Release: August 17th 2021
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Back of the Book: 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.
By Alex B.
Dark academia isn’t a genre I normally read. How We Fall Apart was recommended to me because of its similarity to One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus, a book I absolutely adore. Though, I wouldn’t categorize it as dark academia.
After reading How We Fall Apart, dark academia books just may be added to my TBR more often. The thing I loved most about the book is how straight to the point it is. The story doesn’t linger or take up too much time trying to set up the plot. And when it comes to mystery books, I like to dive right in.
“A kid at our school died, and my parents’ biggest concern is my calc grade. Smh —Anon”– page. 27
One of my biggest pet-peeves with this book and the reason for the 3 ½ star rating is the lack of multiple character POVs. With a group of characters this big, it would have been nice to see the story and secrets unfold from everyone’s perspective. I feel like I was cheated out of getting the whole story.
Despite this critique, How We Fall Apart leading lady Nancy Luo held her own. Nancy wasn’t an innocent wallflower and that’s something I liked most about following the story through her eyes. Most YA mysteries tend to place their females leads in a likable position, but Katie Zhao managed to make me question if Nancy wasn’t worth rooting for on multiple occasions.
“A mask, carved like an ice sculpture, on the verge of cracking.”– PAGE. 24
I do give Nancy the benefit of the doubt because as much as she wanted to help Jamie, the abuse she suffered at the hands of her so-called friend made it hard for her to truly sympathize.
How We Fall Apart sent me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and I loved every minute of it. This book had so many twists, turns, and an epic reveal I genuinely didn’t see coming.