Book Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, 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.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Length: ~8 hours

This book starts off with five students getting sent to detention, Breakfast Club-style. Only in this case, only four of them make it out alive. One dies in detention, and the other four are put under investigation.

I’d heard a lot of good things about this book, and overall, I liked it, but some parts definitely did not live up to the hype for me.

My two main issues while reading were that each of the four main characters is such a cliche (but I guess the author was just really trying to lean into the Breakfast Club comparison?) and I wasn’t super happy with the ending. Bronwyn is the smart girl set for an Ivy league school. Cooper is a jock. Addy is the pretty girl with the popular boyfriend. Nate was really the only one who felt unique from the start for me. This bit bothered me less and less as the story went on because they each had tremendous character growth. By the middle of the novel, the four main characters are all fully-fleshed out.

The other issue I had was the ending. It felt like this novel really slowed down in the middle section, and they weren’t really making any progress on solving the mystery for quite a while. Then when the mystery is solved, it felt a bit unsatisfying at first. That’s all I’ll say on that because spoilers.

Ok, now onto the positives. Like I said, massive character growth. I really hated these characters going in and wasn’t sure if I was going to keep reading a book whose characters I wasn’t completely behind, but that definitely changed. Not too long into the story I started falling in love with the main characters, as well as the side characters, like Maeve and Ashton.

Once that happened, I really couldn’t put it down. I needed to know who the killer was, and I was ready to feel so betrayed when it was revealed who did it.

I also really, really, really loved the relationship between Bronwyn and Nate. It might have been the cause of some of the slowness I mentioned, but I did really love all of their scenes. I just really love Bronwyn. She’s definitely my favorite character.

If you have to choose between reading this physically and listening to the audiobook, I highly recommend the audiobook. It’s read by a full cast, and each of the narrators is perfect for their character. Bronwyn’s voice actor sounds like such a little nerd and it was perfect.

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