Saturday, December 18, 2021

REVIEW: One of Us Is Lying (e-book) by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying is a YA mystery/thriller. I checked it out via one of my library OverDrive accounts.


It all starts with detention. Five students at Bayview High whose social circles don't usually all overlap find themselves cooped up together. Soon, one of them ends up dead, killed by a peanut allergy after drinking water from a peanut oil-tainted paper cup. One of them is almost certainly the killer, but which one is it?

The story is told from alternating POVs. There's Bronwyn, a perfect student who's destined to get into an Ivy League school. There's Addy, the pretty girlfriend of Jake, the captain of the football team. There's Cooper, a rising star baseball player. And there's Nate, a detention regular who's already on probation for dealing. Simon, the victim, ran a gossip blog and knew secrets about each of them that he'd been preparing to expose to the world. Could someone have killed him in order to protect themselves?

I'm drawn to YA mysteries and thrillers, and this is one I've wanted to read for some time. Although it took me longer to get through than I expected (I'm not much of an e-book reader anymore), I liked it overall.

With one big exception, the characters weren't as compelling as they could have been. The publisher's description presents them all as stereotypes: the brain, the beauty, the criminal, the athlete, and the outcast. They all had more to them than those labels might imply, but the only one that really grew on me was Addy. It surprised me, because she was initially one of my least favorite characters. Her entire life revolved around her boyfriend, to the point that she even wore her hair the way he preferred. It was a joy to watch her grow and figure out what she wanted to do.

The mystery was okay and kept me interested. The solution was messed up, but made sense considering the way it was framed. 

I was wondering how McManus managed to continue this since this book wrapped things up pretty well, but it looks like the next book stars all-new characters. I may give it a shot.


The author includes contact information for those who might need help with some of the various serious topics that the book touches upon, such as substance abuse and depression.

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