REVIEW: One Of Us Is Lying - Karen M McManus

One Of Us Is Lying - Karen M McManus
Published by Penguin Randomhouse on 1st June 2017.
My rating: 3/5
Book depository purchase link.

I love YA and I love crime fiction so I went into One Of Us Is Lying with some high expectations. With a solid Goodreads rating of 4/5 (at the time of writing), it seemed that it was all everyone could talk about. And I could see why.

With the recent success of teen suicide TV show Thirteen Reasons Why (TRW), the popularity for high school dramas has risen again and book sales for Jay Asher's novel have boomed for the first time since 2007. The interesting thing is, both TRW and One Of Us Is Lying follow the same clear principle: a student dies and their peers fill in the backstory. 

Simon, Bronywn, Nate, Cooper and Addy all find themselves in detention one afternoon. That in itself is very weird. They aren't exactly friends. Bronwyn is the ambitious, Yale-aspiring student, Nate is the one that's always in trouble, Cooper is the sports-freak and Addy is the resident princess. That leaves Simon, the "omniscient narrator" as he calls himself. It seemed at first that everyone was comfortable with themselves and their high school identity, but when one of the five dies in detention, everything starts falling apart. 

There's an app called About That threatening to exploit their secrets and a police investigation going on that could see them arrested. Tensions rise and each of the characters are pushed to their limits. I particularly enjoyed seeing how Addy changed her perspective on a lot of things, mostly relationships, and how she re-evaluated her family life. That might be an unpopular opinion because there are parts of Addy that make her unlikable (cough cough, her self-pity). Yet, there are aspects of every character that make them imperfect and that's where the mystery lies. Which one of them could have killed another?

The driving force of One Of Us Is Lying is how you begin to suspect every character. I scrutinised every line of dialogue, every alliance, every action and still found myself coming up short. But the ending didn't let me down. While I would have loved some TRW-style flashbacks, I settled for the explosion that concluded the story. Or, I'm still trying to let my brain calm down from it, anyway.

The only thing that I didn't 100% love was the romance aspect of the story. It really didn't need or benefit from it and I found it hard to get on board with the pairing. I struggled to route for them or even see why they were interested in one another, probably because it was all put down to the 'they used to know each other' plot device that I find depressingly lazy. Instead, it would have been more interesting to see some of the remaining four turning on one another, conflicts raging, blaming one another, anything that would have added more fuel to the fire.

Let me know if you manage to untangle the mystery faster than I did!

Love, Jess

Thank you to Penguin for my ARC.


  1. I've been curious about this one. The title is a great hook! I would definitely prefer conflict between the suspected liars than a romance.

    1. Yes, I mean it does have that to an extent. The romance element was just a weird add-on.


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