Murder. Secrets. Lies.

Name: One Of Us Is Lying
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Teen
Year: 2017

When I saw the description of the book I automatically knew I was going to enjoy it. A mix of The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars. As soon as I started the book I couldn’t stop. I needed to know what happened. I needed to know if my amazing detective skills worked out the twist – I did. 

One of Us Is Lying is a teen mystery that focuses on four high school stereotypes essentially locked in a room as they become the primary murder suspect to the death of their fellow student. We have Bronwyn the smart girl who is an overachiever set to go to Yale University, Conor is the sporty jock, Addy is the popular girl who is the typical homecoming queen and then we have Nate, the bad boy. All four of them ended up in detention one afternoon, but this wasn’t a normal detention. They all witness the death of Simon, the king of spreading the juiciest school gossip. As the police investigate the scene we eventually discover that Simon’s death was a carefully-calculated murder with these four characters as our primary suspects. Each one of them has something to hide. 

What really made the story addictive was the fact that the chapters were told in the point of view of each of the four murder suspects. This gives us a sense of uncertainty. If one of the four is the murderer how can we trust the narrators? Does the four point of views not line up and fit in with the others? Are they all working together? Or are they all being framed. The best bit is that all the clues are there. It up to the reader to put the storylines together to figure out the murder as the story unfolds. Will you be able to figure out what happened to Simon? 

As the investigation goes on we learn more about the murder, the victim and each of the four suspects. Simon ran an app that shares the juicy dark secrets of Bayview High. He had secrets on all four suspects ready and loaded to be published. So many secrets get revealed giving each one of them a reason to kill Simon. These secrets bring in secondary characters, making connections between the four suspects in ways not initially revealed.  

I’m not a big reader at all. But I’ve started listening to audiobooks on my way to work. I got through this book in less than a week. I couldn’t stop listening. I now know a good mystery story does that to me, trying to race to figure out the twists before the book reveals them. The pacing of the story was good, showing us more about the suspects and secrets each chapter. 

The multiple point of views aspect wouldn’t always work but I felt it worked amazing well in this case. Four characters which means four times the clues, secrets, drama and speculation. I figured out who the murderer was but that didn’t make the ending boring at all. McManus did a great job keeping me guessing as the story unfolds changing my opinion throughout.

The story has other elements and layers too which as a reader I appreciated. The focus on character diversity and development was thoroughly thought out. I felt that the main four characters had their own time to fully develop and grow, with some surprises along the way. Though some aspects were cliche, e.g. the character living in poverty is seen as the misunderstood bad boy, it wasn’t too much to make me not like the book. I’ve given One of Us is Lying four stars because the book was better than I expected. I got hooked pretty early on and started my excitement on trying to listen to more audiobooks. I never got bored, even after I started to guess the twists.  Anyone who watched the Pretty Little Liars tv program then this is the book for you.

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