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How It Ends

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  956 ratings  ·  190 reviews
There are two sides to every story.

It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They're BFFs…until suddenly they're not.

Told through alternating points
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss.)

“I just don’t get it Annie,” she says. “I don’t understand why you don’t miss me the way I miss you.”

Both girls had it hard in this story. Annie had to deal with a step-mother who wasn’t very nice to her, and Jessie had to deal with bullying and anxiety. I could see the situation from both sides though – Annie being upset that Jessie didn’t want to spend time wit
Jeff Zentner
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
We read books for a lot of reasons. Sometimes we read them for a light, fluffy time. Sometimes we read them to escape. And sometimes we read them for the sort of emotional gutpunch that leaves us gasping on the floor. This book is in the latter category. It's as harrowing and realistic a look at the life cycle of a young friendship as I've ever seen. It's by turns funny, warm, soulful, and heartwrenching. Apparently, the author has worked with teens, and this experience shines through in her raz ...more
Laurie Flynn
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Confession: I was totally awkward in high school. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I focused on track practice and schoolwork and most of all, friendships. As a teen girl, my friendships were everything to me. But since my best friend went to a different high school, I was kind of a loner.

And as someone who felt painfully uncool basically a hundred per cent of the time, I still remember the heady feeling when someone I thought was way out of my popularity league talked to me. So when I
Taylor Knight
Wow. This book was crazy.
I'm so blown away by how complex this story and it's characters were.
How It Ends tackles a lot of meaningful subjects and Catherine Lo wrote this book so perfectly. I'm really at a loss for words because I'm still trying grasp how incredible this book is.

Is there anything more complex than sixteen year old best girlfriends? I don't think so. Jealousy and love and competitiveness get all jumbled up, especially when one girl "rises in the social strata" of that hell called high school.

Debut novelist Catherine Lo's brutally honest depiction of the end of a friendship tore at things inside me that I thought I'd long forgotten. No one 'feels' like high school girls. And boys-shmoys....Nothing hurts more than losing your best friend.

This is an incre
Ashley Blake
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Such a real, messy, brutal, and hopeful story about friendship, the hazards of simply being in high school, and figuring your shit out. Loved this book and can't wait for the world to meet these girls! ...more
Man, this is such an under-read but super relevant read. How many of us can relate to a friendship breakup in part due to one's social anxiety? And how infrequently do we get to see that very real divide as a source for a relationship falling apart? It was kind of like watching my Twitter feed come to life, seeing how the inability to discuss anxiety in particular crumbled things between them, how literally being unable to voice her thoughts and feelings held Jessie back in such a real way. It's ...more
S.M. Parker
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was so lucky to receive an ARC of this debut novel and I loved every page. Lo is an amazing talent who has brought vivid and real characters to life in this story about friendship and trust and how much teen girls are willing to love themselves and each other. For a novel that deals with the very serious topic of bullying and self-acceptance in high school, Lo still managed to make me laugh out loud. A. Lot. Her characters are so real and loveable and raw you can’t help but root for them to fi ...more
J. Ford
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-must-read
I stayed up until 2am to finish this book. It is absolutely fantastic. The characters are so multi-dimensional, the teen angst is spot on. The voices of Jess and Annie are authentic. There are so many times in this story my heart strings tugged for both of these girls. There is one scene where Annie shares a memory that was so overwhelmingly heartbreaking it brought tears to my eyes.

This book is so real on so many levels. Best friends becoming enemies. The boys that get in the way. The bitches
Sarah Glenn Marsh
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is a brave, honest, complex tale of a BFF relationship on the rocks. A must-read for anyone who loves a good friendship story, this book transported me right back to high school. I couldn't put it down, and devoured it in one long, glorious sitting!

Highly recommended!
Kathy MacMillan
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Any female can tell you that friendships - especially best friendships - during adolescence can be as full of drama as any romantic relationship. And it can hurt a lot more when they implode, too. Very rarely are the nuances of female friendship so well explored as they are in HOW IT ENDS, where we see the alternating points of view of Jessie and Annie as they meet, connect, become best friends, and fall apart. I went in expecting,
Sarah Ahiers
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this arc in return for a fair review.

I knew going into this book I'd be in for some drama.

Jessie is a teen who has no friends and just wants to keep her head down until she makes it out of high school. Annie is a new girl, and sets out to befriend Jessie right away.
Through alternating POV chapters, we see how their friendship starts, how it grows complicated, and what it takes to end a friendship.

Ugh. This book. I felt so bad for the characters. I wanted to jump right into the story and m
Jennie Brown
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Where do I even begin? I loved every part of this book so much. The feelings were real and spoke to today's teenager and all that they go through/worry about. I can't wait to recommend this one to my friends and my students! ...more
Bryan Cardenas
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Books rarely have left me speechless as he did How it Ends. I really do not know where to begin to explain all the feelings that caused me and how fascinating, refreshing and adorable that reading was.

At first glance, we might think it's just another story about two friends who for some reason or another have problems or typical teen drama. But the story itself has too much meaning, or at least for me it did.

Anxiety, heartbreak, betrayal, distrust ... and the list of topics covered in this book
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

How It Ends is such a touching story about friendship. This book has a realistic representation of two friends who slowly drift apart and is very relatable. What I especially enjoyed was the main character and the believable way that her anxiety was shown.

