Falling into Place by Amy Zhang is a well-done debut and I sincerely hope there’s a movie in the works! The first thing I noticed about this book was the author’s writing. There is not much dialogue, just mainly inner thoughts. The writing seems poetic, but not lyrical.
Liz Emerson tried to commit suicide, but made it seem like an accident so no one would find out. Liz is a highly popular girl at her high school. She seems to have it all from money and friends to a handsome boyfriend, but not everything is as perfect as it seems. She believes she is a horrible person because of the actions she has committed in her past to innocent people who meant no harm to her. What goes around comes around and everything seems to be coming back to Liz.
From the first chapter, I wanted to know what happened next with Liz. The book is written in past and present tense with several flashbacks throughout. The character of Liz is hard to empathize with because she is a bully. She loves to humiliate others in the beginning but as the book progresses she does so out of spite rather than any sick enjoyment. I thought she was keen on keeping her image of the popular mean girl. She is an interesting character, but it’s hard to relate to her when you believe in everything opposite of what she has done. Although, she’s probably the only bully I have read about that regrets the hurt and humiliation she has caused others enough to commit suicide.
The plot reminded me a lot of the book If I Stay without the out-of-body experience. I thought this was a great book full of interesting characters whose own problems all had something to do with Liz. The book does have a narrator as well, who is not Liz and it was surprising to find out the identity of this narrator. The book ends on an open note and I’m hoping there is a sequel in the works that will answer all the questions I have left.
Benish Khan has her B.A in Psychology and Religion from the University of New York. She’s a psychologist and artist by day, and a bookworm by night. She currently blogs at feministreflections.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperCollins Publishers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.