She would be an object in motion that would stay in motion, even if it meant flattening everything in her path.
One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? This haunting, 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?
Zhang writes in a way and with a plot that's eerily similar to how I write, which gives me confidence. This was a gorgeous story about life, death, and the impact one can have on another's life.
This was written in an extremely nonlinear fashion which really lent itself to the story. Liz has been on all sides of the court and has made choices she hasn't been proud of that have changed her perspective on life. She's a very empathetic person and has a lot of feelings towards the people she loves and the people she doesn't which plays itself out. The present tense was honestly one of the strongest aspects of the story.
There was a repetitive theme of physics that I might have found scary if it hadn't had a deeper connection and meaning that was cleverly woven in.
The story was told from a very unique perspective. It didn't really add much to the book, but it was a fun mystery to think about and an intriguing point of view from which to tell a story. I'd like to see this expanded in a different book, but in a way it was wasted here.
I didn't like the ending. But I think most people would like the ending. No spoilers.
In a way, a lot of people have a morbid curiosity as to how people would react and what they'd do if we ended up dead or in a life threatening situation. Liam, Jake, Kenny, Julia, and Liz's mother all had very different reactions but these were all somehow appropriate and added to how we saw Liz as a character.
I loved this book, I really did. I think it touches upon depression in a new and real way and offers a fantastic perspective. I'm looking forward to more of Zhang's work.