How It Ends is the story of a friendship, from beginning to end. Two girls quickly become best friends, but their friendship slowly falls apart over the course of a year. I loved how this book focuses on friendshi
Rahul Kanakia
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is so awesome! It's so complex! That's where the real joy of the book lies. All of the characters have multiple facets to them. Every single one. And you're never quite sure what to think about them. The book uses its multiple viewpoints to amazing effect. For instance, you see Jessie's mom flip out on Jessie, and then you see her being extremely kind to Annie, and you realize, this is the same person. These two behaviors spring from the same place. And it makes you realize how complex ...more
Sonya Mukherjee
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was such an emotional read that after I finished the last page, I could not bring myself to get up and throw away all the tissues that Catherine Lo had just made me go through; I just had to sit and recover for a few minutes instead. Lo's portrayal of these two teen girls, their friendship, and all the complex emotions, insecurities, and rationalizations that lead to its breakdown, was utterly convincing and utterly compelling. I felt like I understood the choices that each girl was making, ...more
Amber Smith
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, sweet-sixteens
HOW IT ENDS was a page turner with a fast paced and engaging plot, told from alternating points of view. The voices of best friends Jessie and Annie were so real, the dynamics of their relationship portrayed with such authenticity it brought me right back to high school. I loved watching their friendship evolve over the course of the book as each character went through her own ups and downs. While issues like anxiety disorder and pregnancy were addressed--and dealt with in such an insightful, se ...more
Rebecca Podos
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of HOW IT ENDS, and I'm so glad that I did. This book is a gorgeous exploration of young female friendships—those complicated, painful, passionate and beautiful things. It made me feel sixteen in the best and worst ways, which is exactly what I ask of YA literature. Prepare to fall hard for Annie and Jessie. ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, 2016-favorites
This was AMAZING. More detailed review coming later.
Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know how some characters read like people you've met in real life? People who immediately come to mind when hearing an internal voice, and you're like, "OMG, that's XX!"

That is how I felt reading Catherine Lo's remarkable debut book, HOW IT ENDS.

This is a story about how two teenage girls with plenty of personal drama end up as fast friends. In many scenes, the novel felt like a window into the lives of today's teen.

The girls do what so many of us can relate to--they become completely stars
Sarah Alexander
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brutal and honest, Catherine Lo’s portrayal of friendship, family and love in HOW IT ENDS is about as real as it gets. I wish I’d had this book to read when I was navigating my own high-school friendships. It impressively deals with the fear of letting your friends find out who you really are alongside all the other challenges that high school throws at you. A very powerful story – I had a lump in my throat throughout.
Robin Reul
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Told in dual POV, Lo's debut is an honest and real portrayal of the ugly dynamics of female friendships in high school. Gut-wrenching and painful with characters you will recognize. We've all known an Annie or a Jessie, or been one ourselves. This one should have wide appeal to teens who find themselves in the pages. ...more
An honest and gripping picture of anxiety that's so prevalent among teens today. This story about how friendship is affected by secrets and past emotional trauma, including bullying, is a brave debut for author Catherine Lo. ...more
I really thought the friendship story here, about the kind of relationship that sizzles at the start, then reaches an explosion, then leaves you wondering how it'll end, is well done, relatable, and the kind of thing we can always use more of in YA. Annie and Jessie are average girls dealing with average challenges that sophomore year of high school brings. Their voices are distinct, and since we get the dual POV, we see insights into each girl in ways we otherwise would not. Jessie's struggle w ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
*I upped my rating after rereading*


ONE WORD: Oversimplification

Fifteen-year-old Jessie, insecure and anxious, is surprised when new girl Annie wants to be friends. Annie, still grieving her mother's sudden death, feels like an outcast in her own home with her critical stepmother and perfect stepsister. When these two hurting girls become best friends, their issues collide with misunderstandings, poor communication, Jessie's well meaning mother, bullies and a boy not worth either of thei
Heather Meloche
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sweet-sixteens
Everyone can relate to the ups and downs of friendship. High school friendships are even more of a roller coaster, and in many ways, more important than any other in how they form a person, help them grow, and guide them in their decisions. HOW IT ENDS is an incredibly realistic portrayal of the life cycle of a friendship. Told from the perspective of two high-school sophomores, Annie and Jessie, this book takes readers on the highs and lows of a friendship, each moment in each main character's ...more
Sophia Life
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
to sum up this review, how it ends is an outgoing, heartbreaking, meaningful story of friendship that will leave you wanting more of jessie and annie's story. i give it a 4/5 stars! you won't want to miss this one, so pick it up when it hits shelves june 7th!

when i first received this book, i hadn't heard much about it. the only thing i had read about it was the mini description on the back (which is different than the one above), but it was enough to intrigue me. i picked up this book not knowi
Kelli Spear
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-asap-list
I was so excited when I was approved for this title. The cover caught my eye, and the description sounded like something I'd really enjoy. It reminded me of the movie, The Break-Up, with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, but between friends. And I suppose in ways, that's what it was.

How It Ends could have been fantastic. It could have made my list of favorites for 2016. It deals with a lot of social issues, but the pacing issues left me disconnected to the majority of the story.

We start out m
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
High school is one major thing in life that changes everyone! Still this one thing can ruin someone's life as well as make it.

People don't understand what it is like for people with social anxiety disorder. They just treat them like they are the trash amongst the shiny polished jewels. No one understands them, and their potential, they just bully and mock them, just to make things worse.

This book evoked something in me, probably my own high school experience as an outcast, and the solution which
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“There's something so intense about watching someone when they don't know anyone's looking. All the stuff they carry around with them falls away, and you can catch the quickest glimpse of who they really are, underneath everything.” 2 likes
“I don't understand why you don't miss me the way I miss you” 1 likes
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