Arc Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Rating: 5 out of 5

Expected publication:May 30th 2017 by Delacorte Press

One 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.


I'll be the first to admit I almost gave up on this book. The first 20% was tough going. Not because of the story but because of the characters. I didn't take to any of them. The only remotely good character was Nate and at times he was good and other times he was indifferent.
There are comparisons between The Breakfast Club, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. The main difference being the gossip site author is known by everybody. In this day and age of technology the book teaches us that nothing is sacred, even your smallest blemishes or your tiniest untruths, or even, yes, your intimate secrets are up for the taking. And once that secret is out its everywhere. We get no take backs, no chance to bury it once its seen.
The book developed the characters well, in the end. Addy was no longer the doormat girlfriend who lived her life through her annoying boyfriends. Cooper wasn't just the jock with the good looks. Bronwyn wasn't only the brainiac and Nate wasn't the dropout he and everyone else thought he was.
There's a lot to learn about stereotypes too. The typical school story usually has one girl who sleeps around, and one girl who is the queen bitch with the hangers on. Although a few of those took a part in this story it wasn't overloaded with it. In fact, Nate shut down one of the episodes nicely for the sake of Coopers self-respect and I wish there were more 'Nate's' in school.
The main theme of the book seems to be Acceptance, which is poignant. We all accept who our friends are despite their faults, yet to a certain degree judge others we're not so friendly with using the same faults to keep them at a distance.
During OoUiL you will read from four different POV's and each segment reveals something more about the murder of Simon, the guy who runs the gossip app. Initially I thought this might detract from the main story but it flows around nicely as you learn more and more about the last characters who were with Simon on detention before he died.
This is an intriguing murder mystery on school grounds and brings up a whole trough of dilemmas, prejudices and opens our eyes to the stressful life of a high school senior and how not being accepted can matter.
In the end, I couldn't put it down. My head kept switching between possible culprits like I was in the book trying to solve the mystery myself. A great book debut from a talented author.
- CBx


About the Author

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. When she isn’t working or writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, McManus loves to travel with her son. Her debut young adult novel, ONE OF US IS LYING, will be released from Delacorte Press/Random House in 2017, with a second book to follow in 2018.

You can find Karen M. McManus  here:

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