Review: How We Fall Apart

Review: How We Fall Apart

Rating: 1 out of 5.

*I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

When top-ranking student Jamie Ruan is found dead, her former friends are shocked to the core. This is even more so when the blame is placed on them via their school’s social media app. The so-called Proctor anonymously incriminates them as they slowly reveal the secrets of students Nancy, Krystal, Akil and Alexander, who were all once Jamie’s closest friends. Jamie knew all their secrets, and now The Proctor does too. And they must figure out the truth because it all falls apart. 

The story begins with Nancy presenting to her school; when Jamie fails to make it, she thinks nothing of her ex-friend’s no show. Having abandoned the friendship months before in light of her father’s scandal, Nancy finally thinks she can take the spot that Jamie once held over her. 

That is until a threatening message to Jamie appears on the board, which triggers the beginning of the end for them all. Jamie is dead, and the finger is pointing at Jamie’s old friends. Nancy, a scholarship kid, practically grew up in the shadow of Jamie. Krystal and Akil are born from money, but they can’t hide their secrets. While Alexander is another scholarship student whose brother’s expulsion years ago haunts him to this day. Each has a secret Jamie knew, and now the Proctor is revealing them one by one, damning them all to expulsion and throwing them to the wolves. 

The story, in concept, is rather intriguing. Think Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl. A group of kids work together to figure out who is behind the messages before their reputation is ruined. But the story is extremely rushed, and the lack of development in any of the characters will leave you feeling sorely disappointed. Slowly, the secrets of each of the main protagonists are revealed. The consequences of their actions are rushed, and you don’t get to feel the impact of everything that happens. Something drastic happens, and the story moves on without ruminating on its effect. 

The story also has a bad habit of withholding information in a poorly executed way. There was little originality in this tale, and the so-called finale was like the final nail in the coffin for me. A good mystery will immerse the reader and propel them further, so when the identity is revealed, it should be a shock and make sense to the reader. The ending didn’t make sense, the culprit felt like it was plucked out of nowhere, and now that I’ve had time to think about it, it was pretty hilarious how ridiculous this entire book was.

When I slowly began to realise the plot wasn’t working for me, I was somewhat holding onto the characters, hoping they would carry the story on, but it felt like I was reading a story that wasn’t quite complete. It doesn’t read like a draft, but it doesn’t feel like a polished story. Nancy made sense, plot-wise, to be the main protagonist, but she was the most insufferable in this story. I felt for her initially, growing up in a low-income family, feeling like you need to make your family proud, despite the obstacles in front of you. But she is rather cruel, thinking she’s above the rich kids like Jamie, without realising she’s a terrible person as well. Each character felt archetypal, almost like figurines of what the authors wanted them to stand for, but they don’t have a distinct voice, nor do they feel compelling enough to feel engaged in their journey. 

Overall, How We Fall Apart promises a lot but fails to play the part. I’ve been disappointed a lot reading books that I’ve personally been hyped to read, but How We Fall Apart is one of those reads that it pains me to say that I would not recommend this book to anyone. While having a promising concept, this release fails to capture the rush of a thriller nor the essence of dark academia. Everything you are promised is deflated and, honestly, relatively lacklustre. 


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Review: Two Can Keep a Secret

Review: Two Can Keep a Secret

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

 A small American town finds themselves back in the limelight after a murderer remerges to terrorise its citizens. Twins Ellery and Ezra move into town to live with their grandmother when their mother is admitted into rehab and find themselves in the centre of the murder mystery. As they settle into their new home, they discover that Echo Ridge thrives on gossip and the new drama brings up old wounds of their missing aunt and creates new ones when people begin to wonder if they have a copycat or the original killer on their hands.

The main problem with the story is that there’s too much, and not much being done with it. Too many characters, too many side plots, and not enough focus on the original mystery that there is a lack of depth to everything. Ellery and Ezra’s aunt went missing before they were born, and her disappearance doesn’t seem to impact or intertwined with the current mystery like it’s suggested to be until the end. McManus relies on clichés without working on them further. Rich, snobby girls and all-American jocks. And their voices weren’t distinct enough to be remotely memorable.

