“One of Us is Lying” by Karen McManus | Book Review

Book Review | Rating – 4/5 | Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

So after reading through some horror I thought I’d cool off by reading through some young adult fiction once again. Now, this is always a very easy genre for me to enjoy, thye’re books I find the most enjoyable, and since I’d seen this book on the shelves around shops many times, I thought it was time to add this to my collection as well.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them. (synopsis from Goodreads)

What did I think?

Like I said at the beginning, this was a book I’d come across many times when scanning the shelves of countless bookshops. It had intrigued me for some time and I was yet to delve into a proper mystery novel, so I gave this one a try.

I’ll start off by saying that I was incredibly happy with my choice to start reading this book. From the very beginning I was gripped with what had happened to Simon. As the book moves through the mystery, revealing more about the characters and why they’d want to keep their own secrets away from the public eye, I just wanted more than anything to know what happened. I won’t spoil it, but my god the ending was well worth the wait.

So what were the best bits?

  • Great characters: When it comes to it, these characters are very typical of many young adult books that came before this one. Yet it is this that make them so much more interesting. Certain aspects of each character is revealed throughout, either expressed willingly or given up without a choice. As I was anticipating what could happen to them I decided instead to focus on how these characters react and change as their secrets are revealed, soon enough they all felt like very real people rather than two-dimensional archetypes.
  • Compelling plot: I mean its fairly safe to say that without a compelling plot the book would be pointless, especially a mystery novel. This one definitely kept me gripped, each twist and turn made me want to know more. By the end of the book I was just as eager to know who killed him as the actual characters.
  • Easy to read: Being a young adult book, there is a very obvious readership that it is targetted at. I have fully accepted that at 27 I’m older than the target reader, yet its partly why I enjoy these books, no matter the subject matter I’m able to easily read with ease, making my way through the plot without having to think too hard about what I’m actually taking in. I would never take this as a bad thing as it allows to maintain the enjoyment I have when reading a good book.

At the end of the day…

I really enjoyed this book, it was compelling throughout, slowly revealing more about the actual killer as it goes on. The characters are all given their own individual voice and secrets that make them seem more real as the book goes on. By the end of the book I was torn between wanting to know who the killer was and not wanting the book to actualy end.

This would definitely be a great book for lovers of young adult fiction, and especially for those looking to start diving into the relm of mystery novels. I’m now very ready to buy the next book in this series to see what else the author has to offer.


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