In May 1995, on the last day of their junior year at Harvard University, Sinedu Tadesse murdered her roommate Trang Ho, and then committed suicide.

Sinedu had arrived at Harvard from Ethiopia and Trang was a Vietnamese emigrant. For the two families, sending their daughters to Harvard was—as Trang’s family described it—“halfway heaven,” a stepping stone to the American dream. Instead they met with the darkest of fates. The book is based on Sinedu’s diaries, collected by the police after her death, which provide a heartbreaking glimpse into the inner life of a tormented girl, her struggles against an increasingly dangerous depression, and her failed attempts to get help. Halfway Heaven raises profound questions about the nature of female friendship, obsession, despair, and the destructive power of loneliness.

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