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How We Fall Apart – Katie Zhao

Thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.

How We Fall Apart is a dark academia YA thriller which is perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying. Being a fan of both One of Us is Lying and dark academia thrillers, I had to give this one a read. I have seen many different reviews of this book and wanted to share my thoughts!

This book is a fast-paced, riveting and impactful story about Asian-American students making mistakes all whilst trying to survive the pressure they are facing in their hyper-competitive school environment.

The story takes place at Sinclair Prep, an elite high school that is ranked number one in every academic race possible. The story is told by Nancy Luo whose parents are immigrants who came to American to pursue their dreams and who was given a full scholarship to the Sinclair Prep. Nancy tries hard to defeat Jamie Ruan who is the top ranked junior. It is very obvious she would do terrible things to take that rank away from Jamie. So, when Jamie is found dead Nancy is one of the main suspects.

The other three suspects are Akil, Alexander and Krystal who used to be Jamie’s best friends along with Nancy. But, after the ‘incident’ they grew apart. They all have secrets and reasons to cause harm to Jamie and reasons they could be the killer.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how all the seccrets affected the character and how each character was written into the story. Each character is unique and we watch them grow throughout the book. I don’t want to say much else about them as I feel this is a book where you need to learn about the characters as you read.

How We Fall Apart brings to light a lot of important discussions. It has a lot of discussions about different family dynamics, friendships and expectations. Although this book does heavily focus on the mystery, there are real discussions and insight into the Asian-American culture and the hopes that immigrants have of wanting a better for their children. Please check the trigger warnings before going into this book as someone of the topics are in a lot of detail.

I thoroughly enjoy Katie Zhao’s writing style and I am looking forward to reading further books from her. How We Fall Apart is a thrilling, mysterious and fast-paced YA thriller that I enjoyed and I am looking forward to the possibility of a second book in this series!

Overall, I would highly recommend this dark academia YA thriller if you are looking for something fast-paced and mysterious. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m sure many others will too.

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