YA review: ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen McManus


  Author: Karen McManus

  Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

TW: depression, suicide, murder

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne 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.

My Review:

I was so excited about reading this book (who wouldn’t love Breakfast Club+Pretty Little Liars?), and even was until it reached climax, that the disappointment hit too hard.

The story starts with five characters – all high school stereotypes. I was hoping for them to overcome that stereotype and be more three dimensional character, but it didn’t happen. Except for Addy, who had an amazing character development. For the rest of, it was hard to connect to them because they were never more than what they started out to be.

The suspense was what kept me reading – I finished it in three and a half hours, because I couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened. Was it predictable? Yes. Was it still worth reading until the end? Definitely.  Because it’s narrated from all four of the students’s POV, it’s easy to tell who killed Simon, but it was still so suspenseful that I had to read it from the book, I needed the author confirm that I got it right. It wasn’t just a drive to know ‘who’, but also ‘how’ and ‘why’.

Now, the ‘why’ is very problematic. I really really wish there was a different answer to it, but this part villainized mental illness, as if we haven’t had enough blame for violence, for killers who don’t even have mental illness. It felt like it was just stigmatizing mental illness, mistaking ‘sociopaths’ for ‘depressed teens’.

Overall, the writing and the suspense was great. I’d recommend it to mystery lovers, but only if you’re not tired of wrong mental illness reps yet.

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