A profoundly moving and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties that bind families together—or break them apart—as a young Korean American man’s search for answers about his girlfriend’s mysterious death becomes a soul-searching journey into his own bi-cultural identity

When the Seoul police inform Min that his girlfriend Yu-jin has committed suicide, he’s sure it can't be true. She was successful, ambitious, happy, just on the cusp of graduating from university and claiming the future she’d always dreamed of. 
 
Min, on the other hand, born to an American father and Korean mother, has never felt quite the same certainty as Yu-jin about his life’s path. After growing up in California, where he always felt “too Korean” to fit in, he’s moved to Seoul in the hope that exploring his Korean heritage will help him find a sense of purpose. And when he meets Yu-jin, little does he know that their carefree relationship will set off a chain of events with tragic consequences for them both.
 
Devastated by Yu-jin’s death, Min throws himself into finding out why she could have secretly wanted to die. Or did she? With a controlling and powerful government official father, and a fraught friendship with her alluring and destructive roommate So-ra, Yu-jin’s life was much more complex than she chose to reveal to Min. And the more he learns about her, the more he begins to doubt he ever really knew her at all.
 
As Yu-jin’s story—a fraught exploration of selfhood, coming-of-age, and family expectations—collides with Min’s, the result is an engrossing page-turner that poses powerful, urgent questions about cultural identity, family bonds, secrets, and what it truly means to belong.
When We Fell Apart is a marvelous debut novel, moving and suspenseful, a reminder that the greatest mysteries are those of being and belonging. Soon Wiley is a young writer to watch."
—Jess Walter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins and The Cold Millions

"A lyrical exposition on what it’s like to be biracial, with one foot firmly planted in two distinct worlds, never completely fitting in, but capable of seeing what others do not. A lonely, heartbreaking, spellbinding story of love, self-discovery, and belonging."
—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“Propulsive and deeply felt, Soon Wiley's phenomenal debut When We Fell Apart takes on the friction between family bonds, cultural expectations, and personal desires in a way that feels both urgent and intensely real. Even as I raced through the pages to find out what happened to Yu-jin, for me the true heart of the book was Min, and his search for a sense of belonging that neither America nor Korea is quite able to offer him. His story is truly unforgettable.”
—Abi Daré, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl with the Louding Voice

"Melancholic, atmospheric, and consistently surprising. Like Norwegian Wood, there is a minor key running through this love story played out on the frenetic and lonely streets of Seoul. When We Fell Apart is a transportive and poignant debut."
—Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy

When We Fell Apart explores the tender and chaotic intersections of culture, community and the search for self. Rich with philosophical nuance, heart-stopping and exquisitely plotted, this is a novel to get lost in.”
—Patricia Engel, New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Country

“In this gorgeous debut, Soon Wiley uncovers what secrets kept two lovers from each other before they were finally separated by death. When We Fell Apart explores youth, sexuality, and the freedom to choose your own destiny in a world that keeps insisting on who you should be and how you should love.”
—Julia Phillips, author of the National Book Award finalist and national bestseller Disappearing Earth

"When We Fell Apart is the most compelling debut novel I've read in years. At first a seemingly quiet novel of love and the difficulty in knowing yourself and others, you soon find yourself inside of a masterful plot that seems to move in two directions at the same time, towards the inexorable, stunning endingunforgettable."
—Alexander Chee, bestselling author of Queen of the Night and How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

“In this gorgeous, poignant meditation on identity, love, and desire, Soon Wiley illuminates the liminal state of being biracial, of belonging but not, of desperately wanting the world to let you be as you are. When We Fell Apart will stay with me for a long time."
—Angie Kim, bestselling author of Miracle Creek

“A ravishing neo-noir about the search for identity in modern-day Seoul, When We Fell Apart dazzles like neon on a rainy night. In lush, perfectly-tuned prose, Soon Wiley leads readers around dark corners and into the heart of a kaleidoscopic city, unraveling the mystery of one young woman's tragic death through the eyes of a haunted outsider. This is a magical debut.”
—Amy Gentry, bestselling author of Good as Gone and Bad Habits

“When We Fell Apart is so expertly plotted and paced, told in prose so lean and lucid that it’s hard to believe that this book in my hands is a first novel. It’s thrilling, deeply human, heartbreaking. It’s equal parts mystery and exploration of identity and duality. What isn’t hard to believe is that Soon Wiley is writer we’ll be hearing from for years to come."
—Michael Knight, author of Eveningland

"A love story, arresting mystery, and global novel of identity in one, When We Fell Apart takes us on a captivating journey through the bright lights and dark byways of modern Seoul, exploring what it means — and what it costs — to be ourselves and live freely. With elegance, sophistication, and verve, Soon Wiley delivers a beautiful debut novel."
—Jack Wang, award-winning author of We Two Alone


"With rich prose, [Soon Wiley] deftly captures the voices of Min and Yu-jin, as they grapple with love and loss, identity and obligation. Suspenseful, layered, vivid, and true, this gorgeous novel left me gutted."
—Nicole Lundrigan, author of Hideaway and An Unthinkable Thing


"A story of loyalty, identity, obsession, and fear, When We Fell Apart is complex, smart, and hold-your-breath cinematic. Wiley has pulled off a stunning feat of insightful, unflinching storytelling, exploring the ways we strive and hope, succeed and fail – both as people and societies, and the damage we can all do with even the best of intentions."
—Grace O'Connell, author of Be Ready for the Lightning

"A complex, driving novel about the trap of belonging and the comfort of deception, Soon Wiley's When We Fell Apart is about all the different selves we present to each other."
—Naben Ruthnum, author of A Hero of Our Time

When We Fell Apart is a masterful debut novel propelled by yearning, edge-of-your seat suspense, and characters who will break your heart. Soon Wiley channels the crackling energy of Seoul, injecting heat, noise, and sultry desire on every page. If this book does not compel you to figure out what makes you feel alive and follow your passion wherever it leads, nothing will.”
—Josh Rolnick, award-winning author of Pulp and Paper

“The business of being yourself is anything but simple, and Wiley’s powerful novel knows it.”
—Peter Behrens, award-winning author of Carry Me

“When We Fell Apart is an absolutely mesmerizing and important novel, delving into all sorts of issues that everyone will find relatable. This book is a page-turner, propelling the reader toward the conclusion, which is both surprising and perfectly rendered when reached. A bravado debut.”
—Don Lee, award-winning author of Yellow and Country of Origin