This post will probably get very pretentious very quickly, but I really hope you'll stick it out. It's worth it.
This isn't a review blog. I have a review blog already (markmyreviews.com), and I'm not a double-dipper.
But. My critique partner wrote this book. My first critique partner, actually, not to mention a close friend of mine.
So: I'm going to review her book now, in three parts. This is a weird, unique experience, and I'm 1000% sure I'm going to start crying at some point, but hey.
FALLING INTO PLACE used to be called something else that I'm not sure I'm allowed to disclose, so I won't. Amy sent me the first page (literally a picture of one handwritten page) in an email that looked CONSPICUOUSLY LIKE THIS:
Then I gave her notes, the majority of which were "I'm going to cry during this book, aren't I?"
She wrote it in 2012. I got it in installments—a chapter here, fifty pages there, and eventually I had a book in my inbox. Amy sent me an email titled "For Your Aerial Perusal" with the full manuscript attached because I was going to read it on a plane (I was going to Texas), but I actually didn't read it until after I got off the plane. Relatedly: I'm stupid.
I gave her notes on the book. Honestly, this was the second complete book I'd critiqued ever—the first was also by Amy—and so I basically did line edits for her instead of big picture ones. I cried four times; I remember that for some reason I can't articulate.
I don't want to say "I knew this was special" or whatever because it's so cliche you wouldn't believe me if I said it. As Amy puts it, "We erode words," and I don't want to erode them further. But this book...I don't know. It was different. It had some quality to it I couldn't identify, but one I knew made it unique.
I loved it. And it made me fall in further (wonderfully platonic) love with Amy.
Amy edited her book like holy hell—although honestly, it was the best first draft I'd ever read. She sent it to her agent (tangentially: her agent is amazing), who put it on submission, yadda yadda yadda, stuff I'm not sure I could say if I wanted to—
Greenwillow wanted to buy it. Greenwillow/HarperCollins. The publisher, in fact, of Greenwillow/HarperCollins wanted to buy it.
Amy sent me a text I no longer have—boo, stupid phone—that basically said "YOU NEED TO CALL ME IMMEDIATELY." I was at school with my phone turned off, though, so I didn't see it until mid-afternoon.
When I got out, I turned my phone on, read her text, and walked home shaking. Physically shaking because I was so excited, and I didn't know what was going on but it didn't matter because Amy was excited and therefore so was I.
I got home. She'd emailed our critique group forty-five minutes earlier, saying that Greenwillow had offered on her book.
FALLING INTO PLACE is about Liz Emerson. It is about her actions and her reactions, and the actions and reactions of those around her. It is about physics, and it is about math and science and empirical things.
It is about disastrous love. It is about hate, shame, humiliation, lies. It is about pretending the world is younger, about imagination and friends and mothers and perfection. It is about crying and silly things and how sometimes the world fails you.
It is about love that binds you, love that fills you up until you've forgotten you were empty; love that tries to kill you.
It is about yes.
And I can't wait for you to read it.