What I appreciated the most about Two Can Keep A Secret was the little things. I really enjoyed the theme of family, and while this book does go on a tangent at some points, the family was a key motivation in all the characters. There’s also some discussion by the side character about being a minority in a heavily white population and how you are forced to be perfect in fear of lash back.

Like McManus’s debut, Two Can Keep A Secret followed through with that intriguing and suspense building flair. It certainly keeps you guessing and enjoyed how this small town both mixed and clashed with each other. The chapters alternate between Ellery and Malcolm, whose brother was accused of killing the first girl five years ago. Malcolm, I think, had the most substantial chapters. He has to struggle with everyone pointing the finger at him and no one willing to listen to him. Ellery is a true crime fanatic which was born out of never knowing what happened to her aunt. She’s rather exciting, and I liked how she thinks. But I found it a little inappropriate at times for her to be digging into an actual crime and treating it as her own plaything. Being stubborn isn’t a bad thing, but I could never take her seriously because she never did.

Overall, I have to say I enjoyed Two Can Keep A Secret much more than I did with One of Us is Lying. Both books have their strengths and flaws, but I think TCKAS was a stronger and more enticing read. It was a satisfying read about a small town with big secrets. I was super invested quite quickly, but I found my interesting waning towards the end. But it was still a satisfying read, and a quite quick read I might add, I would recommend reading if you have an afternoon to kill.


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Mini-review: To All The Boys and The Hunting Party

Mini-review: To All The Boys and The Hunting Party

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

mini_thehuntingparty

Rating:  ★★★☆☆ (2.5/5)

A group of friends retreat to a quiet hunting lodge for the new year. Each chapter is narrated from a different character going back and forth in time and then leading up and after the moment one of them is murdered. It follows in the vein of a true murder mystery where we are aware a murder has happened but we don’t know who is dead and who did, with one who is killed still speaking. I think I would’ve enjoyed this much more if the characters were more bearable to read about. The voices of each character were actually difficult to distinguish since they’re so similar. I rarely step out into mysteries and it’s a shame that I didn’t enjoy this as much I wanted to.

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

mini_toalltheboysRating:  ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

This book has been sliding up and down my TBR list for almost four years now. I guess I’m glad I finally sat down and read this book, so I could watch the Netflix film.

Contemporary rom-coms are a bit of a hit and miss for me. I feel like this was an almost hit. From an objective view, it was an endearing story about love and family and I understand the importance of the story about family and love.

There’s a whole lot of good to this book and if you’re a bigger fan of contemporary YA then by no means, give this book a shot.  It’s sweet and charming. The moments where Lara Jean is with her family is where the books were at its best. I actually saw myself a lot through her here. But I’m actually struggling to put to words why I just didn’t like this book. From my notes, everything seemed positive, aside from the whole pining after your sister’s ex and the other seemingly romantic aspects of this book, made this book a bit unbearable for me. Overall, this book wasn’t for me and I’m alright with that. I’m just glad this book’s finally off the TBR.

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Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Rating: ★★★★☆

Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author

When going for a walk with her crush, Michael, Asiya accidentally stumbles across a dead body. Knowing that telling the police means revealing to her strict parents that she was with him, Michael covers for her but then goes missing himself. All the evidence points towards Michael but Asiya is sure he’s innocent and is willing to risk everything to help Michael.

This review is painful to write because I literally don’t know what else to say except that I loved this. It was such a fun read. All Asiya wants is a normal life but she’s thrust into a murder mystery and has to use her wits to navigate her way through the investigation. It was such a fun and comical read. And serious at times, especially when Asiya begins to doubt Michael’s innocence. And I really enjoyed the character of Asiya: she’s a headstrong lead and her faith and determination drive her to do good, even if she shouldn’t be doing much of the things she does.

