One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

“One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

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.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! This is another ARC from ALA, and I was super excited to read this one. Luckily, this one actually met my expectations!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: When I picked up this book at ALA, it was definitely one of the few I was most excited about. A YA murder mystery, sign me up! Nonetheless, I knew that my entire opinion of the plot and the story would hinge on one main thing: the ending, specifically how twisty/cool it was + evidence throughout the entire story backing up that ending (as the book fairly advertised.) As you saw by my high rating, this book had an absolute perfect ending to the plot, with evidence actually backing it up from chapter 1.

The Good: Great plot, almost every character was likable in some way (which also made every piece of evidence pointing out one of the characters as the murderer harder to take, and made it less biased in our thinking of who did it as we didn’t really want any of them to be convicted rather than just one that we then ignored evidence for.) Outside of the actual parts of a novel, the book also had a really refreshing and nice take on LGBT and mental illness issues, which will be gone over in the spoiler sections below.

The Bad: Would’ve been 5 stars had the epilogue in the ARC version not existed. Will explain further under spoilers, but it added unnecessary romantic issues at the end that made the epilogue be mainly about a relationship/single character rather than overall aftermath/moving on.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE (If you do not want the entire book spoiled, AKA who did it and how and why, DO NOT READ THIS. You have been warned!)

The Characters: I really really liked the characters in this novel, especially the growth we saw. In the beginning, everyone is practically a walking stereotype, and later it shows how they became this way, from the parents and home life, to their friends and relationships. Additionally, everyone had realistic flaws that made them feel more real and more human, especially shown by the “secrets” they all held. Lastly, we saw LGBT issues (Cooper being gay, and how his father and the baseball community was because of it), as well as mental illnesses (Simon being depressed + killing himself) being dealt with. However, the best thing about this was that the entirety of Cooper did not become being the token gay, and he was a developed character outside of his sexuality, and how Simon was not seen as a good person just because he killed himself, and there was no glorification of his suicide. People were saddened by the death and remorseful of the actions they may have made to push Simon to suicide, but they also didn’t forget the horrible manipulation he did to everyone, and the fear he purposely bred in everyone’s hearts.

The Plot: This was fantastic! Not only was the ending so twisty (yes I suspected it was Simon’s doing, just not necessarily Jake’s sadistic part in all of it. But the greatness was not in the ending itself, but how it was actually built up, and a reread (and just thinking back) showed just how well planned this all was. Additionally, I was both able to get connected to the main characters (a necessary thing to feel truly invested in a novel), but the information/evidence against characters was also introduced well enough that I suspected everyone at one point or another.

The Favorite Character: Honestly, I love everyone in the murder club (only Nate a little less so, because of the ending.)

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