Twists and Moral Grayness: My How We Fall Apart Review

I'm always down to try out a good thriller, and since my bookstagram friends were raving about Katie Zhao's new book How We Fall Apart, I had to give it a try! Especially since the premise sounded relatively similar to One of Us Is Lying, which was the book that started my YA thriller kick way back when.

Turns out, while How We Fall Apart has a familiar basic premise, it has so much more to offer the YA thriller genre!

Book Title: How We Fall Apart
Author: Katie Zhao
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury YA, 2021
Genre: Thriller
Number of Pages (According to Goodreads): 352
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):

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.

Students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.

Hate Purple Prose? You're In Luck!

This was such a gripping, fast read! It’s a pretty short book, so it’s perfect for getting out of a reading slump. I didn’t totally vibe with the writing style because I found it a little simplistic/straightforward, but that just means that this book is perfect for you if you’re not a fan of flowery language.

The themes definitely aren't simplistic at all -- the book grapples with racism, the model minority myth, and stigma around mental health. I really appreciate books that can handle complicated subjects without getting grandiose about it, and this book definitely hits the mark there!

Twists Upon Twists

Katie Zhao is a master of weaving flashbacks and the main story together, and I never felt like I was more interested in the past or the present day. It was all equally interesting and twisty! And oh, the twists -- they kept me guessing all the way through. I didn’t guess who the killer was at all, but it made total sense in retrospect!

I also loved the morally gray cast of characters -- everyone had a secret to hide, and they all had their reasons for doing some not-very-great things. This is what I LIVE for!

Trigger and Content Warnings for How We Fall Apart

This book may not be for you if you're sensitive to discussions/depictions of racism, violence, panic attacks, self harm, parental neglect/abuse, suicidal thoughts, violence, drug use, and an inappropriate student/teacher relationship.

Final Thoughts

Basically if you’re looking for something short, fast, twisty, and easy to read that still incorporates complex themes, this book is definitely for you!

How We Fall Apart is available everywhere, so check out the links below if you want to snag your own copy:

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  2. Thrilled by the Twists and Moral Grayness in 'How We Fall Apart'! 📚🔍 Having heard rave reviews from my bookstagram pals, I couldn't resist diving into Katie Zhao's latest masterpiece. The premise, reminiscent of 'One of Us Is Lying,' intrigued me from the start. Turns out, it's not just a familiar plot – 'How We Fall Apart' brings a fresh perspective to the YA thriller genre, Professional Car Photo Editing Service