Thursday, June 4, 2015

Book Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Quick Facts
My Rating: 4 stars

Series: N/A

Date Read: May 11, 2015

Source: Purchased ebook

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genres: Young adult, contemporary


Liz is in the hospital after a failed suicide attempt. Through a not-quite third person, mystery narrator, we get to see the people in Liz's life both before and after the crash. We also get to see the events that led up to Liz's decision to end her life.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is that it made me care so much about Liz, although on the surface she's an incredibly unlikable character. Even deep down, she has her reasons for what she does - but they aren't good enough, and she knows that. It was really difficult to see her bullying progress, and to see her do things she knew were wrong from the start. But I still wanted her to make it out of the hospital alive, and the credit for that goes to the amazing writing in this book. I liked Liz - and the entire cast of flawed, unlikable characters - so much that I was on the brink of tears while reading.

The mystery perspective was really cool as well. It kept me guessing most of the way through the book, and it symbolized so much for Liz. This really was the perfect way to tell the story. There were also 'snapshots' between some of the chapters, in which we got to see a brief few paragraphs of Liz as a child. They were so great that I kept hoping there would be one at the end of each chapter, and was a bit disappointed when there wasn't!

Going back to the characters, I do have to say that I wish Liam - who is a rather minor character - were more flawed. Everyone else made mistakes and had major flaws, but Liam's greatest flaw was stereotyping people. Since everyone in the book did this (and everyone in real life does too, to an extent), I wish he had another defining flaw. I'm guessing he was written that way to make him seem more likable, and it worked, but he could have been more human while still being a good person.

The ending also felt a bit sudden. After spending so long with the characters, and with Liz in the hospital, I would have liked to see more details regarding what happened.

I should also say that this book reminded me a lot of If I Stay. There were many parallels - a girl in the hospital after a car crash, a (potential) love interest who plays an instrument, the best friends who hated each other in the beginning. Both books also switched between past and present tense. Of course, along with that there were differences - the characters here were much different, and more flawed. The suicide aspect added a lot to the story, as well as the bullying that happened before the suicide attempt. They are two different stories, and I loved each equally, but I'm not sure I would recommend this to someone who did not enjoy If I Stay. I also think that the similarities might bother some readers who have read both books, while other readers (like me!) will be excited at the similarities and enjoy both.

Overall, this was a great story with deep, heartfelt writing, and I enjoyed every bit of it. The characters were most definitely the best part of the book, and their abundance of flaws made them seem human and real. The short chapters and various story lines kept me hooked all the way through, making the book almost impossible to put down.


  1. Wonderful review! I thoroughly enjoyed this book too. Its actually probably one of my favourite of the year. I didn't pick up on the If I Stay similarities until you pointed it out actually. But I'm kind of glad I didn't notice because I really didn't like that book... and it probably would have put me off. :)

    1. Thank you! To me the similarities were really clear, but it's probably because If I Stay was my favorite book for quite awhile and one of the few I've reread - so I know the story well, haha. Glad you didn't notice though, if it would have kept you from reading a favorite :)

  2. I like that you get to see deeper into her character than simply what is on the surface and you get to find out there is more to her than what you originally see when you look. Sounds cool!

    1. That was definitely a great aspect of the book!