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One of us is Lying By: Karen McManus
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One of us is Lying
By: Karen McManus
Publisher/Date: Delacorte Press/ 2017
Adult Language, Sexual Situations, Substance Abuse and Dealing
Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pluses: An intriguing mystery with plenty of suspects and solid character development
One of us is Lying Karen McManus’s New York Time’s Bestselling debut novel. I might have renamed it Everyone is Lying. What can I say except, “Wow! Mind blowing! Strap in for a roller coaster ride with twists, turns, and flipping everything upside down”. McManus confesses in the website Goodreads that the iconic teen movie The Breakfast Club was the inspiration for this novel. However, the stereotypes, high school students, detention, and having the characters bond is where the similarities end. The book is narrated by the perception of each of the four main characters.
Five high school students end up in detention a jock (Cooper), a beauty queen (Addy), a brain (Bronwyn), a juvenile delinquent (Nate), and an outcast (Simon). So, why do only four students emerge from detention alive? The police suspect foul play, and the question arises who killed Simon the gossip hound who has destroyed numerous lives with his public tell all app? The suspects keep coming out of the woodwork as we find out about reputation destroying secrets that were about to be revealed and ones that have already been exposed.
Cooper is a successful baseball player that is actively being scouted by the top athletic universities. Driven by his father, Cooper does not see failing as an option. Addy is your all American girl next door beauty. Her appearance has gotten her in with the popular crowd where she intends to stay. Bronwyn is intelligent and is on track to becoming the school’s Valedictorian. She is determined to get into Yale at all cost. Nate is already on probation for selling drugs. Although he does not see a productive future for himself, he is trying hard not to violate his probation. What do they all have in common? They all have a life altering secret that they want suppressed.
I had read several reviews of One of Us is Lying before I actually sat down to read it, so I already knew that there is at least one surprise twist. I was not prepared for a book that left me hanging on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end. Unfortunately, because I knew that there would be twists and turns, I had suspected one of the characters early on in the book. This was a mistake on my part because I went into the story focused on this one character with a biased attitude, and I did not read carefully enough into the details of each of the other characters.
McManus did a phenomenal job of creating in-depth characters with human flaws, emotions, and dynamic experiences that shaped their personalities and perceptions of life. I love reading about why complex characters act the way they do in a story. That is why I absolutely adore reading fairytale retellings because we get insight into why some characters are perceived as good and some may, wrongly, be perceived as villains. In reality, I think this book illustrates there are many shades of gray in human nature.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that loves reading young adult fiction (you forget that this is YA), mysteries, thrillers, suspense, or books with intricate character development. McManus did mention that she has another book coming out in the future. I am eagerly anticipating her next book! What a way to start off my new year’s reading list!
*If you liked this book, you might also enjoy Looking for Alaska by John Green.
What is one of your favorite books? Why?