One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I could not put this book down…
The book starts in Mr. Avery’s detention classroom where we find five students, where it seems a possible “prank” has brought them all together in detention. These five are not close, most are strangers, some are acquaintances, but you would not label any as friends.
Bronwyn – The “brain” in detention. The fact that she is even in detention is surprising to everyone (herself included, and it appears she was framed…as she tries to explain to Mr. Avery, but he doesn’t really seem to care). She has high hopes of an Ivy League college…working towards becoming Valedictorian (with no real competition). Her life is full of extracurricular activities and doing what she can to reach her future college goals.
Cooper – The “jock.” Cooper’s dreams are all about baseball and going professional. This also happens to be the primary focus of his father as well, who he is desperate to never disappoint. Cooper’s dating Keely (to the dismay of much of the other guys at the school, who would rather be dating her themselves); however, he’s just not that into her.
Nate – The “criminal.” Nate’s currently on probation on drug-related charges…as he continues to sell drugs. He’s one of the only that is more of an “outsider,” the one that grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. His mother is nowhere to be found (assumed dead) and his father is an alcoholic that rarely leaves the couch. He basically is raising himself…choosing to stay away from his decrepit home as much as possible.
Addy – The “princess.” She is part of one of the school’s “it” couples with Jake the Jock, whom she is obviously in an unhealthy relationship with as he is very controlling (which most people notice, except for Addy herself). She’s rarely seen without him, almost becoming a part of him. She is consistently passive and agreeable with anything Jake says…it appears she has lost herself in this relationship.
Simon – The “omniscient narrator” (as he has labeled himself). Although he doesn’t believe he falls into a normal teenage stereotype, he sees himself as the all-knowing narrator – the one that sees (and reports) on everything that all the other students are doing. Simon started an app called “About That” where he posts all the secrets of the school – and apparently he’s seen as fact because he never seems to get it wrong. Obviously, the doesn’t make him the most liked person at school.
When it started, this felt very “Breakfast Club”-esque. I wasn’t sure how this was going to be at first…it obviously seemed like a Young Adult novel, which for me can be hit or miss. As detention continues, suddenly Simon has an anaphylactic seizure (severe peanut allergy) – this is traumatic for all involved as these teenagers have never experienced something of this nature. What makes it even worse is that Simon dies from this seizure. What makes it even worse yet…the death suddenly seems less like an unfortunate accident and more like a murder.
But who is the murderer? It surely couldn’t be any of the other students, could it? Prime suspects seem to be Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Addy since they were the only others in the room when this happened. But why? This question seems to be answered when the police discover that the next “About That” post seems to focus on these four…and some of their most devastating, life-changing secrets.
The book continues as we unravel the truths from the rumors and these four grow closer than ever…while trying to prove their innocence with the hope that one of their new friends is not secretly the murderer. A great “Whodunit?” type mystery book that will have you guessing until the end! The downsides? I thought the book was predictable at times. The book spent a lot of (needed and excellent) time working up to the climax/conclusion; however, when they got there, it felt a little rushed.
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