One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Five students go to detention.
Only four leave alive.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.
I bought this book eons ago but I find it hard to find time to read all of the books I want to, so if possible I find them as audiobooks and can listen to them when driving or exercising or doing LEGO (yes, this is how I finished the book on Saturday because I couldn’t wait). As a result, I ended up listening to this rather than reading it.
The audiobook is read by four narrators, one for each of the main characters. It works really well – they became the voices I heard in my head and it made it easy to follow who was talking after a few POV changes because you get used to them.
The only issue I had was that sometimes I thought people were saying something and were actually only thinking it and it took me a second to distinguish.
But, I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who likes being read to.
The switching POVs in the book lend themselves to alternating narrators but for the actual story they are perfect. The premise is looking at four people who were all in a room with a murder victim and any of them could have done it. By cycling through, the book allows readers to really get to know each of these characters and be attached not just to them but the people surrounding them (like Bronwyn’s sister who is one of the protagonists in the sequel).
The main characters:
And they start as ciphers/caricatures/tropes to be ticked off but we know that being smart, being arrested, being good at sport are never the whole of anyone so as the story progresses we are able to really get into the characters and what their secrets are as well as why they did it/why they hid it.
The revolting POVs also allows the story to jump around really smoothly. Sometimes in a novel getting from one scene to the next takes more time than anyone wants to devote to it (author or reader) but this format allows the reader to slid into characters at important points for them or the plot.
I don’t want to give too much away regarding story but each of the characters is well-drawn and fleshed out. I would love to spend more time with each of them.
While I was in the middle of reading the book I did email two co-workers and laid out my thoughts regarding whodunit but also that Bronwyn and Nate needed to be endgame or I would be super annoyed…I ship them hard 🙂
I won’t say much about the plot but I will talk a little about whodunit. It was a very satisfying, surprising ending. I might have picked bits and pieces but I certainly didn’t know everything and I really enjoyed the resolution.
I can see why this book is being adapted for TV as I type. I did have a little look at the cast and though I can’t see Nate in the person who is playing him (an actor from Perth – Cooper van Grootel) I’m sure he’ll do an amazing job and I will definitely be tuning in.
Sequel – One of Us is Next
I haven’t read the sequel yet but I’m waiting (impatiently) for May 17 when it will be all mine on BorrowBox.
The sequel doesn’t follow the same four characters but Bronwyn’s sister Maeve (who is pretty amazing) is one of the main characters this time around.
One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
Welcome back to Bayview High… It’s been a year since the events of One Of Us Is Lying. But nothing has settled for the residents of Bayview. Not now someone has started playing a sinister game of Truth or Dare. Choose truth? You must reveal your darkest secret. Choose dare? Well, that could be even more dangerous. Even deadly. When the game takes an even darker turn, suddenly no one at Bayview High knows who to trust. But they need to find out who is behind the game, before it’s too late.