Review of One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

by - March 18, 2018



Genres: Mystery, Contemporary
Pages: 361
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: 30/05/2017
Find The Author: Website/Twitter
Find The Book: Book Depository/AbeBooks UK/US

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.


I promised myself that I wouldn't get hit by the hype train ever again and unfortunately, after seeing this book mentioned so much when I was reading the reviews of People Like Us, I strapped myself to the train tracks and got smashed with a 185.6 ton British Rail Class 220. It wasn't that this was a bad book, it just wasn't that fantastic either.

The thing that drew me to the story initially was that this is literally The Breakfast Club, with a couple of gender swaps. You have the athlete, the brain, the outcast, the princess and the criminal. The brain is swapped to female, Bronwyn and the outcast is swapped to Male, Simon. We know from the blurb that Simon dies by end of detention, so the question is simply - who did it?

“She's a princess and you're a jock," he says. He thrusts his chin toward Bronwyn, then at Nate. "And you're a brain. And you're a criminal. You're all walking teen-movie stereotypes.”

A big problem I had with this was the pacing, I did find myself frequently checking what my percentage was on my Kindle. The detention scene was over so fast that I never got a moment to connect with Simon, or care about his death. If that had been dragged out two or three chapters to set up the characters that would have really helped.

I liked the exploration of the character stereotypes and how they revealed their secrets. Cooper's surprised me the most, while Bronwyn and Addy's were a little obvious. The character development was lacking somewhat, but I loved how Addy went from being a very weak, passive character to a fully developed character.

"Instead of looking though, I kick it. Which is pretty satisfying, so I do it another five or ten times, harder and harder until the cheap wood splinters and cracks. I'm panting, breathing in lungfuls of puke infested air, and I'm so fucking sick of it all, I could kill somebody. Some people are too toxic to live. They just are."

Nate was easily the strongest character, with the best developed back story. The other 3 came from privileged backgrounds and not much was mentioned about them, whereas we know that Nate lives in a broken down home with his drunken father, selling drugs just to put food on the table. He was obviously written to be John from The Breakfast Club, but with a softer side to him.

I didn't guess what had happened / who did it until the very end. My initial guess was that it was Bronwyn, then Addy, briefly Cooper, the teacher and then I started questioning everyone around them as well. It was a great idea but poorly executed - it was revealed too fast without any sort of big HOORAH, which was what I was expecting.


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