One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (2017)
YA Fiction | Contemporary | Mystery/Thriller
“Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”
pooled ink Review:
Okay I actually really enjoyed this one. Did I guess who killed Simon early on? Yeah, surprisingly I did, but honestly there’s so much going on that I felt open to other options and twists. It kept me pretty distracted, plus there’s a lot more to it than I guessed. Overall it was definitely a fun read and I’d recommend it to people interested in YA Contemporary Thrillers/Mysteries.
I really liked this cast of characters and the whole Breakfast Club gone wrong thing it had going on. And it doesn’t waste time with exposition, Simon’s out of the game within the first chapter and the ensuing chaos doesn’t let up until the very end. The plot pads itself with some comfortable clichés here and there that I didn’t mind and rather enjoyed, plus with all the alternating POVs giving you different glimpses of the action and the secrets altering each person’s perception of the case I felt happily entertained and committed for the ride to resolution.
What really helped make this book work was the characters. If you don’t like them then you won’t care about the plot. You’ll likely just flip to the end just to know who did it and be done with it. But I actually felt that each character was handled rather well. On one hand they do feel rather cliché and typical of a teen drama but that’s the point (stick five kids with no seeming connection in detention and have them utterly flummoxed over one of their deaths and how/why they of all people were there to witness it). Like I said, it essentially starts out like the cult classic movie The Breakfast Club and cuts detention short with Simon’s death.
Going along with liking the characters, I appreciated how the author begins with these character stock types (the brain, the beauty, the criminal, the athlete, and the outcast) and then over the course of the story slowly tears these stereotypical perceptions apart. In other words she gives these characters some actual depth and development. Huzzah!
As far as the murder mystery/plot goes I found it intriguing as expected and while a part of me thinks it original most of me was simply entertained but not blown away. Ya know? But I’ve read and/or watched almost every Agatha Christie mystery plus I’m a big BBC murder mystery buff (for whatever reason Sunday afternoons usually include an episode or three of Midsomer Murders via Netflix lol) so there aren’t many murder plots that surprise me, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t well thought out or entertaining! This particular Sunday I ended up spending almost the whole day reading this book so obviously I enjoyed it.
OH something I did really like about the whole Simon’s death thing was once it’s unraveled and the lightbulb goes off and whatnot it was nice to see that no one brushed aside the killer’s actions for pity. No matter the circumstances that led this person to do what they did, the fact that they took a life and orchestrated a traumatic witch hunt against the others is never eclipsed by sympathy. I just feel that sometimes people make things into such drama-drenched finales that it takes the focus off the point that they committed to doing such horrible things but nothing gets too out of hand in the roll-your-eyes drama department with this book haha thank goodness.
Anyway, great cast of characters, fun puzzle of a mystery, and everything gets so tangled and chaotic as the plot snowballs out of control that I felt captivated from start to finish.
One of Us is Lying cuts detention short with a student’s unexpected death that catapults the witnesses-turned-suspects into a heart-pounding search for truth. A diverse cast seizes the narrative as the plot races along from one guilty secret to the next tangling all the seemingly unconnected clues into a grim web everyone is desperate to solve. A definite must-read for fans of YA Contemporary Mystery-Thrillers!
Purchase Here: One of Us is Lying
Meet Karen M. McManus!
Karen M. McManus is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult thriller One of Us Is Lying, which has been translated into 37 languages worldwide. Her second book, Two Can Keep a Secret, will be released in January 2019. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels.