One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus ★★★★

IMG_98661One Of Us Is Lying is a Young Adult crime thriller novel that tells the story of five stranger students at Bayview High, who enter a detention together but by the end of the hour one of the students is dead. Throughout the novel we follow the four remaining students in the aftermath of the student’s death, and while we see the mystery unfold we also learn about the hidden secrets of the main characters. This is an exciting, page-turner of a novel, that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

This novel tells the story of five students: Brownyn, a Yale-bound perfect student, Addy, a beautiful girl in the most popular group in school, Cooper, a star baseball player destined for great things, Nate, constantly involved in various crimes, and Simon, an outcast who created and runs Bayview High’s famous gossip app. The five students enter detention together, none of them being close friends with the rest. By the end of the detention, Simon is dead: just 24 hours before he was going to post the four other students’ deepest darkest secrets on the gossip app. As soon as I heard this premise I was completely intrigued, and I also love a high-school setting every now and again. In the end I did suspect this novel’s ultimate reveal before it happened, and I cannot say I was particularly happy with it. Nevertheless, this did not ruin my reading experience that much; I was much more in it for a fun, easy page-turner of a read, rather than a intelligent and well executed story, and I certainly got that.

I am used to reading about much more well-rounded, developed characters than were in this novel, and usually this lack would really hinder my reading experience: character development is a really important aspect of novel for me. Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading about the characters in this novel. As much as it can be infuriatingly tropey, I really did enjoy that the five main characters fit into the typical school-stereotypes. We got to see the story progress from the points of views of all the four main characters after the detention, and learning about their social circles, family lives and academic and social pressures was really fun. I was also constantly intriguing throughout to find out what it was that all the characters were hiding, although these secrets were quite predictable. To be fair to the author, the characters were shown to be slightly transgressive of their social images, for example with the athlete not being as traditionally masculine as it would first seem (however, with emphasis on slightly transgressive).

YA crime thriller novels are not novels I tend to ever pick up, however the hype that surrounded this novel earlier this year really got me interested in it, and while I do not read a lot of YA fiction, I am always keen to pick up the few that are receiving the most amount of praise and general discussion. I do think this novel was great for what it was, and what it was trying to achieve; I was completely hooked by the plot and while I did not necessarily care about the characters on any deep level, I had a lot of fun following their different stories and seeing where the plot would go.

Simply, this novel was a lot of fun! It was everything I was hoping it would be before I went into it, and so I would say if you are looking for an enjoyable, page-turner of a novel that you can fly through, this would be perfect. I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy Young Adult fiction, or want to try an easy-going thriller novel. While it did not have the most well-crafted plot or convincingly developed characters, I thought this novel was great.


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