Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Genre: Teen/ young adult fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Book format: Digital (pre-release copy)
Description: Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.
Everyone has secrets, right?
What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.
*Free copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for review…
Review: When I first saw this book advertised for review on NetGalley the advert challenged me to ‘not like this book’. That statement and the description of this book just made me want to read it so much and I’m happy I took up the challenge. But try as I could I just can’t not like this book, instead I love it!
One Of Us Is Lying is a YA mystery thriller with an American high school setting. The story starts with five teenagers going to detention, all of them seem to have been set up to attend detention and before they know it, one of them dies. With the teacher having left the room right before the victim dies, it seems that one of the four remaining teens is the killer. But which one was it and how did they do it?
I won’t detail the plot but it is set in America with typical stereotypes of the teens. The book is told in the first person and each chapter of the story is headed by the name of the teen who’s point of view we follow. Although the plot isn’t difficult to get into and the death in detention was quite dramatic, already setting up the drama in the rest of the book, I did find it a bit hard to follow the different points of view at first. It took several chapters into the story before I could really tell apart all the teenagers and I think this might be because there’s a lot of point of view switching at the start (chapters are never that long) and this led me to get confused a little at the start and not enjoy the book so much.
A few chapters in though and I really started to enjoy this story. All the characters are different and although the stereotypes are a little too typical, very American and not really like people in the UK so much, I’m used to reading American novels so it didn’t bother me and the characters all had more depth than it first appears.
The story moves quickly and gets very exciting as it becomes evident that there are deep secrets that the teens all hold. Not only the secrets that they initially don’t want revealed, but all the teens have other secrets which I didn’t guess at all except for Cooper’s deep secret which I had suspected for a long time before it was finally revealed.
I really like the fast pacing of this story, there was never any rest. I wasn’t really reading this book and trying to figure out who the killer was which was nice as the revelation was surprising though I might have guessed it if I had thought more in a detective way. However as with most books this was far deeper than just the death and all the characters go on such a journey that it was the whole story that kept me really entertained and thrilled.
The ending is very satisfying especially with the epilogue which I felt was necessary to finish off one character’s story. Most loose ends are tied up in this story and it is a bit of a typical teen book with an overall happy ending to the dark things that happened before. I did enjoy the book, it has occasional use of the f and s swear words but nothing else too offensive (a bit of violence but nothing graphic). I realise the book is a little unbelievable for some people in the sense that lots of teen books and films sometimes feel, the stereotypes perhaps a little too overdone, but I can’t lie, I did really enjoy reading this and feel like I came down from a bit of a high after finishing the last page. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone wanting a YA mystery thriller. It’s a deeper story than you think and a really gripping read…I guess I also failed on NetGalley’s challenge to ‘not like this book’ 😉 !
-Review first appeared online May 2017 – now republished here.
Do you like mystery/thriller books? What about fast-paced young adult novels? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