Title: How We Fall Apart
Author: Katie Zhao
Review by: Dani Hoots
In a YA thriller that is Crazy Rich Asians meets One of Us is Lying, students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.
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.
Katie Zhao’s YA debut is an edge-of-your-seat drama set in the pressure-cooker world of academics and image at Sinclair Prep, where the past threatens the future these teens have carefully crafted for themselves. How We Fall Apart is the irresistible, addicting, Asian-American recast of Gossip Girl that we’ve all been waiting for.
I am a big fan of dark academia, so Katie Zhao’s HOW WE FALL APART was a wonderful addition to my collection! I loved getting to learn more about the main character and her secrets as time passed in the book instead of it all being dumped on at once. It was suspenseful and such a great read.
Some people say they thought it was a lot like ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen McManus, but I didn’t feel that was the case. Although some stuff is similar, like the fact it’s at a high school and is a mystery, the twists and turns weren’t predictable at all. It was very well written and different compared to other dark academia due to the fact it deals with issues that some, if not many, Asian Americans face. I love that more diverse books are getting published and will always keep supporting those books.
All in all, if you love dark academia, be sure to check out this book! Katie Zhao has another book coming this year and I cannot wait to devour it like I did this one!