight to stay alive” theme like If I Stay, or, in this case, maybe more like “do I deserve to stay alive”. Very interesting concept.


  13. Well, I understand how you couldn’t empathise with Liz, because she was a bitch. I guess when I read the book, I pitied her because she hated her actions, she hated who she had become as a person but had not idea how to change. Also, I guess every person having a ‘hidden’ problem made the story realistic because it showed how most or every person has some problem which they don’t want to talk about.
    The thing I hated about the book was how the best friend never talked about their problems, how they didn’t even try to support each other.


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