Published: June 1st, 2017
Purchase here: Amazon
Synopsis: 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.
Diversity: Bronwyn is half-Colombian. There are lgbtq+ characters.
Warnings: abusive relationships, verbal abuse, depression, mentions of drug use, mentions of suicide, homophobia.
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
One of Us Is Lying is a modern locked room murder mystery inspired by the Breakfast Club.
The most important part of murder mysteries are the hints throughout the book that cast suspicion on each character and ultimately lead you to the killer. McManus succeeds in dropping hints without making it too obvious and giving away the game. Without spoiling anything, regardless of opinions on the killer, you will read this book with the killer in mind for the entire time without realising who it is.
McManus also succeeded in her POV characters. Nate, Bronwyn, Cooper and Addy are all completely different people – they go through different experiences, have different views of the world and are brought together because of this violent act that they are the prime witnesses for. When written, they have different voices with different thoughts and concerns and to make such clear character voices is a feat in itself.
They each go on character arcs, but admittedly, it’s the stories of Cooper and Addy that I find most entertaining and inspiring. Again, I don’t want to give too much away because if you read this book, I’d want you to go in blind – but both of these characters have to deal with similar massive secrets and fallouts both in their personal and public lives. During the story, they find the strength to love themselves and be who they are and overcome their own demons.
I finished the book so proud of Cooper and Addy.
There is a romance that takes up a good chunk of Nate and Brownyn’s stories, but I didn’t find it overwhelming or too much. Perhaps a little cliche – the good girl and the bad boy falling in love – but it was sweet and drawn out, with a lot of history that they both had to explore once more. Even when mistakes happen, Nate and Brownyn are very reasonable and healthy in their thoughts and how they are expressed – a nice change from the usual stereotype that usually glorifies abuse.
This book follows the usual points of a locked room mystery, but with all the media circus that the modern age brings and the gossip of high school. It felt realistic in the sense that yes, this is what would happen if something like this happened today rather than in an Agatha Christie novel. There were news vans and invasions of privacy and a crime show that covers the story. Gossip and rumour and social media also play a significant part in a very familiar way.
One of Us Is Lying is an interesting twist on the Breakfast Club and high profile murders in a modern setting. It’s tense and keeps you questioning exactly who is responsible. No one and everyone seems like they could be, and I highly recommend going into this story as blind as you can to fully appreciate the twists and turns.