Sunday, June 4, 2017

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

If One of Us Is Lying was a television series, I would binge-watch it wholeheartedly. It's been a while since I've gotten so into a book I've devoured the majority of it in one sitting when I haven't been on a plane. This hooked me completely, and I'm surprised how much I liked it.

Five students have detention one afternoon. There's Cooper, the golden boy and star baseball player trying to decide between college and the major leagues; Bronwyn, the class valedictorian who plans to follow her family's legacy and go to Yale; Addy, one-half of the picture-perfect couple and a homecoming princess; Nate, the bad boy, on probation for dealing drugs (and still selling them not so secretly); and Simon, the despised (and kind-of feared) creator of About That, Bayview High's gossip blog. They're all in detention for something none of them did, and they can't understand why the teacher doesn't believe them.

Before detention is over for the day, Simon is dead, and apparently, it wasn't an accident. It's not long before investigators discover that the next day, Simon was planning to publish items about Cooper, Bronwyn, Addy, and Nate—items which could potentially destroy all of their lives. Suddenly the four of them are the suspects in Simon's murder, and are pariahs among their fellow students, most of whom hated Simon until he died, then turned him into a tragic figure.

Suddenly four people who weren't really friends (or at least since childhood) are brought together. Each claims their innocence—but is one of them lying, or did someone else get involved? And how, when it was just five of them in the classroom that day? Can they clear their names and get their lives back?

It turns out that Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate all have secrets they'd prefer to have kept hidden. In some cases these aren't even the secrets that Simon threatened to expose. But when the truth is revealed it will impact their relationships with each other and their friends, as well as their futures. Can they handle it?

Karen McManus did a great job with this book. It's amazing—she basically took most of the typical high school stereotypes, yet gave her characters a little more depth than you'd expect. Even though you probably will have suspicions of how the plot will unfold (and most of those suspicions will be correct), it's still interesting the way McManus pulls everything together. I couldn't get enough of this book, and even though the story wrapped up, I wouldn't have minded if it ran longer.

This was a great read. And let's put it this way: only for a novel as skillfully written as One of Us Is Lying would make me willing to relive memories of some of the angst, emotions, drama, and insecurities of high school. (And since you know so many books have me singing a particular song, for no reason whatsoever, this book had me singing "One of Us" by ABBA. But this was an easy one: the song actually has the lyric "One of us is lying.")

No comments:

Post a Comment