Arc Review: ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus


Bullying. Depression. Suicide. Alcohol abuse. Outing of a gay character. Mentions of school shootings.

Karen M. McManus

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
Release date: May 30th 2017

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?

“Everybody’s got secrets.”

One of Us Is Lying is a pretty engrossing YA Mystery novel. Told in multiple POVs, it has great writing, a fantastic set of characters, and a beginning that will hook readers right away. The mystery is executed very well, with twists and turns that catch you by surprise.

Karen M. McManus is a new author worth keeping an eye on. Her debut novel is refreshing and well-written, breathing new life into Contemporary YA novels. The plot is compelling, but the characters are what makes this story great.

At the beginning, One of Us Is Lying seems like a remix of The Breakfast Club. It does not take long for me to realize that that isn’t true. McManus might use the concept of students stuck in detention and high school stereotypes to help tell her story, but she smashes them right out of the gate.

Each POV character, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper, is fleshed out and layered. They each have unique voices and personalities, providing glimpses into the story. They are the ones who pull the reader in and keep things interesting as the plot progresses, secrets are uncovered, and truths are exposed.

There is also a little bit of Gossip Girl thrown in. McManus incorporates social media into the story, making it a very interesting part of the mystery. It adds another layer to the plot, which she explores very well. It does bring up a few difficult themes, though — I’ve listed them in the content warnings below.

I also have to mention the romance and heartbreak. There is a little bit of both in the story, but it is developed and well-paced. There is no instalove in this book, and the romances are also written. One in particular I found super realistic, especially with the way it ended.

In the end, One of Us Is Lying is a entertaining and engaging book. It has great characters, an interesting mystery to solve, and the pace is steady. It is very easy to lose yourself while reading it, which only makes things better. Recommended to YA fans who like mysteries and unconventional groups of friends.




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