Hey! Today I thought it would be interesting to compare two novels by Amy Zhang, This is Where the World Ends and Falling into Place. So having read these both quite recently, there's a lot of similarities that I noticed and a few differences. Although you can tell Amy Zhang has quite a distinct writing style. If you don't want to be spoiled, I might warn you not to read this post quite yet since it may contain a good few spoilers.
First both Falling into Place and This is Where the World Ends both are written in split time. I really like this and it's still a bit different. In This is Where the World Ends the novel is divided into two split parts, Micah narrates the after and Janie narrates the before. Whereas in Falling into Place there's quite a few different time frames the story is told in. We don't know the narrator though it's the same one the whole way through, the time fluctuates between while she's actually driving, so right before the crash to before and after. There's quite a lot of different time frames before, such as while Liz is in middle school, while she's in high school. The focus in Falling into Place seems more to be on building the stories of Liz's life and how she came to be. Whereas in This is Where the World Ends it's more focused on the immediate events that causes Janie to do what she did.
Both books follow suicide as a main theme, one makes their attempt and one doesn't. Both go through the build up to why the characters thought suicide was their one option and also followed the aftermath and the grief of the people who love them. Falling into Place had a much bigger scheme of why Liz wanted to end it while Janie in This is Where the World Ends seemed to decide very rash and spur of the moment and it built very quickly. We immediately knew in Falling into Place into was a suicide but it was only unravelled towards the end of This is Where the World Ends that it was in fact a suicide.
Liz and Janie are both very destructive people. Janie was destructive in a less obvious way than Liz was, Liz also dragged a lot more people down than Janie initially did. I think Liz was also less obviously crazy, whereas Janie was kind of completely off the rails. Neither of them were in good mental spaces which showed in different ways. Liz acted out against her peers meanwhile Janie made her own world. They had different ways of coping and neither of them were really coping at all. I think Liz knew she was getting bad and she wanted help but I don't think Janie realised how far she was spiralling until something bad happened and even then I don't think she realised how bad she was, I'm not sure that makes sense or not but I hope you get what I mean.