Book Review: One of Us is Lying
By: Karen M. McManus
Published By: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Page Count: 368
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Young Adult - Mystery
As a teen I loved diving into mysteries, but as an adult I'll admit that I have strayed to other genres. It takes a lot more to pique my interest when a mystery pops up on my radar. I was initially intrigued by this one because of the memorable cover. The missing faces replaced with notebook paper is slightly creepy and gives the four main characters an everyman sort of quality. I wanted to know more about these teens. Who are they? What are they lying about? How did detention end in death?
The novel opens in detention with the four main characters: Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Addy. Each of them is serving time for the same offense, possession of a cell phone during instructional time, but they all claim that the phones found in their bags don't belong to them. Serving detention with the four is Simon, the school's gossip monger who manages to alienate everyone he meets. Nobody is thrilled to be in such close proximity to Simon - especially when he reveals that he has some juicy secrets about each of his fellow classmates that will be going live on his gossip app the following day. Except Simon won't ever get the chance to make the post live; he won't ever leave detention alive. Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Addy all have secrets they'd rather keep hidden from the student body, but each proclaims loudly that they were not the one who murdered Simon. Which one is telling the truth? Who is behind Simon's death?
In an instant, the four are thrown together and must learn that the outside world is a cruel place. They will all have their darkest fears realized as their secrets rise to the surface and become public knowledge. In the end, they will each have to learn how to overcome their shortcomings and embrace who they are post murder investigation. Is this unlikely group destined to become a clandestine murder plotting Breakfast Club or are they truly innocents who were targeted to take the fall?
I loved watching these four teens from different backgrounds and circumstances navigate the high school currents while balancing family and trying to figure out exactly what happened to Simon. I often find it difficult to review mysteries because I don't want to give any sorts of spoilers, but I will say two things. One, I figured out Cooper's deal pretty early on, but most of the others surprised me. Second, I didn't predict the twists. The killer's identity was intriguing and made perfect sense as I looked back, but it was not one of my initial hunches.
Aside from the mystery aspects, I loved how family is viewed in this novel. There are examples of strong families, broken families, and families that are works in progress. I don't like that so many parents in YA novels are oblivious and non-present. There are certainly some of those parents in this novel, but I also admired Bronwyn's mother. She wasn't always happy with her daughter, but she always stood by her and protected her. In addition to parent-child relationships, I was also drawn to the sibling relationships. I found them all to be positive. Maeve and Ashton are certainly the sort of sisters I'd want in this situation. I also loved that Cooper's younger brother was so supportive. The siblings symbolized the meaning of blood being thicker than water.
As with most YA novels, there was some romance sprinkled throughout. I was firmly shipping Bronwyn's relationship.
If you're in the mood for a little dark reading this summer, I'd recommend picking this one up. It will have you thinking about human nature, mental illness, your interactions with others, and the hurtful nature of bullying. It's a powerful, thought provoking read that isn't likely to leave me any time soon. I compulsive read from the 50% mark because I just needed to know how all the pieces fit together. I'm intrigued to see what McManus will offer up next; it'll certainly be going on my TBR list.
One Last Gripe: I was furious with the way Addy is treated after her secrets come out - especially by so called friends. People in glass houses should never throw stones.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved watching the four main characters evolve.
First Sentence: A sex tape.
Favorite Character: Addy, but Bronwyn is a very close second
Least Favorite Character: Vanessa
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.