Falling into Place by Amy Zhang


A poignant novel with an narrator that I never saw coming.

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. But why? From the outside, Liz's life looks perfect, and she rules the school. So why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her?

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. How do we as people impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? But she has caused so much pain in the world already, and she's ready to take herself out of the equation.

This novel hurt more than I thought it would, which sounds stupid because the description alone is a prescription for heartache, but I when I saw what a terrible person Liz was, I didn't think I would feel sorry for her. But it did. This book made me so sad. I mean, it wasn't a tragedy like Macbeth or something, but it was still painful to read. It felt a lot like Anatomy of a Misfit, though not as nicely executed. I liked this book, I did, but there was something missing. Maybe it was the fact that the characters were mean, or maybe it's just something completely unidentifiable. I don't know. But it was great book that I think people should read and learn from.

I hated all the characters, but I wanted so badly for them all to be alright. It was a weird thing. Liz was a destroyer, and for the worst reason: she didn't have one. She wanted to be in the spotlight, sort of; she wanted to control the world, kind of. She didn't really have a solid purpose to ruin others, except that she did. And her friends had their faults too. Liz may have felt like she ruined their lives, but they wouldn't exactly be innocent or perfect is she didn't exist. They were three girls that were equally disturbed and too afraid to tell anyone what was really happening inside of them, and that was their downfall.

There wasn't anything good about the relationships in this novel, and that was kind of the point. Everyone treated everyone else horribly. But in spite of that, Liz, Kennie and Julia were best friends and loved each other unconditionally. It was fucked up, but believable as much as it was terrible.

The writing was probably the best part of this book. It was written in choppy, well thought out chapters, seamlessly transporting us back and forth in time. And the narrator was something I never could have predicted. I had a many predictions, some of them pretty far-fetched, and I was still wrong. It was weird and unique and I loved it.

This is definitely a 3.5 stars rating, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it. Read it, and make sure you are never even vaguely similar to these characters.

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