Posted 20 hours ago

How We Fall Apart

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How We Fall Apart was deliciously dark and gritty, featuring an Asian main cast and set in a private school (Sinclair Prep) with high stakes competition the moment you step in the doors (enough there’s even murder involved).

Nancy, Krystal, Akil, and Alexander find them terrified of their secrets coming out and the author slowly realises each of their secrets to keep you on edge through the book which leads to The Incident secret (a secret they were all involved in) finally coming to explosive ending. From early on in the story, we’re told Nancy, Alexander, Krystal and Akil are no longer as close as they once were, but it definitely doesn’t feel that way at all. 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.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. When Jamie doesn't show up for Honors night, Nancy thinks it's her chance to step into the spotlight and finally claim her spot at the top. I loved reading the story from Nancy’s perspective as a student who didn’t grow up as privileged as most of her classmates and having to be twice as ambitious to carve her place into their world. Horrible, twisted misdeeds, for the chance to have everything, everything this school had promised us.

She has a GIF for nearly everything, probably listens to too much K-Pop and is generally in an existential crisis of sorts (she's trying her best). That being said, there are common Asian stereotypes perpetuated in the novel – but I personally didn’t think too much of it since I assumed it was commentary. I appreciated the punchy ends to the chapters, but sometimes the short sentences back-to-back landed in a rhythm that became almost overused. We get a glimpse of all the darkness that comes with trying to stay on top like abuse, drug use, and parental neglect.With everything to gain, and so much to lose, Nancy is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her spot at the school leading her to increasingly ruthless choices as the novel progresses. A good mystery will immerse the reader and propel them further, so when the identity is revealed, it should be a shock and make sense to the reader. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. 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. 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.

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