Katie Zhao: How We Fall Apart (How We Fall Apart, #1)



Ut sure appears to have been popularized by it And why not The biggest gaps between previous generations and Gen Z circle back to technology and social media and ven the distance between Zoomers and Millennials seems to be widening in this sense So yeah ven though a lot of these synopses are starting to sound the same I can t say it isn t relevant to a modern teenage audience I only have one note for authors repeat after me NO MORE PLOTS THAT REVOLVE AROUND EVERY STUDENT IN SCHOOL GETTING MASS TEXTS It is silly and not how texting works Also it seems like a 20 or 30 somethings idea of how teenagers communicate Just likefind a new thingBut back to the story I think the interesting aspects of this book lie in the specific struggles of ach of the central characters including their family wealth thnicity mental health tc The plot while The Enormous Turnip engaging doesn t really offer anything groundbreaking within the genre I wish the characters had been fleshed out for this reason and the text overall felt starved in some places I m not sure what the final page count on this is but my ARC clocked in at about 300 pages so I know there was definitely space for some developmentThe dialogue to me seemed on the younger side of YA a little juvenile Which isn t a swipe at the book or author I imagine a 15 year old wouldnjoy How We Fall Apart than say a 17 or 18 year old but it is going to be different for The Spiritual Combat each person Katie Zhao has previously written middle grade novels so I could see how this would be a naturalxtension for her now that she s moving into a slightly older audience YA books are not going to be written for me nor should they be as I m an adult woman But those couple of years between ages during these formative years really do make a difference at that point in your lifeI wasn t a huge fan of the final reveal twist if I am being completely honest but I am intrigued with the cliffhanger The 32 Stops ending As there s already a planned seuel I mxcited to see where the next book picks up after leaving us all metaphorically hanging There s still a few pretty big secrets up in the air and I m Swimming To Catalina (Stone Barrington, expecting that theventual unfurling of them will finally grant the level of satisfaction that was missing for me in this first installment Thanks to Bloomsbury Netgalley for an advance review copy For book talk reviews follow me on Instagram at The Portable Virgin ellementbooks Dark academia thriller One of us lying meets famous Korean tv series Boys Over Flowers vibes with uiet fast pacing and riveting story and damaged broken characters who did so many mistakes under pressure to survive at the competitive school circle Aren t you still sold The story takes place at Upper West Side Sinclair Prep anlite high school that ranked number one in The Donut Diaries of Dermot Milligan every imaginable universityntrance rates debate championships number of alumni who went on to become US presidents Jamie Ruan is top ranked junior a privileged princess of Sinclair Prep who is a pretty perfectionist student achieving any goal she s designated She can play dirty She s merciless against any obstacles on her way And she always know how to get away with anything and do away with anyone She could ruin lives with a single whisper to her healthy influential father But now her reputation is tarnished after her father s imprisonment because of mbezzling Our narrator Nancy Luo who is a child of immigrants came to pursue their American dream is a daughter of maid got accepted to the school with full scholarship She tries too hard to defeat Jamie to be valedictorian for pursuing her own dreams It s so obvious she can trade her arms and legs to take place on Jamie s life She suffers from inferiority complex trying so hard to fit with wealthy family s kids but she also thinks so little about her achievements Especially her father s return to China makes feel abandoned and worthless Once upon she and her three best friends Akil Alexander Krystal were Jamie s friends but after the incident they ve been through two years ago and her father s conviction they got stranged and now Jamie s missing And a secret hacker starts bombarding school network with texts asking them a simple uestion Jamie has four former friends Each friends has a secret One day Jamie goes missing which friend is guilty and deserves punishmentA the one who sunk the lowest to get the highestBthe one who ruined a girl three years agoCthe one hiding a criminalDthe one who traded conscience with gradesAnd a few days later they find the body of Jamie at an The Snow-walkers Son (The Snow Walker, empty New York apartment Authorities think it is murder case So who killed Jamie Ruan Instead of her fourstranged friends there are so many lives she s ruined So it could be anybodyAs you can see both Nancy and her friends keep so dark secrets None of them is innocent including the victim And they have to find the Proctor at first who sends those messages unless they want their secrets reveal Because the things they hold themselves can ruin their ntire futures they hardly worked for It s a mind blowing riveting page turner with a little Asian series vibes The nding was a little far fetched with soap opera vibes But I liked the final twist and the last conclusion Overall it was Is Anybody Up? entertaining mystery reading I m rounding up 35 stars to whodunnit dirty little secrets you can trust no one four stars Special thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children s Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me inxchange my honest opinions Everyone thought Jamie Ruan was perfect Nobody knew what she was willing to do how far she was willing to go to maintain the flawless image she d craftedAs a human being who was the literal target audience for Gossip Girl back in the day How We Fall Apart is my jam and the fact that it is a diverse and inclusive re The Doorstep Girls envisioning I m not sure how many books this series is slated for but the fact that we get at least one story with these characters in this prestigious world has me salivating for a time machine because take me to next year please Zhao presents us with a familiar premise 4 students with secrets are being. Octor someone anonymously incriminating them via the school's social media appThey all used to be Jamie's closest friends and she knewach of their deepest darkest secrets Now somehow The Proctor knows them too The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor x.

25 starsthere s nothing worse than a thriller which is not thrilling in the slightesti had high hopes for how we fall apart while this book is what it promises us dark academia with an asian american cast it fell flat its not the best thriller out there but its pretty fast paced which was the only reason why i liked it i did not feel the curiosity of finding the person behind it all as i should ve been otherwise all the characters felt superficial and unlikeable i really really wish they would ve been developed or had of a backstory not kidding when i say the gossip girlpll vibes are deep rooted most scenarios seemed ridiculous i did find the whole mystery part predictable and the cause of jamie s death was way too simple i was looking forward to this mainly because i thought it would discuss the problems of immigrants asian immigrants at that but the struggles were only mentioned throughout and again lacked depth i understand the pressure asian parents put on children so nancy s constant need to not disappoint them felt somewhat realuhh i feel like the nding was done like that just to make this a duology but anyway i m awaiting it to see what clownery happens in sinclair prep thank you bloomsbury and netgalley for the arc trigger warnings abuse self harm violence parental neglect panic attacks drug use mental illness a studentteacher relationship racism suicidal thoughts murder blackmail fire suicide death of a friendI had the highest of hopes for How We Fall Apart After all a dark academia book with a primarily Asian cast that addressed hyper competitive school El corazón del tártaro environments strict upbringings racial identity the model minority myth and immigrant success Those were things I knew all too well I so badly wanted to like this book but it just fell so flat for me I m not sure if myxpectations were simply too high or if I simply couldn t connect with How We Fall ApartPitched as One of Us is Lying meets Crazy Rich Asians and for fans of Gossip Girl How We Fall Apart follows Nancy Luo Akil Alexander and Krystal shortly after the disappearance and murder of their former best friend Jamie Ruan When someone named The Proctor starts threatening them and leaking their secrets on the school s social media app Tip Tap the four band together once again to uncover who The Proctor truly is and before all their secrets are revealed Prior to her death Jamie Ruan was the girl verybody wanted to be Top of her class and with nough money that nothing could ver touch her or at least that s how it appeared to be She s mean classist and just straight up cruel in a way that had me uestioning why and how she ven had friends It seemed like veryone was just scared of being on her bad side but I really was just so confused In fact I wrote how are they best friends when they all hate her in my notes while reading it Unfortunately a lot of Jamie s behavior seemed to retroactively be addressed by saying she had her own issues and challenges with her mental health Which isn t an xcuse you can have things going on you can have bad mental health days but that doesn t give you an The Prisoner in the Castle: Maggie Hope Mystery Series, Book 8 excuse to take it out on the people around you nor does it give you anxcuse to be classist and just awful I also wasn t Saphyre Snow entirely sure how the uintet all became friends in the first place and would ve liked backstory In all honesty I found the characters pretty unlikable I wanted depth from them character development and we didn t get any of that It felt like these life changing secrets were being dropped and instead of feeling guilty or any sort of remorse about what had happened they were concerned about how this would affect their reputation and the way they were perceived These secrets also just didn t really make sense I was surprised at how uickly these bombshells were dropped and thenveryone just moved on past it despite the gravity of these secrets I really had to suspend a lot of disbelief to keep reading Speaking of things I had to suspend disbelief for I was really shocked that all four characters who weren t really friends any could rejoin and reunite so uickly But ven so I was shocked that all four characters who came from varying classes and cultures would all respond to being accused of murder in the same way How We Fall Apart fell flat for me in many ways but the most disappointing one was the lack of nuance Everything felt very superficial particularly the topics I looked forward to the most the discussions of the model minority myth the myth of the American dream the discussions of mental health verything As someone who also went to an incredibly competitive high school I m all too familiar with how that affects your mental health and how that intersects within Asian immigrant culture Had the characters particularly the adults in How We Fall Apart acknowledged their role in this or Higher Education even the school I might venjoyed this book I think the best mystery thrillers are ones that drop little clues here and there along the way and then when the big reveal is done you go why didn t I see that all along or the ones that you figure out just before the characters do Sadly I found How We Fall Apart a little too predictable in that aspect so I wasn t shocked when the big reveal happened Although I do uestion if How We Fall Apart is supposed to be marketed as a dark academia mystery thriller or something lse altogether For what it s worth How We Fall Apart is a fast paced and short read and I did resonate with some of the uotes I was pretty disappointed with the nding until the very last page when it does leave on a cliffhanger and makes room for a potential seuel which alone gives it an Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle extra starfind the full review others on my blog If you ve read any YA thrillers that have come out over the past few years How We Fall Apart will likely seem familiar There s a missing student a group of friends with hidden secrets the clueless adults surrounding them and a faceless villain using technology toxpose and cyberbully their intended targetsIt s a formula that wasn t invented by One of Us Is Lying 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 ven shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends Krystal Akil and Alexander are the prime suspects thanks to The Pr.

Blackmailed after the death of their friend the popular successful ueen bee Jamie Ruan The story is told from Nancy Luo s POV with some little snippets of confessions and messages from their school s app called Tip Tap which is where the anonymous threats are posted publicly As we follow the narrative we discover ach secret that these 4 are hiding while also working toward discovering another secret involving the 5 students and another previous student from the school named Em Almost all of the uestions are answered by the Led Zeppelin IV endxcept one secret that will set up book two Become the best Or Abaddons Gate (The Expanse, else Back then I did not understand what Mama was asking for what granting her wishes would cost me Then I did not know a debt of life could only be repaid with life With blood And so I promised and so I vowed For family Forverything we sacrificed I would die tryingOne of the major themes in this book as described by the author is the pressure that many Asian children feel to overachieve in an attempt to find their worth for parents who sacrificed American Salvage everything to give them a better life by moving to America Also the disparities shown between the kids at Sinclair Prep who were born into privilege and the ones who were not regardless of race or culture are so thought provoking Yes this book is anntertaining Me and the Blondes (The Blondes, expose on past mistakes coming back to haunt you but there s a lot of real meat to the character progression in this book and some really dark heavy subjects are touched upon There were a few times I wanted to throttle Nancy based on her choices regarding a certain someone and you ll definitely need to suspend your sense of realism for the big reveal but I thought this was a creative intuitive YA novel that had me fullyngaged from beginning to Velvet Cataclysm end I am anxiously awaiting the follow up novel after thatndingAUTHOR S NOTE Please note that this book contains depictions of abuse self harm violence parental neglect panic attacks drug use mental illness an inappropriate studentteacher relationship racism and suicidal thoughts I understand these themes may be triggering and would suggest proceeding with caution Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy it s me not the bookMy Mating Claire (Sea Island Wolves, expectations went sky high when this book was announced as a dark academia mystery thriller set in high competitivelite school featuring Asian protagonist I had all this possible scenarios and aesthetics in my head I was just so xcited But alas I was disappointedStarting with characters Pretty unlikeable and 1d characters in terms of motivation and character development both My first uestion was how all of them became friends We know about Nancy and Jamie but how about others Alexander Akil and Krystal And the way they dealt with their life changing secrets ye roll My Life as a Changeling everything was very unrealistic and superficial They all were just stupid calling themselves the smart ones Nobody could have guessed thending because no clues were dropped beforehand It s like the secret is dropped our MCs get suspension people whisper about them and then they move on to next plot twistIt was like bam author had to complete the book so take it with one of the most stupid and possible yet boring reasons It was ridiculous and CLICHEThe writing was okay Easy to read More of like for someone beginner who wants to get into the habit of reading and not focus much on wordplay The topics it was supposed to address were taken in consideration properly They were just touched upon As an Asian myself I know how much competition we have to face and how it tampers with our mental health But this book didn t Dementia Reimagined evenxplained it properly Let s speak of THE INCIDENT I have read like 150 mystery thriller books so I can pinpoint pretty Happy Parent, Happy Child easily what they might have done Still I wanted to be amazed but sadly I was trueSo summing up it was a pretty short andasy to read book with nothing happening and bunch of stupid kids running here and there hiding the killer i would highly suggest checking out what the author wrote here because after reading this book i agree with so much of what she saysi think this story does a great job as shedding light on what i am sure is the common pressure many asian american students face while the vast majority of readers will never be able to identify with the wealth some of these students comes from their Pepped Up (Pepper Jones, educationalnvironments racial identities and The Musicians Legal Companion emotional struggles are relatable to many and its this kind of representation that makes the novel worth reading and i actually wish this story was a realisticcontemporary fiction because the mysterymurder aspect is surprisingly uite disappointing dark academia is my all time favourite genre so im so sad that i couldnt get into that part of the story and i think its because ive read it before in pretty little liars in gossip girl in one of us is lying and many other stories its very recycled material and makes the story feel uninspired the lack of twists and turns was also a let down for meregardless this is a great story in many other ways and worth picking up 35 stars I ve written 10 novels by now and this one was by far the mostmotionally difficult one for it forced me to revisit a dark period in my life This story of high achieving Asian Americans in a competitive Gaping Gulf with Letters and Other Relevant Documents environment reflects many Asian Americans truexperiences The pressure students feel from their immigrant families to achieve high grades and test scores and make it into top universities can become a recipe for stress and misery and in this fictional story for secrets lies and Taming the Tycoon even murder With HOW WE FALL APART I hope tontertain readers with an Then Came You (Laws of Attraction, edge of your seat thriller story that offers an inside look at an Asian American upbringing but beneath the surface this story raises uestions about the structure of our hyper competitive schoolnvironments strict upbringings racial identity the model minority myth and the sacrifices we make to maintain the narrative and image of immigrant success which may or may not be worth it in the nd Tread carefully reader for this is how we fall apart. Poses than they can bear and costs them than they can afford like Nancy's full scholarship Soon Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her tooStudents at an lite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their x best friend turns up dea.

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