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Parents' Guide to

How We Fall Apart

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Teen dies, selfish students cover up in flawed thriller.

Book Katie Zhao School 2021
How We Fall Apart Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Kids say (2 ):

The structure of this thriller provides a decent platform for revealing secrets, but most of the thrills are shallow. And the mystery Gossip Girl-like social media plot driver seems a bit too familiar. The character development in How We Fall Apart is thin, too. The cast is diverse, but there's no theme or thread that involves race, gender, sexuality, or class on a deep level. There's just one very brief scene of someone confronting racist behavior.

Most troubling, however, is how the novel depicts the inappropriate student-teacher relationship between Nancy and Peter. Every time Peter is mentioned, thought about, or remembered, Nancy slips into a kind of, "well, he's so hot, so it is all justified" trance. There are no consequences or self-awareness on the part of Nancy, and the only reason she stops being involved with Peter is because he doesn't come through when she needs him, not because the nature of the relationship is inappropriate for many reasons or because Peter is a creepy older man trying to have an illegal sexual relationship with a 16-year-old.

Book Details

  • Author: Katie Zhao
  • Genre: School
  • Topics: High School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
  • Publication date: August 17, 2021
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
  • Number of pages: 352
  • Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
  • Last updated: September 28, 2021

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