Review: One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (arc)

One Of Us Is Lying Karen M McManus
One Of Us Is Lying Karen M McManus

Title: One Of Us Is Lying  
Author: Karen M. McManus 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery 
Publication date: May 30, 2017 
Rating: ★★★★ 

<< ARC received through NetGalley >>

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.

Some people are too toxic to live. They just are.
If books were judged on their premise alone, One Of Us Is Lying would be an instant success. It’s what got me hooked on this book in the first place. Five students walk into detention, only four come out alive. Pay close attention and you might solve the mystery. EEEEEEEK. Exciting!

It’s not a twisted sort of fate that brings Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper together in detention on the evening of Simon Kelleher’s death. They’ve been set up. Someone wanted them there. To witness or to draw suspicion, no one can tell for sure, but after that night they will never be the same again. Simon was murdered and someone in that classroom is responsible.

As people start pointing fingers, "the Bayview four" try to move on with their lives. Except Simon’s killer does not grant them much time to process. Harmful evidence against the four starts conveniently popping up – which begs the question, which one of them is lying? Who is digging graves for the others?

It was all extremely addictive. Not just the search for Simon’s killer, but also the gossip floating around and the connection between this particular set of characters. The writing was engaging and fast-paced. Exactly right for this kind of book. I couldn’t keep myself from reading once I had started.

To be fair, the unravelling of the story could have been more mind-blowing. I guessed early on who was responsible for Simon’s death and although there may have been moments where my confidence wavered the tiniest bit, in the end I had it right. It doesn’t matter too much. The book was still intriguing. But some things were a little too simple or needed just a tad more foundation. The story was definitely good, but it had the potential to be great. So despite my appreciation, I also felt like the book missed that ‘something’ that made it extraordinary.

The characters are introduced as your average high school stereotypes. The brain, the beauty, the athlete, the criminal and the outcast. I was surprisingly okay with it. Because they own their status. Each one of them feels safe within his/her group of people. But as secrets start coming out and they have to fall back on each other instead of their former safety net, the author takes them beyond their initial labels. I thought it was really well done. As the characters have to face the consequences of their actions, they can’t hide anymore, they have to show the world who they really are. Painfully, relatably human.

There is romance in the book, but in a good, low-key kind of way. It doesn’t take over the story or diverts the focus. There was chemistry and believable emotion. I think it served the story well. The boy was also really my type of guy, so that helps a lot of course. Yes, I know. I’m so predictable.

I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a compelling read with likeable characters and an intriguing plot, helped along by good writing and a fast pacing. A decent young adult mystery for sure. I’ve seen the book compared to "Pretty Little Liars" and I agree. It has the same vibe. A bunch of teenagers framed for murder who constantly feel like there’s a sword hanging above their heads. Sounds pretty similar to me.

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