One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication date: 01 June 2017
Genre: YA crime
Page count: 368 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This is a spoiler-free review.
I hadn’t read much YA crime, however Truly Devious got me interested in the genre and I devoured a ton of it in October. One of the books I read during this binge was One of Us is Lying, one of the most popular books in this genre. Having heard so many mixed opinions on it, I was super curious to see what the story was. One of Us is Lying is a delightfully twisted tale that reads like The Breakfast Club, but with more murder.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.
He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.
Everyone has secrets, right?
What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.
One of Us is Lying is split into four perspectives — our four suspects — and each character has their own unique voice. I really enjoyed the switching between voices — it was very smooth and didn’t feel jarring like it can in other multiple POV books. McManus does a good job of holding back certain facts and feeding the reader a trickle of information. Because of this, the book is very well-paced and tense. Although I preferred the setting of Truly Devious, which takes place at a remote Vermont boarding school, I thought the standard high school setting worked really well for this plot. I’m not usually a fan of contemporary YA books, however the crime elements were strong enough for me to really enjoy this story.
The four POV characters — Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate — all fit into high school stereotypes, but McManus turns what could have been flat characters into vivid and well-fleshed out people. Each person’s character arc is incredibly vital to the story and unraveling of the mystery, so I don’t feel like I can say much about them without spoilers. However, I will say that there was one person I thought was a little weaker and more dull than the others, and I was very surprised by who my favourite character was.
My only real complaints about the book are that I wish it was a little darker and, while I enjoyed the resolution of the mystery, I thought there could have been a little more oomph to it. These things could have elevated a good, fun mystery book into a sensational crime thriller. However, I ended up really enjoying this book and would highly recommend picking up the audiobook — all four narrators are fantastic and you wont be able to stop listening!
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