Falling into Place
By Amy Zhang
Expected publication September 9, 2014 by Greenwillow Books
Liz Emerson doesn't deserve to live - that's why she just crashed her car. But how did she reach this decision? And what do the people closest to her think about it?
This book has been getting tons of buzz, so when I spotted the digital galley, I knew I wanted to give it a shot. I read it over a couple of hours last week.
I think this book is going to be a big hit with teens. It's very gripping - it grabs you from the first page and keeps you frantically turning the pages the whole book. The chapters are short and told from a variety of perspectives, which helps keep up the furious pace. The variety of perspectives are all really interesting and help create a complete picture of Liz and the reasons she's decided to kill herself. Readers get to hear from Liz's mother, her best friends, the boy who's been in love with her for many years, and others. It works really well, developing Liz as a realistic character. I think teens are really going to relate and understand the characters involved in this story.
Teens are also going to appreciate the numerous issues this novel deals with - obviously, suicide is at the forefront, but there is also addiction, teen pregnancy, and sexual assault. It's quite likely that many teens are dealing with or know someone dealing with one or more of these issues, so it's important for them to see portrayals of these issues in the books they read.
The book is extremely well-written and I'm impressed by Zhang's ability to create a number of different perspectives that actually feel different. Zhang's writing is lyrical and lovely to read. I'm impressed by this debut (Zhang is a high school student) and I imagine we'll be hearing more from her in the future.
I do wish that we'd gotten to know more about the other characters - the brief forays into their lives were not satisfactory enough. I'd like to hear more from Kennie and Julia and Liam and even Liz's mom. Also, I'm not entirely sure I love the ending. It wrapped up pretty quickly and I'm not sure that I liked the direction. But, I can understand Zhang's choice and I'm sure other readers will like the ending more than I did.
Overall, I think this book is very deserving of the buzz it's been getting and I think it's going to be a bit hit with teen readers.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.