Young adult novel touches on sensitive issues in high school

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Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang, a recent high school graduate, is a novel that focuses on the harsh realities that high schools kids undergo. When student Liz Emerson drives her Mercedez- Benz into a tree, questions arise on why the most popular girl in school would commit such an act. Photo by Sarah Reyes/ Contributor

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang, a recent high school graduate, is a novel that focuses on the harsh realities that high schools kids undergo. When student Liz Emerson drives her Mercedez- Benz into a tree, questions arise on why the most popular girl in school would commit such an act. Photo by Sarah Reyes/ Contributor

Review by Sarah Reyes

Title: Falling Into Place

Author: Amy Zhang

Original Publication Date: September 6th, 2014

Original Price: $10.99 (Paperback/Ebook), $17.99 (Hardcover)

Number of Pages: 304

Synopsis: Liz Emerson is one of the most popular girls in school. Not only is she active in school teams, but she gets invited to every party. So why does the girl who seems to have everything, decide to drive her Mercedes into a tree?

Falling into Place is the debut novel of recent high school graduate, Amy Zhang.

*Disclaimer: This review is based off of an Advance Reader (Uncorrected Proof) Copy*

On the outside, Falling into Place can seem like a traditional Young Adult novel but on the inside it is quite the opposite. One thing that truly draws one’s attention is the story’s non-linear plot. Most stories, especially Young Adult novels, are told from a linear standpoint, that is: the plot has a definite beginning A. that continues the story onto B. and C., never going back to the A. or B. time-frame. Where as in Falling into Place, the plot jumps from various points in the main character’s life, highlighting the instances and reasons that popular Liz Emerson decides to take her own life.

In this novel, Zhang brings to light the harshness of reality in a high school setting. Adults can be quick to pass teenagers problems as just that, “teenage problems.” But Zhang does an incredible job at reiterating that just because someone is a teenager does not mean they aren’t dealing with extreme, and real, problems.

Zhang writes about very complex themes and topics that readers of all ages can identify with. She does not shy away from the hardships of sexual harassment, depression, bullying, suicide or rape. While the scenes depicting these themes may be cringeworthy, they’re definitely not graphic. Zhang wrote such an enriching story in such a simple way that it’s something to marvel at.

The character development of Liz Emerson alone is heart-wrenching, to say the least. Each character Zhang created adds to the story. There is no fill-in character. They all play a very important part in her final decision. The story is unconventional and well-written, adding to its certain appeal.

Not only is it non-linear, mostly being told through flashbacks, but the narrator becomes part of the mystery. As the reader, you find yourself not only wanting to find out why she decided to kill herself, but wonder, who is telling her story?

Any reader of Young Adult novels, whether avid or not, can see that Amy Zhang’s Falling into Place is going to be one of the next big stories in the genre. Not only for young adults but absolutely for adults as well. It is the perfect cross-over between the Adult Fiction and Young Adult Fiction genres.

The raw emotion and themes, mixed in with the mystery of this novel, will be enough to keep the reader interested until the very end and left with a thirst for more.

Rating: ????? 4 out of 5 stars

Similar Books:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini