One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Publishing Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Young Adult Contemporary Mystery/Thriller
The Premise from the Publisher: "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" (RH).
My overall thoughts and review: I want to preface this review by saying that I finished this in one sitting. It definitely hooked me from the start and I could not put it down. It has quite an addictive quality to it and it is fast paced and easy to follow, regardless of following four different POVs. So while I enjoyed reading it and could not put it down, there were a few things that didn't really sit well with me. The parents in this book ranged from not bad to pretty freaking horrible. I just felt sick to my stomach with some of the remarks that Addy got from her mom. Addy's mom consistently reminds her that her boyfriend, Jake, is too good for her and that she should not screw it up because she's not smart enough to get into a good school and earn something for herself. My heart really broke for Addy in these moments, and I'm glad she had her sister for support, but in a way, I was hoping there would be some comeuppance for her mother. But so many scenes when Addy was being told a certain thing from her mother, I feel like there should've been something in the plot or said by another character that no, that isn't true. So not only did Addy need that reassurance, but I think as readers, we do too. Because it was just left lingering in the air and I'm sure this is a likely occurrence for some readers sadly. Also, even though the story focused on the four individuals, I would've liked to learn more about Simon, and not so quickly towards his end. What did his parents think of his app? How could someone get away with an app like that to be quite honest? It didn't name people specifically, but it did a lot of harm within the student body. I think if we got his parent's side of the story and how they felt about that, it would've added an interesting layer to the story. I also felt when it did wrap up, it moved forward with a sort of epilogue, when I would've liked to see more references to support for mental health and how to prevent what happened in the future. It was more so, the case is solved and where are the four now? I think a lot of things seemed easily resolved, but it didn't feel resolved to me? When stories tackle such dark topics as mental health, depression, and bullying, there should really be a how-to move forward from it and a type of learning component. How can the characters learn moving forward, but also how can readers reading the book learn from it too. I will say though, seeing how the four came together as friends really intrigued me and I really loved Nate and Bronwyn's storyline specifically. I loved seeing all of them come out of their shell and become more than what the app/the media perceived them to be. It definitely has a feel of Pretty Little Liars meets 13 Reasons Why.. so if you are interested in a story-line along those lines, I would definitely recommend this to you. You definitely won't be able to put it down!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ (3.5/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.