REVIEW: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
SYNOPSIS: 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.
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery
RATING: ★★★★☆ / 4 Just What I Was Looking For Stars.
REVIEW: When I first came across this book, I saw the "The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars" tag and knew I had to share it with my cousin Gillian. The Breakfast Club is her favorite movie of all time. And my other cousin Carissa is always down for some dramatic mysterious books...and voila! A new book club was formed.
Whenever I'm reading a book for a book club there's this element of a ticking clock hanging over my head as I'm reading. Sometimes it can affect how I enjoy a book...not so with ONE OF US IS LYING. I couldn't put the book down. i read it so quickly that that ticking clock made no difference. It was such a compelling and fun book and it was written perfectly!
I don't want to give anything away, so I'll do this as well as is possible with constraints. The concept of an unreliable narrator isn't new...but try FOUR possibly unreliable narrators. Secrets are everywhere and the author teases them to perfection, giving us just bits and pieces until it all comes tumbling out. And this happens, essentially, four times. We the reader are not entirely sure who to believe. Everyone has motive, not just the four title students, and it makes for some interesting theories as you read. Just when you start to guess who the murderer is, you realize it could easily be someone else. Or a combination of someones. Or all the someones. Or none...It's a lot of fun to keep yourself guessing.
Okay, so I don't want to oversell the book and put your expectations too high. It's not mind-blowing. There were a few moments that lagged or reminded me very clearly that it's a Young Adult book (I am an adult, so I need to remind myself sometimes that I'm supposed to be sympathizing with the teens and not the adults). But even still, the author's writing is so strong. She got the energy and flow of this book just right. And adding in the media circus elements to this novel was a stroke of genius.
Sometimes you read a book and you think, "this is exactly what I was looking for", and that's how I felt about ONE OF US IS LYING. It just hit that entertainment "spot" that I needed. I enjoyed the heck out of it and it made for a very energetic book club discussion. I definitely recommend.
Review by The Literary Llama