Even the attempt of bringing South Asian and Muslim problems forefront was good and done so well. (Asiya and her family are Bangladeshi and anytime I see a Bangladeshi character I immediately go  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ ) Solving a murder is hard and Asiya struggles with it a lot, especially since she doesn’t want to disappoint her family so she has to work with her family and community. She mentions the inconsistency of her community that allows boys more freedom and their gossiping nature that spreads like wildfire. I hope in the sequel we see Asiya use that to her advantage, like asking her brother to help and do something that she would’ve been easily caught doing but not him.

God Smites is an enjoyable book. I turned every page and I immediately was like “this is so me!” I kind of related more to her younger brother: he just wants to play video games and struggles to pass Maths which is literally my entire educational experience.  I’m also in love with the book’s dedication. For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in booksWith God Smites, I get to read about a Muslim girl go through daily life that’s similar to my own, where I can see myself in her actions and that’s my favourite part of this book. It’s such a real book which portrays such real characters without being stereotypical. Sure, her mother is very strict and her father too, but we also get to see them protect and try to understand Asiya. Their family dynamic was so relatable and funny. They all get frustrated and argue with each other but in the end, they do come together as a family. And that ending, guys, my jaw dropped. It ends with a big revelation and an even bigger cliffhanger. Can I have the sequel now?

I’m going to end this review with my favourite part:

He yelled a general, “Salam alaikum!” and made it halfway to the basement door before he realised something was off.

I actually had to put my Kindle down because I was laughing so much because:

  1. She’s in the middle of being interrogated and he casually walks in like this
  2. I do the same thing when I don’t know if anyone’s home 😂😂

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Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Rating: ★★★★☆

Every Heart A Doorway has one of the best concepts ever. We all dream we can be whisked away through a wardrobe door, fall down a hole and be transported to entirely new worlds. But Every Heart is about the kids that come back, whether they want to or not. Here come Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children where desperate parents send their children who they wish to go back to being ‘normal’. But Eleanor is someone who has also returned and commits her life to providing a safe place for them. Tragedy strikes the day Nancy enters the home, and with her new-found friends, they try to stop it before it gets them.

For a story so short, it tackles and includes so many topics: gender issues, what we perceive as wrong or right, mental health. There are so many lyrical and poetic lines in here, it was beautiful.

“Because ‘boys will be boys’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Lundy. “They’re too loud, on the whole, to be easily misplaced or overlooked; when they disappear from the home, parents send search parties to dredge them out of swamps and drag them away from frog ponds. It’s not innate. It’s learned. But it protects them from the doors, keeps them safe at home. Call it irony, if you like, but we spend so much time waiting for our boys to stray that they never have the opportunity. We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.

McGuire knows how to write creepy.  I went into this thinking it was like Miss Peregrine’s Home, but Every Heart is much eerier and strange. But you can’t mention this book without mentioning the diversity. It makes me so happy to see authors really understanding how important it is for our fiction to be diverse. While I was excited to see such a diversity of characters, and all of them have such well-built tales and backstories, I struggled to feel for them. I think it may be due to its length, but this concept was way too big to fit into such a small novel. I would’ve loved to have seen more worldbuilding. The High-Logic and High Nonsense confused me at first, but it interested me. There are so many concepts that are introduced, but not much of it is actually explained. But I believe the third novel will continue the events in this one, so I’m definitely excited to see what happens next!

Overall, I definitely recommend Every Heart A Doorway since it’s a strange yet entertaining read. 


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Book Review: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

26534110you can find the book at:

GoodReads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Author website

my review:

Rating: ★★★★☆

~ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review~

Justin considers himself to be a director, and after making three failed horror movies, he and his filmmaking friends decide to take it up a notch and make something better than the last three put together. With a limiting budget, a barely completed script and a burning passion to complete this before summer starts, they decide to make The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. And, by luck, they also have Justin’s crush Alicia Howtz as their female lead. But when the pressure of making a movie finally dawns on them, could Justin be actually directing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever?

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