by Amy Zhang
To be published by Greenwillow Books
on September 9, 2014
Source: e-ARC from publisher for review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?My take: Falling Into Place has a pretty "jumpy" narrative. Not only does it switch from third person POV to first person POV, from present tense to past tense, it also jumps around in time: during the crash, immediately after the crash, five months before the crash. There's an omniscient nsrrator who and can see and discuss what all different characters are doing or had done.
I'm not typically a fan of books with that much narrative jumping around, but Falling Into Place is one of those "puzzle piece" books -- like 13 Reasons Why -- in which each person/perspective/scene provides a piece of the puzzle. In the case of this story, the puzzle is why rich, popular Liz decided to try to kill herself.
While I enjoyed this book and did appreciate the narrative experimentation, I can't say the story had a huge emotional impact on me. I found Liz hard to relate to at first -- she's a girl who seems to have every possible advantage but only uses it to be mean and horrible. And for me, the "let's look at this situation from every possible angle" approach gave this story a sense of detachment that definitely rubbed off on me as a reader. The book was also philosophical in a way that felt a little depressing, with a sort of "futility of life" mentality. But the ending was unexpected, and I liked that.
If you're a reader who likes contemporary YA and enjoys books that experiment with storytelling techniques, definitely give this a try. It reminded me quite a bit of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, so if you're looking for a book that's similar, definitely give Falling Into Place a try.
by Anna Carey
To be published on September 16, 2014
by Harper Teen
Source: e-ARC from the publisher for review.
Synopsis adapted from Goodreads: You wake up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on you. With only minutes to react, you hunch down and the train speeds over you. You don’t remember your name, where you are, or how you got there. You have a tattoo on the inside of your right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing you know for sure: people are trying to kill you. On the run for your life, you try to untangle who you are and what happened to the person you used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than you ever imagined.
I also didn't realize that Blackbird was the first book of a duology, so I wasn't expecting an unresolved ending. Plus, like all the soapiest soap operas, this book uses amnesia as cover to set up a messy, love triangle-y romantic situation toward the end of the story. Sigh. But I did like the writing in this book, so I will tune in to the next installment to see how things turn out.