Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.How We Fall Apart (How We Fall Apart #1) by Katie Zhao
Published by Bloomsbury YA on August 17, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult Fiction
Format: eBook (352 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
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.
I don’t read a lot of thriller-type books, but How We Fall Apart sounded like a high stakes Gossip Girl and caught my interest. It started off strong with our narrator, Nancy, giving a speech in place of Jamie who has gone missing. Then she speech is interrupted when someone replaces a slide with an ominous note…a note that Nancy wrote, but no one knows that! Then Jamie turns up dead and an anonymous person known as The Proctor suggests that Nancy or three other of Jamie’s former friends are the murder! Uh oh!
Unfortunately, How We Fall Apart goes down quite fast from there. While I wanted to know everybody’s deepest darkest secrets, I honestly didn’t care that much, because I didn’t know these characters at all. And the secrets weren’t that juicy, except Nancy’s. There’s also all this build up surrounding “the Incident” which is a secret that all four former friends shared with Jamie, but by time that’s revealed, I had already mostly checked out.
Even the big showdown at the end with The Proctor was a let down. I still wanted to know who it was just for curiosity’s sake, but that was a bust. Like I said, we don’t get to know the characters at all, so I wasn’t shocked or even intrigued when they revealed themself. It was just like…oh? This character was barely a blip on my radar and they have to give a grand monologue to explain why they did what they did, because of course, we don’t know anything about them or their past! Honestly, How We Fall Apart could have been condensed to just that chapter and still made sense.