Book Talk: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”


Liz Emerson, a popular junior, decides to drive herself off the road and into the tree. Nobody knows, except the mysterious narrator who pieces Liz’s story together for us, that she did it on purpose — everyone assumes it was an accident because of an icy road. The story unfolds as Liz’s family, friends, and classmates find out and cope with the news and flips back and forth to the past and the present to tell the story.



I gave you my early thoughts on this book and I still can’t stop thinking about it to be honest. I know it’s been a tough read for some because they hate the characters or didn’t like the storytelling but this book was a major WIN for me!  So let’s talk about it.

1. You will hate all the characters mostly: At first I was like GOOD GOD THESE PEOPLE ARE AWFUL and it’s not even like they ever become super loveable characters even by the end. But I felt like page by page these characters and their relationships with one another got even more and more stripped down and dissected and it made them more vulnerable to me. They weren’t just one dimensional even if they gave that vibe in the beginning for me.  You see characters who have become something that they probably would have never imagined themselves being and you would think it would be simple for them to just change and stop being awful human beings but sometimes you don’t realize how deep you are in and when you do change seems impossible.

2. It’s a really quiet kind of novel but made a huge visceral reaction within me that I didn’t expect: I wouldn’t say I was 100% into this novel at first but rather it was the kind of book that page by page crept up on me and dug it’s claws into me. I seriously had that pit in my stomach feeling as I kept reading faster and faster and the devastation plowed through me like a wrecking ball to the heart and made all my insides crumble. It was a combination of the way the story was told, the plot and all of these really unhealthy relationships. I just felt like I was propelled forward by how sick this book made me feel at times and I just needed to find out how it would end. It made me weep at 1am and I just wanted to curl up in a little ball because it made me feel just a litttttlle bit too much. The emotional response I had to this one surprised me and suddenly my cheeks were damp and my heart hurt.

3. I LOVED how this story was told as it was super unique and really effective: I’m not going to tell you who the narrator is but it kept me guessing a little bit until it dawned on me who it could be. We aren’t told who they are and they can see and know everything but slowly you begin to figure out who it is telling the story. I also really loved the non-linear way in which this story was told. All the flashbacks and detours made my mounting anxiety even more heightened.

4. PRETTY PRETTY WORDS: I loved the prose so much. For example: “She looked around and saw all the broken things in her wake, and then she looked inside herself and saw the spidering cracks from the weight of all the things she had done. She hated what she was and didn’t know how to change, and half an hour before she drove her car off the road, she saw that despite all of that, she didn’t have enough force to stop the world from turning. But she had enough to stop her own.”


factors+ writing, storytelling, emotional response, uniqueness

Re-readability: YEP I would because it’s one of those books where I almost NEED to go back and read it again.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes!

a5people who like quiet novels that really dissect the characters, people who want lovely prose, people who like unique narrators, lovers of the complexities of human interaction and motives, people who don’t mind not loving characters, people who like “darker” contemporary YA (because this certainly isn’t LIGHT)

a8Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang probably isn’t going to be for everyone but it was definitely a ME book. Quiet and unassuming and then an onslaught of emotional chaos for me by the end. I loved the beautiful prose and the unique narration and how it added to my mounting “pit-in-the-stomach” feeling while reading this one. I felt it all. Can’t wait to read more from Amy Zhang — she’s brilliant!

review-on-post-itFalling Into Place by Amy Zhang


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this book feel like something you’d be into?
* Did you guess who the narrator was?


The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. This book looks really good. Great review!

  2. A review copy is on its way to me as I am typing this comment and I can’t wait to read it! This book is one of my most anticipated reads and I hope I’ll end up loving it as much as you do. Maybe my expectations are set pretty high, but I have been wanting to read it for so long, and I just need it to be brilliant!

    (and lucky for me, judging from your post, it’ll be everything I wish this book to be! *crosses fingers*)
    Thanks for sharing this Jamie! I’ll go back to stalking the mailman now 😉

    • I hope you feel the way I feel for it!!!! I did see some MEH reviews for it so maybe know there are those to help level out those expectations 😛 But I thought it was brilliant. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK WHEN YOUR READ IT — on Twitter, here, carrier pigeon etc.

  3. I haven’t heard of this one until now, but it’s going on the list. I’m obsessed with storytelling lately and becoming a better storyteller. I’m definitely more critical when I read, as an author.

  4. Don’t get freaked out but I’ll be a stalker of your blog! I just love how you write your reviews and express your thoughts and that rating system? Love it!! This not considering the post-it thingie 😛
    Soooo… I haven’t read this book but I honestly can’t wait to read it!! What you said about the prose? I just looove a good written prose, it amazes me every single time! Also, there’s physics and stuff like that involved? I think this is gonna be a “me” book as well! 😀
    I’m looking forward to getting to know you better, fellow reader! 😉

  5. I’ve heard so many good things about this book!!! I need to read it soon. It seems like such an emotional and raw kind of read.

  6. Wonderful review, Jamie! I’m so glad you loved this one! I read this for review as well and absolutely fell in love with it. I can’t wait for Amy to publish something else.

  7. It’s wonderful that you enjoyed Falling Into Place so, Jamie! I wish I’d been able to feel more connected to the novel, but alas, that was not the case for me. I did like it though! Zhang uses lovely writing to tell Liz’ story in a way that’s really unique, and I definitely appreciated that.

  8. I know I’m creeping at this point because it’s been more than a month since you posted this, but I bookmarked it back then since I hadn’t read it yet. But I finished! I don’t know many people who’ve read this yet so I just needed to TALK about it somewhere! LOL.

    Your reaction upon finishing – *curls up in fetal postion* – ME TOO! That last page got to me so bad! The story did such a fabulous job of building up the ugly characters, Liz’s ugly deeds, ugly thoughts, all that turmoil and in the end I didn’t know what was going to happen but that story just demanded an emotional release. I don’t even cry for many books! (although this has been changing this year because I keep crying more and more.) I enjoyed it about equally to If I Stay, which so far has been my ultimate emotional book.

    I agree 100% with your review. Especially about the characters. They were awful and so easily could have been shallow stereotypes but Amy Zhang did a great job adding depth to that popular mean girl archetype. I could not put this book down!

  9. I absolutely loved this book. It was haunting beautiful, I loved how it was written and I hated most of the characters but came to love them and their flaws. (Spoiler alert)
    I know I’m probably right but is the narrator her dad? And the ending does it indicate she’s alive?

  10. SPOILER ALERT* I just wish I knew who the narrator was, it was a girls point of view, she spoke about being best friends with Liz, wearing dresses, and being at the incident where he father fell off the roof.

    • The narrator was her imaginary friend from when she was little! I think that’s another reason why I loved it so much…to have the “imaginary friend” be the narrator because they would see all and know all because they are a figment of her mind.