Monday, October 20, 2014

Amy Zhang's Haunting Debut, FALLING INTO PLACE

“She is human and bound by the same laws of nature—gravity, in particular—as everyone else. Try as she might, she will never grow wings.”

Liz Emerson has decided that the world would be better off without her. She gives herself a week to plan her departure and to give the world one last shot at convincing her to stay. The story is told from a unique perspective, multiple time periods, and through snapshots of Liz’s childhood. On paper that sounds like it would be confusing. But it’s not. In fact, it makes the story that much more interesting. Add to that perceptive, completely beautiful writing and you have a winner. I loved this book.

The author walks a very fine line with the Liz's character. She’s so hurtful and deliberate in her actions towards her friends and students who cross her. But being inside Liz’s head, you feel where she’s coming from, and somehow I rooted for her. It’s a delicate balance that the author pulls off smoothly. If I don’t like the main character, I’ll easily put a book down. What’s the point of reading someone’s story if you don’t care about them. It was important to see the growth from where Liz was as a child and the journey that led her to now.

The unique narration and flashbacks made the story more intriguing. The writing is lovely. It’s perceptive and feels authentic. The relationships are what really wrenched my heart.The way Liz’s mom neglects her hits hard, but then we still feel for her mom, since we know she’s in pain. Also, the way Liz hurts her loyal friends when she really just wants to support them.

The book is beautiful, haunting, and thoughtful.

I couldn't locate a book trailer, but I'll refer you to Epic Reads "20 Elegant Quotes from Falling into Place."  They put together their favorite quotes from the book, many with striking images. That should give you an idea of how lovely Zhang's writing is in Falling into Place.