One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Published by Random House Children’s Books on May 30, 2017
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller, young adult
Format & Length: e-book, 288
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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.
What an engaging read! With accessible writing and a fast paced plot, One of Us is Lying is so compulsively readable, I could barely put it down. In fact, I read this in its entirety within a 24 hour period that included eight hours of sleep, a few hours working, and time spent with friends and family.
From the blurb, we know that this book begins with someone dying and spends the rest of the story figuring out whodunit. McManus did a good job in casting doubts everywhere; I suspected 99% of the characters before finally honing in on what actually happened not long before they figured it out themselves. With a cinematic quality to this, I could certainly see One of Us is Lying being turned into a movie or television series, and it’s one I would make a point to watch.
The characters themselves definitely embodied certain high school stereotypes that we all know and
love hate. But as the book progressed, we got to know them more in depth and they grew in ways that made them more complex and less cliched. And I think that was part of the point here. Stereotypes obviously exist because there is some truth to them, but they tend to occur on the surface; if we take the time really getting to know people, that’s when we discover there is so much more to them than what meets the eye.
That all being said, I did have a couple issues. Namely, the way certain plot points revolving around sexuality and mental illness were portrayed. These are both tough and important subjects to broach, and unfortunately, I felt that the way they were dealt with in this book seemed to be more for shock value than for a more sensitive understanding of how they can effect us. I don’t necessarily think the author’s intention was to just shock and awe, but I can see how someone could take some of these things the wrong way. (I do realize this is quite vague but further discussion of this dives directly into spoilers.)
All in all, was this the best book I’ve ever read? No. But was it entertaining? Absolutely! Given the opportunity, I’d read this again.