Book Reviews

Review: One of Us Is Lying

Review: One of Us Is LyingOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Published by Delacorte Press on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

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."

This book is described as Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club, and that’s a perfect description.  Five students go into detention, and only four make it out alive.  It’s quickly determined that the death of Simon – the school gossip – is no accident, and no one had better opportunity than the four students that go into that detention with him.  When it’s revealed that Simon had uncovered very deep, personal secrets about each of those four, it seems like no one had better motive either.  One of Us is Lying alternates between these four students in the aftermath of Simon’s death – as they’re each suspected of murder, as their secrets are revealed and as they grow both closer and yet ever more suspicious of each other.

The four characters begin as stereotypes, but quickly develop into interesting, complex people and it’s particularly interesting watching how their relationships change throughout the course of the novel.  Although the blurb describes them as strangers, in high school, how many people are truly strangers?  They have histories, old friendships, and if nothing else, opinions and prejudices about each other, that change throughout the book.  No one knows who to trust, and while they find themselves getting closer through their awful shared experience, they also can’t help but ignore the tiny voice in the back of their head that wonders “Is this the person who killed Simon?”

One of Us is Lying is an absolutely addictive read – I started it on my lunch break one day, and I’d finished it by the next.  I loved the twists and reveals, the cliffhangers and the suspense, but I was also pleasantly surprised by how much I came to like the characters, and how much I cared about their relationships.  While I’m not a huge contemporary fan – no dragons, no spaceships! – this was an enjoyable, addictive read that delivered exactly what I expected, and even a little more.

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