Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

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It took me some time to finish the book and by some time I mean around two weeks. Not because the book is not good, it’s actually the opposite, but because I have other things to attend to.

Falling into Place is a really good book. Somehow it really pulled me in. I find my heart aching for Liz Emerson. There’s this rawness and pureness that I felt which I couldn’t really explain. I’m not fond of stories told in a 3rd person point of view but the way the novel was told; it seems that the 3rd person fit it well.

The story’s about the struggles in life of Liz Emerson, a popular and bitchy student of Meridian High. Well, maybe not really bitchy bitchy. She’s just apathetic and indifferent that she’s being a bitch even if she doesn’t intend to. It’s the story of how she struggles to find meaning in her life and a reason to go on. It’s a story of how she lost hope in anything and everything, blaming everything on herself, thus deciding that the world would be a better place without her. It’s a story of her accident-disguised suicide and how it affected the people around her and her relationships.

If we’re gonna take a look at it, on the surface, Liz Emerson is the typical popular bitch in a high school setting. You’re either gonna love her or hate her. You can’t help but to notice her even if you don’t want to. You can’t help but admire her and wish to be her even if you despise her. However, the book shows us that even with all the reputation surrounding her, even with all the admiration and looks, she’s broken just like everybody else. She unknowingly is the way she is because she just is.

The book also took the story telling in analogy with Newton’s laws of motion. And even though I really didn’t grasp fully how the laws connect to the story, I find them endearing and essential. Newton’s first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force. In relation to the book, this may have applied to Meridian wherein Liz Emerson is the force. Life at Meridian might have stayed the same for its residents if not for Liz Emerson’s coming. It may also apply to the strained relationship between Liz and her mother as well as Julia’s and Kennie’s. It may have applied to Liam’s secret affection for Liz Emerson wherein nothing’s changing since he’s not acting on it. Basically, this first law can be applied to each and everyone’s lives.

“NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.”

Whether it’s for the worse or the best is a different matter.

Newton’s second law of motion states that the force acting on an object is equal to the mass of that object times its acceleration (F=ma).  Gossip is what first comes to mind relating to the story. The force or the impact of gossip or rumor depends on the importance (mass) and how fast it travels. When the news of Liz’s car crashed spread, the impact was huge. She was after all Liz Emerson.

The third law of motion of Newton is the most famous in my opinion. It states that there is for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Being the bitch that she is, Liz Emerson has done a lot of stupid things in her life that affected the people around her – from the side girl of his on-and-off boyfriend, to the ‘unpopular’ kids of the school, to people who hurt her friends, to Liam. And she was wondering why no one got back to her given Newton’s third law. Why did no one take revenge? But she thought wrong. She maybe expecting the ‘same’ thing to get back at her – the rumor that she spread, the vandalism she did. Little did she know that life has a funny way of getting back at all for all her wrong doings. The silence that she’s experiencing, the distant mother, the guilt, all these are the repercussions of her actions.

I really appreciate the 3rd person POV of the story and when it was revealed that the story teller is Liz’s old self, the childhood one she has lost, the one she has forgotten, the one she doesn’t remember, it made me love the novel all the more.

Suicide is not a laughing matter and it can affect ANYONE. There’s a lot going on in a person’s mind even if it doesn’t show on the outside. People are always trying to find at least just one thing, one thing to hold onto. To make living bearable, to make living this hell of a life worth it. But when’s all hope is lost, and you give up trying to hold onto anything, that’s when everything sinks in. And maybe, just maybe, we only need a few words, a few gestures, maybe just one person for us to get our acts together and for everything to fall into place.

The book shows us that maybe, just maybe, it is when we thought everything’s over and we gave up all hope that everything will finally fall into place.

Falling into Place is a novel I’d recommend and I’ll be looking forward to more of Amy Zhang’s stories.

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