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Falling into Place
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Falling into Place
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One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. This haunting and heartbreaking story is told by a surprising and unexpected narrator and unfolds in nonlinear flashbacks...
One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. This haunting and heartbreaking story is told by a surprising and unexpected narrator and unfolds in nonlinear flashbacks...
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Description-

  • One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. This haunting and heartbreaking story is told by a surprising and unexpected narrator and unfolds in nonlinear flashbacks even as Liz's friends, foes, and family gather at the hospital and Liz clings to life. This riveting debut will appeal to fans of Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, and 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.

    "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 did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? The 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.

About the Author-

  • Amy Zhang was born in China, grew up in Wisconsin, and currently lives in New York State.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 21, 2014
    Zhang debuts with the haunting story of a suicide attempt gone awry as high school junior Liz Emerson drives her Mercedes off the road, winding up in a coma. The reasons for Liz’s actions and her substantial self-hatred emerge in chapters that alternate between the present, as friends and family gather at the hospital to find out whether Liz will pull through, and the weeks leading up to the car crash, along with examples of Liz’s cruelty over the years. Among the sources of guilt and pain swirling around Liz’s brain are her father’s death, her mother’s absentee parenting, her friends’ drug problem and abortion (both of which Liz had a hand in), her own struggles with bulimia and loneliness, and the many classmates’ reputations she has helped ruin. At times, the story takes on the feel of a novel-length guilt trip, all but entreating readers to recognize how they could be kinder in their own lives. But Zhang writes with confidence and finesse, and many readers will be moved as Liz recognizes the lives she has damaged. Ages 14–up.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2014
    A teen tries to commit suicide by crashing her car in this debut from an adolescent author.High school junior Liz Emerson hovers between life and death in the hospital after purposefully running her car off the road, while friends, teachers and curious classmates gather to stand watch and hope for the best. Strategically timed flashbacks to weeks, days and minutes before the crash, some voiced by Liz's platitude-spouting childhood imaginary friend, reveal a wealthy, popular girl tortured by regret over her cruel actions against others. Her father died when she was young, and her widowed mother ignores Liz in favor of her globe-trotting job, but Liz knows that's no excuse for getting a friend hooked on drugs, urging another friend to have an abortion and making a mean viral video of a boy who has a crush on her. "Some nights, Liz looked back and counted the bodies, all the lives she had ruined simply by existing. So she chose to stop existing." Will Liz pull through? Depending on whether they identify with Liz or her victims, readers may be split about the novel's abrupt ending. Even though the text is peppered with cliches, the inventive structure and inspired use of the imaginary-friend narrator help overcome the earnest, immature prose and heavy-handed messages.Superior scaffolding, didactic execution. (Fiction. 13-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2014

    Gr 8 Up-Liz Emerson, a junior, "accidentally" runs her car off an icy roadway. Ashamed and depressed about the person she has become; detesting the loneliness when her widowed businesswoman mother travels; tired of being equally admired and deservedly hated by peers, she decides to end it all. Told from the inventive and effective viewpoint of Liz's childhood "imaginary friend," illuminating scenarios fluctuate between the hospital where Liz hangs on to life, to Liz's early youth, to past and present interactions between Liz and those around her. Liz and her two best friends, Kennie and Julia, party hearty often and treat others cruelly, yet it's Liz who confronts the guys' basketball team as they sexually taunt a lesbian classmate. Liz pushes pregnant Kennie to have an abortion, prods Julia into drug dependency, and plots to bully Liam who has a crush on her, yet she silently acknowledges and internalizes her faults, wishing someone would make her pay. After an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to get help, she designates herself as that someone by planning her suicide. Although the subject matter is heavy and there are a few easily brushed-off awkward moments, the breezy yet powerful and exceptionally perceptive writing style, multifaceted characters, surprisingly hopeful ending, and pertinent contemporary themes frame an engrossing, thought-provoking story that will be snapped up by readers of Todd Mitchell's Backwards (Candlewick, 2013) and Gayle Forman's If I Stay (Dutton, 2009.)-Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, CO

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal "The breezy yet powerful and exceptionally perceptive writing style, multifaceted characters, surprisingly hopeful ending, and pertinent contemporary themes frame an engrossing, thought-provoking story that will be snapped up by readers of Todd Mitchell's Backwards and Gayle Forman's If I Stay."
  • Kirkus Reviews "The haunting story of a suicide attempt gone awry as high school junior Liz Emerson drives her Mercedes off the road, winding up in a coma...Zhang writes with confidence and finesse, and many readers will be moved as Liz recognizes the lives she has damaged."
  • Shelf Awareness for Readers "Amy Zhang crashes onto the YA scene with this debut novel about a physics student who puts Newton's Laws of Motion into practice by driving her Mercedes into a tree. . . . A good pick for fans of Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall and Gayle Forman's If I Stay."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books "Insightful . . . it's interesting to see the mean girl through the eyes of the people who love her, despite (and sometimes because of ) her flaws."

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