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.
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.
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. How We Fall Apart is the irresistible, addicting, Asian-American recast of Gossip Girl that we've all been waiting for.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The pressure builds in this breathless YA thriller from the very first page the same way it does at the prestigious prep school where academic star Nancy Luo and her equally high-achieving friends strive tirelessly for success. For the sons and daughters of Asian immigrants who make up Sinclair Prep’s top academic, athletic, and social ranks, mere excellence isn’t enough—but in a pinch, money might buy your way out of trouble. When the perfect and perfectly despised class valedictorian disappears, a mysterious online figure starts to reveal the students’ darkest secrets one by one. And Nancy isn’t the only one who’s racing to avoid having her very dirty laundry aired. Best-selling YA author Katie Zhao subverts the cultural stereotype of overachieving Asian American teens facing impossible expectations in this mystery that’s both scary-tense and completely relatable, even if your own high-school days are long past.
In this YA debut by Zhao (the Dragon Warrior series), Sinclair Prep, a private "elite high school that ranked number one in every area imaginable" on New York City's Upper West Side, is home to myriad sins. Domineering Chinese American junior class president Jamie Ruan fell from grace two months ago after her father was arrested for embezzlement. When she goes missing, Chinese American poet and junior scholarship student Nancy Luo is eager to fill her queen bee shoes. That is, until an anonymous figure called the Proctor starts posting on school gossip app Tip Tap, implicating Jamie's former best friends in her death. Nancy, fellow Chinese American scholarship student Alexander Lin, Indian track star and hotel heir Akil Patel, and Korean fashionista and pharmaceuticals heiress Krystal Choi must find the murderer and protect their own secrets before the Proctor takes them down. Discourse regarding drugs, fashion, gangs, race, and privilege feels shallow, and an apparent lack of research undermines credibility. Still, interwoven Tip Tap posts, text messages, and flashbacks maintain intrigue, and Nancy's first-person narration capably drives this fast-paced thriller to its unrelenting close. Ages 14 up.