One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Received from NetGalley for review.

Originally I wasn’t going to read One of Us is Lying until much closer to its publication date (June 1st) but when I read the blurb – think The Breakfast Club with murder thrown in – and a few lines and I was immediately intrigued. I love The Breakfast Club and McManus’ take on it sounded so interesting that I couldn’t resist. I wanted to know (read: had to know) how the story unfolded and I wasn’t willing to wait until later in the year. And let me tell you, it was worth it. This book is fantastic – a masterful mix of young adult, contemporary, murder mystery, and romance, all tied up into a thrilling debut.

The blurb already tells us what happens when five students enter detention but only four leave:

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?

But the mystery surrounding Simon’s death is relentless and consumed my mind when I wasn’t reading the book. For some three hundred pages we are taken on a wild ride, constantly wondering who is telling the truth, who is lying, and how the story will unfold, especially as each of the protagonists had something to hide. I had so many theories about Simon’s death but I didn’t see the truth coming at all, which is probably the highest praise I can give to a murder mystery.

It probably goes without saying but I loved the characters. Although the blurb could make it seem like they were one dimensional stereotypes, they were anything but. McManus has crafted four multi-dimensional and well-rounded characters and I can honestly say that I loved every single one of them by the end of the book (finding out more about Simon was fascinating as well although I can’t say I loved him at any point in the novel). All show great character development and growth, especially Addy and Cooper who, I feel, had the biggest fall out from their secrets being revealed. They are all badass in their own way and I loved that the book was told from each of their perspectives; I really enjoy split narratives and it worked exceptionally well here.

Obviously I haven’t said too much in this review, as the gradual reveals and build up to finding out what actually happened to Simon are what makes the novel so interesting, but I highly recommend people to seek this out when it’s published – I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed if you do.

Read: January 31st-February 2nd 2017

4/5 stars


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