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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus – Book Review


Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Genre(s): YA, Mystery, Contemporary
Source: Purchased from Target
Pages: 361
Add to Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


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.


If you want to hear my spoiler-free thoughts in a quick 5 Minute Review, you can watch my YouTube review here:


One of Us Is Lying was a debut novel from Karen M. McManus and boy was this book a  blast. This book honestly reads like the Breakfast Club meets Clue (or Clue the Movie). The mystery was a lot of fun, the characters were high school archetypes with a twist, and the story was a fairly quick read. I read (devoured) this one in one sitting.

I really liked how right from the beginning you know you’re dealing with a murder and that all four of the suspects has a secret that is probably related to said murder. The characters drop hints throughout the book, allowing the reader to try to guess what the secrets are. Also, this is a multiple perspective book, which gives the reader a bit of insight on individual characters. We learn things that the others characters may not know and how these play out in the overall story. For this book, the multiple perspectives really work.

As for the characters, I thought they were a lot of fun. The characters definitely change from the beginning of the book because of the situation and watching these changes adds to a lot of growth. There were some pretty great relationships in here, there was one I was definitely shipping the entire book (I’ll go into this more during the spoiler corner).

The plot for this story was well paced, although more on the slower paced side. The slower pace did work for this story though because there were so many twists and turns we needed time to absorb. The reveal was done pretty well. We had one of those split scenes going on where one set of characters were talking about it as another set was with the person and the two plot lines start to overlap.

Okay, time to move to spoilers, because we’re already toeing the line.

Spoiler Corner
What a Twist

Okay. The reveal. The killer. I’m not going to lie. The grand reveal wasn’t that shocking for me. Guys, it’s a whodunnit story, there are only so many ways this story could end. If you’re genuinely trying to figure it out with the rest of the characters, you’re going to figure it out or at least consider this possibility. That being said, this reveal could have been the biggest cop-out ever, but I thought McManus approached it well. Also, when you flat-out tell us that one of the MCs is a criminal, there’s a VERY small chance that in a book like this he’s going to be the killer. If he WAS the killer, I would have been pretty mad. For those of you who read the story, did you see that reveal coming? If so, when did you put it together?

For those of you who read the story, did you see that reveal coming? If so, when did you put it together? Also, what did you think of the motive? [MASSIVE SPOILERS, ABORT, LOOK AWAY] They motive Simon had for killing himself reminded me a (tiny) bit of Elliot Rogers. They shared the same narcissism and sense of entitlement. Setting up Addy was an interesting move as well (not that they actually went through with it). I did like how they laid the breadcrumbs of the creeper forum posts. They could have met nothing, but they could have meant something (in our case it was kind of the key to the crime).

Oh and as for the secrets the characters were hiding, I didn’t see Bronwyn’s cheating coming. At least not right away, not until after that first hint. However, the way she cheated did take me by surprise. Addy cheating on her boyfriend and Cooper being gay did not take me by surprise though. I called out Cooper’s secret almost right away (really with a book full of high school stereotypes, we’re not going to have two cheaters). I was curious is the steroids secret was a fake secret or not, it wasn’t until Cooper confirmed that it was (that he just held back, faking the previous year’s results) that I knew. Nate’s secret was not nearly as big when compared to these secrets thought.

I was shipping Nate and Bronwyn SO HARD through this book. I thought they were super cute and loved that they got together. I was pretty pissed when Nate played that card, the “I’m a bad boy and bad things surround me and I’m going to ruin your life so we can’t be together” card. God, I hate that card. I’m just happy he came to his senses and got back together with her by the end of the book.

Final Thoughts

If you’re the fan of a fun murder mystery with a few twists and turns and a fun reveal, you’re going to like this one. The characters are a lot of fun and watching them (and the police) solve the murder is an interesting reading experience. If you don’t read a lot of mystery, you may be surprised by the grand reveal, but even if you guess it, you’ll probably enjoy the motives. I definitely recommend this one, especially if you just want something a little different.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ – 4.5/5 Stars

16 thoughts on “One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus – Book Review

  1. I loved this book and I hate to be the bearer of bad news and have to tell you, but I think Browyn and Nate just agreed to be friends at the end of the book. I really want a sequel because they are now one of my top book ships and I need them to be together. I hope there is a sequel and they get back together in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so want to read this books, love mysteries and twists. Only thing, is it scary? I can’t deal with scary, I struggle to get to sleep with scary books or movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would not call this one scary at all! It’s more suspense and it’s a contemporary mystery. There are a few moments that may have you on the edge of your seat in anticipation, but nothing that should keep you up all night (unless you’re eager to find out what happened)!


  3. This one – and so many others – are waiting for me to be read.. But I just keep getting drowned in other books that get priority. [So I’m just drooling over the reviews and dreaming of the day I’ll finally get to read it, haha.]

    Liked by 1 person

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