book review

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus


Release Date: May 30, 2017

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walks 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.


*Thank you Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review. 

One of Us is Lying is sure one of the most interesting YA Mystery out there. The title alone will catch your attention, not to mention that juicy blurb. With a premise like this one, I can’t help but expect it to be good. And this debut novel from Karen M. McManus didn’t disappoint. The moment I started, I devour every page with gusto.

Five Bayview High students, Bronwyn Rojas, Nathaniel Macauley, Cooper Clay, Adelaide Prentiss and Simon Kelleher were all sent to detention one afternoon when their teacher found cellphones on their bag which is prohibited especially in his class. But all of them claimed that the cellphones found are not theirs. But since it’s found in their possession, the teacher still held them responsible and went ahead with the detention. The thing is, one of them didn’t make it alive that afternoon. Simon died of peanut allergy and the other four students are there to witness it. But what everyone thought of as a tragic incident made an unexpected turn as police ruled out that Simon’s death is not an accident. Someone killed him. And the four students with him that afternoon are the main suspects.

Bronwyn, the smart, running for valedictorian girl, pressured by her family’s accomplishment to do well academically so she can go to Yale, same as her parents. Nate, the boy with a bad reputation. He is considered a criminal and is on probation for dealing drugs. He is living with his alcoholic father and it is up to him to keep the house running. There’s Cooper, the jock, star of the baseball team. He is the most popular and good-looking guy in school. Everybody likes him. Like Bronwyn, he gets a lot of pressure from his dad to do well in baseball to get a great scholarship. Adelaide, the pretty one, believed to be airhead and part of the popular crowd. Her life revolves around her control freak boyfriend, Jake, much to her sister’s dismay.

The fact that they are the only people around Simon when he died is enough for the police to suspect them. But not only that. Simon runs an app called About That where he used to dish out secrets of his fellow students at Bayview High. Turns out all four of them are keeping secrets and the subject of Simon’s next post which is due the day after he died. It is then safe to say that the four students with him all have motives to kill Simon. But, how big are those secrets for one to resort to murder? Also, Simon is the most hated person in school. Could this be someone else he hurt along the way and the four of them are just collateral damage? Or maybe, it was someone’s twisted idea of entertainment and the real killer is on the loose, getting away with what he/she did, having fun with everything that’s happening. Whatever it is, the police is convinced that one of them is the culprit.

One of Us is Lying is not only interesting, it is also engaging and totally engrossing. There’s not a lot of YA mystery novels out there that can accomplish that. Everything started so good with Simon’s death immediately laid out for everyone to guess whodunnit. I have a hint of who’s the killer halfway of the story and it’s nice to know I get it right come revelation, considering all the red herrings the author throw out there.

Having four alternating voices of the main characters slow down the pacing and might get you confused at times, but it also enables the reader to fully get to know each one of them. It seems a bit cliché having four stereotyped teenagers but it did work for this story. The author managed to connect them all with Simon one way or another and make them all appear guilty at some point which makes everything more exciting. One really have to wonder which one of them is lying. The characters are realistic and believable enough. Even the goody-two-shoes Bronwyn is not that perfect as people believed, Addy is not an airhead after all and there is more to Nate than his bad boy image. But I personally like Cooper’s character. He is a real charming guy and easily likeable. But they all have unique stories to tell and it adds to the appeal of this book. I like how they managed to develop a friendship despite their differences. Also, the character development is very well executed especially with Addy. It may be focused on mystery but it is not only what it offers. There is so much more to the story that reflects the life of most teens is facing nowadays. Like family issues each of the main characters are dealing with, homosexuality and bullying – a handful at that.

As I said, it started good but somewhat hurried with Simon’s death. The course of the investigation is quite slow-paced, too, since it keeps on jumping from one character to another. Also, I don’t understand how the investigators consist few policemen and yet not one decided to look for all the leads possible. They are just so focused to pin down the murder to the four teens who was there on the scene. I mean, Simon is a gossipmonger and revealed secrets that affected a lot of people. It won’t take a genius to see that a lot of people have motives to kill him. But anyway, that’s just me. I still think this is one great mystery book.

All in all, One of Us is Lying is a solid read that will keep the reader’s attention from start to finish. It is not short of mystery and there’s few surprising twist and turns in store. It is quite an enjoyable read and YA fans especially those who love them some mystery will surely appreciate it. Awesome debut for Miss McManus.

RATING: 4.5/5



(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Purchase it on One of Us Is Lying

Purchase it on One of Us Is Lying

Purchase it on One of Us is Lying

13 thoughts on “One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s