Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao.
How We Fall Apart deals with the aftermath of queen bee Jamie Ruan’s death. No one knows what happened to her, until an anonymous poster called The Proctor starts suggesting it was her ex best friends. In a bid to keep their secrets safe, the four band together to find the true killer and clear their names. But will they find out the truth before their past catches up with them?
By far my favourite part of How We Fall Apart was definitely the hunt for The Proctor. It added a real driving force to the story and provided some much needed direction, which I really appreciated. I also liked how action packed it was in relation to the chase – there was a really fast pace throughout, with the time ticking down until Nancy’s Diss Diary pages were revealed.
I also loved the high pressure environment. It definitely helped with racking the tension up and really added to the stakes. I found this tense school environment the perfect setting for the book, and also really interesting to read. The competitiveness between the students was extremely dramatic, and I enjoyed reading the lengths they were willing to go to. I’m definitely glad my school’s not that competitive!
The twist was also great. I genuinely didn’t see it coming, and I found the big reveal really dramatic! I definitely enjoyed learning more about who was behind the Proctor account. Even if it was a little far fetched, I still really enjoyed it, and it added a lot more action to the book, which is always a bonus for me!
Of course, the secrets also kept me hooked. Each one seemed to be more explosive and dramatic than the last, and the reveals were always incredibly shocking. They definitely helped with driving the plot forward as well as seeing more of The Proctor. Some of their posts reminded me a lot of those from Gossip Girl, which I also loved!
I also really enjoyed the friendships. Despite the four drifting apart they soon came back together and I loved how close they became again. Nancy and Krystal’s in particular really stood out to me – I loved the way they both teased and supported each other, as any best friends should! This was probably also helped by the fact that Krystal was my favourite character – I found her incredibly strong and a great friend.
However, that’s not to say that I liked everything about it. One major point I would’ve liked to see more was definitely the character development. I think the book really could’ve done with some extra length to add some extra dimensions to the characters. As a reader I didn’t feel any connection to them, so the secrets, whilst shocking, didn’t evoke any reaction from me in terms of what it made for the characters.
I also felt like there should’ve been more hints to the reveal. I’m not sure if it was just me being unobservant, but it felt like it was completely random and that there hadn’t been any hints at all over who it was, which I disagreed with. I think in a mystery you always need some subtle hints that you see after the reveal but that really wasn’t the case here – in fact, I was probably left with more questions!
I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style in places. Part of me feels like this is really nitpicky, but in the interest of honesty I just didn’t enjoy aspects of the writing style. The vast majority of it was very easy to digest but there some points with a very flowery writing style (particularly towards the end) full of overcomplicated imagery and metaphors. It was a little reminiscent of We Were Liars, where I also didn’t enjoy the writing style.
Overall, I would recommend How We Fall Apart to anyone looking for a fun, quick read, as I completely whizzed through this! I’d also recommend it for anyone looking for an engaging mystery, as this is certainly the book for that.
However, please be mindful that this book has trigger warnings of abuse, self-harm, violence, parental neglect, panic attacks, drug use, mental illness, an inappropriate student/teacher relationship, racism, and suicidal thoughts. Please do not read if you are uncomfortable with any of those topics.
Have you read How We Fall Apart yet? Will you be adding it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you enjoyed this review!