One of Us is Lying
Title & Author: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series Details: Standalone
Page Count: 361 Pages
Description: “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.”
“You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.”
Brian had it right when he wrote those words in the adored and highly quotable letter at the end of The Breakfast Club. The passage continues on to say: “But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question?”
*Inserts fist pump into the air while fighting the urge to blast “Don’t You Forget About Me” throughout the living room.*
Nostalgia aside, I bring this up because the idea of labels and what lies underneath them is not only the plight of seemingly every high school movie, book, and experience, but also the core of the readability of One of Us is Lying.
The book’s murder mystery hook – aided by the Pretty Little Liars/Gossip Girl comparisons – probably lured you in along with the rest of us, but the characters and their development are what keep you invested.
And it’s a good thing too because I correctly identified the killer during the opening scene. And if solving the murder was the only thing this book had going for it, I would have been extremely disappointed. But for me, the question was never who, but rather why?
Why did Simon have to die?
Why – and how – were the Bayview Four involved?
Of course I can’t tell you the answers, but trust me when I say that McManus is able to keep you intrigued while you simultaneously fall for the brain, the athlete, the princess, and the criminal who all had motives and additional secrets to hide.
Narrated and told via alternating points of view, One of Us is Lying is full of intricate characterizations and
sometimes predictable twists on the classic tropes. I often found myself highlighting one-liners from this debut author that accurately nailed and effectively portrayed the personalities of the “Murder Club” members.
From the sensible brainiac, Bronwyn, (“Mostly I thought Evan and I had potential to be a solid couple until graduation, at which point we’d break up amicably and head to our different colleges.”) to the dealer from the bad part of town, Nate, (“Rigging detention sounds like work, and everything about Nate — from his messy dark hair to his ratty leather jacket — screams Can’t be bothered. Or yawns it, maybe.”) you’ll find yourself relating to or remembering people that fit these molds.
Ultimately that’s what I enjoyed so much – getting beneath the surface. We all have people in high school that we knew on a superficial level that were probably remembered via their clique. One word descriptions. Nothing more. Nothing less. This book is yet another reminder of what can happen when you choose to dig a little deeper and stop caring what your friends think.
If you’re looking for an entertaining and quick read for the beach this summer, I’d highly recommend giving this novel a shot. Of course I could be lying, so you’ll have to judge for yourselves.