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BOOK REVIEW: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

| 4 July 2017 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Penguin Teen
May 2017
Paperback, $17.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Young Adult / Mystery



On Thursday 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 Thursday, he died. But on Friday, 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 just 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.


It’s clear from the blurb alone that this is likely going to be a book full of clichés, and it doesn’t disappoint in this regard.

There are elements of The Breakfast Club here, as well as various other teen-centric, stereotype-filled stories.

It’s all about challenging those stereotypes and forming friendships with people who might outwardly seem to be your polar opposites. People are thrown together, and soon discover they have more in common than first believed. Each one of these kids has their own struggles, which is a good message for teen readers who are facing their own battles, but challenging the stereotype is no longer shocking or surprising, in this current time of well-rounded characters. Unfortunately these characters were just not developed enough to evoke feeling from this reader.

As in stories like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, readers are able to see this situation from several perspectives. As told by the kids in the room at the time, each one asserting their innocence, each one wondering which of the others might have tried to frame them; but also from the public’s perspective, as we see television specials, blog posts, twitter trends and the like.

For this reader, the biggest issues were the lack of unique ideas and the fact that the voices of the four main characters were hard to tell apart.

While it’s not the most unique concept or execution, there are some twists that will likely keep readers guessing. 

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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