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  • Lilly Schmaltz

Book Review: 'How We Fall Apart' by Katie Zhao

Expected publication date: August 17, 2021 (delayed from August 3)

Nancy and her friends are shocked when their ex-friend and star student, Jamie, is found dead. Now, a mysterious person called The Proctor is hiding behind social media and exposing their secrets one by one. The friends have their scholarships and social lives at stake if their darkest secrets are revealed. Nancy races to identify The Proctor and hopefully solve who killed Jamie.

A bit like "Gossip Girl" and "Pretty Little Liars," "How We Fall Apart" was a great debut from Katie Zhao. It hooked me from page one, and I kept hoping for more free time so I could read faster. I didn’t predict the end at all. Even though it did seem a bit unrealistic at times, it gave me the drama and suspense I was hoping for. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew the book would give me representation and some dark academia. It succeeded without being overwhelming or stereotypical.

I was hoping for a bit more character development, but I did like how there wasn’t a typical fairy tale ending. Nancy wasn’t a perfect human and she and her friends did do something pretty serious that is now coming back to haunt them. While she did her best to keep her secrets hidden, I do think Nancy gained some self-awareness about her actions and took a step forward. The characters all had their own flaws, and seeing that those flaws didn’t just go away at the end felt authentic.

I’m not sure if a trigger warning is necessary for this book, but readers should be aware that death is a prominent theme. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by Katie Zhao!



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