Monday, August 11, 2014

{ARC Review} Falling Into Place: Amy Zhang

Rating: 9.75/10
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction,
Recommended For Fans Of: Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver), If I Stay (Gayle Forman), Thirtreen Reasons Why (Jay Asher), Catalyst (Laurie Halse Anderson)
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count: 296
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Once Upon a Time Bookstore (Montrose, CA) via Greenwillow an imprint of HarperCollins

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. 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 now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Disclaimer: I received this novel from Once Upon a Time Bookstore in exchange for an honest review.

*trumpets blare* Welcome Falling Into Place! Welcome into the much coveted list of Contemporsry novels that I will always remember and dominate all the "Best of 2014" lists.

Before I start talking about my feelings (because you know they are there), you know what time it is.... Backstory time. Let's see how long I have been waiting to read this book since *calculates time* the 12th of January on Fiction_The New Reality when Amy Zhang was featured on New Year, New Books. That is over 6 freaking months, and I am so glad to have had the oppurtunity to read it now (June 28) and not have to wait another THREE months (at the time I'm writing this review). One of my friends (Thank you Ally!) is friends with her local indie book store owner, Maureen, the owner of Once Upon a Time Book Store on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose California. If you're in the area, DEFINITELY check it out, it's an amazing place. Ally obtained the novel for me, and you would not believe how much I freaked out when she told me over the phone.


Onto the actual review. I honestly think I should wait until tomorrow to write this so it will soak in, but it's been so long since I wrote a "feels review" and even though this will sound incoherent, I don't care because I need to express myself. I will admit, it wasn't an insta-love situation between this novel and myself. The narrator (pause for a freak out because of the genius of the narrator) took some getting used to, and the story kind of seemed all over the place in the beginning. But don't worry, if you stick with the book until you get used to the unusual story telling style, you will thank yourself.

Comparisons: In my Instagram Mini-Review (as well as the Goodreads synopsis, but I thought I was totally original when I came up with the comparison) I said that Falling Into Place was similar to, and for fans of the four well-known novels below.

I said that the main character -Liz Emerson- of Falling Into Place was similar to Samantha Kingston of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. The two of them are extremely popular high schoolers, and in normal "popular girl" fashion, they are not the nicest people, and don't always do the right things.

The flashbacks and slivers of memory told to us by the narrator is like Gayle Forman's If I Stay. We get to learn about Liz and the people around her that she has affected, and vice versa. In the duration of both novels, we don't know whether the main characters -Mia and Liz- will make it.

In both Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Falling Into Place, their the constant question looming over everybody's head. "Why?" Why would these seemingly happy girls want to kill themselves? There is also that touch of romance incorporated into the picture with Liam and Clay, two boys who were in love with the main character, even though the main character didn't know either boy existed.

The entire story had a touch of Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson in pertinence to how science came into play - although it was Physics versus Chemistry. If you have read all of those books, you will know that Falling Into Place is one hell (excuse my langugage) of a novel.

The Narrator.... Is an unexpected one, and very hard to describe. Imagine splotches of paint being seemingly randomly thrown onto a canvas, then an artist drawing lines between those splotches, filling some sections in, and adding shadows to other. The entire time this is happening, you have no idea what this artist is doing.... By the end, the most beautiful, genius image is created. All of those lines, splotches, and shapes make sense and then all you can do is stand back in awe of this artist's genius. The older version of the Goodreads Synopsis (found on Fiction_The New Reality) reveals who this narrator is, but in the final one (found on the site as of 6/28/14 and the back of the ARC) all it says is "an unexpected and surprising narrator." I wouldn't advise you read the older version because guessing who is telling the story is part of the experience. Who sees all this? Who knows all? Is it a relative? A childhood friend? Big Brother? God? All of those options and more ran through my head while I read Falling Into Place, and I am happy to say that I did guess correctly.

The Writing Style: This book was written by a teenager.... still in HIGH SCHOOL. Welcome to the reason why I feel like I haven't accomplished anything in my life. I mean, Amy Zhange wrote this novel during NaNoWriMo (one month writing competition -held in November- where people try to write 50,000 words), balancing school, friends, emotions, and everything else that comes with being a teenager. In the letter from Susan Katz (found in the 1st page of the ARC and may not be included in the final edition of Falling Into Place) the president and publisher from HarperCollins, it says "I think she's a very old soul with something to sat to every one of us." Susan Katz is utterly correct and I have never agreed with a statement about a book more than this one.

Amy Zhang seems like one of the most amazing writers EVER who definitely had something to say to me through Falling Into Place, and I would kill to get to know her in person. What I wouldn't give to see how her mind works. The process of figuring out each chapter, and how everything would connect in the end must have been excruciating. Zhang weaves together all of these events in Liz Emerson's life - from 49 minutes before she drives her car off the road to eight years earlier on the day her childhood ended. And it's not only Liz's life that we get to see. As a reader, I also got to know her best friends Kennie and Julia, as well as her not-so-best friends such as Liam, Jordan, and Mackenzie who she had effected. You know as a reader, that I have to have a clear image of who the Main Character is in order to enjoy the story, and Zhang does not disappoint despite how scattered everything seems.

Conclusion: I order EVERYBODY who has read this review to pick up their copy of Falling Into Place on the 9th of September so I can Fangirl with you about all of the feels Amy Zhang has evoked in this thought-provoking, stunningly incredible, and phenomenal debut novel.

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