Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, YA

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

This book… wow. I have been waiting to read One of Us Is Lying for quite a long time. I think I first saw it in a Penguin First to Read drawing, and didn’t end up getting a galley. Basically since then this book has been on my library hold list and I FINALLY got to read it this week. It was well worth the wait. 

51zMfKJYAALOne of Us Is Lying
Karen M. McManus
Delacorte Press

Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club” ( in this “flat-out addictive” (RT Book Reviews) story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive.

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.

My Review

This book was so, so, so good. I don’t read mysteries very often, but holy crap this one makes me want to read more! I’m kind of still processing all the twists and turns in this book, but I wanted to start writing a review while it’s still fresh in my mind.

It’s hard to review a mystery like this, because I don’t want to give any of the plot twists away (there were a few). Going into this book with no prior information other than the blurb is the best way to do it – trying to figure everything out as you go is half the fun of reading a mystery. Especially one that’s as convoluted as this.

One day after school, five students end up in detention. They seemingly have nothing in common, aside from the reason they are all there – having phones in class. But they all claim that the phones that got them in trouble didn’t belong to them. When Simon ends up having an allergic reaction, everyone assumes it’s a tragic accident. But when it turns out that the police rule his death suspicious, the remaining four students become prime suspects in the investigation.

I loved the bonds that developed between the four accused students. They all have secrets, and any of them would have had a motive to murder Simon. But somehow all of the suspicion surrounding them brings them together and forms some pretty strong friendships. For the reader, this makes the mystery so much harder to figure out.

Simon is not a sympathetic character. He runs a gossip app for the school that literally ruins his classmates’ lives, in Gossip Girl-esque fashion. Meanwhile, the accused murderers all seem like pretty decent kids. It’s an interesting twist where the persons of interest seem more innocent than the murder victim. Though I am not a prolific mystery reader, I imagine that’s not a common trope.

There are a few fantastic plot twists peppered throughout this book, and I honestly didn’t see any of them coming. I started to get an inkling of how the mystery was going to be wrapped up towards the end of the book – right before the characters figured it out. It’s a pretty shocking conclusion, but I won’t say more than that. I love being surprised by a good plot twist, and this was a GOOD plot twist.

Honestly I don’t know what else to say about this book if I want to keep this review completely spoiler-free. One of Us Is Lying is just such a good mystery. It will suck you in and you won’t be able to put it down. If you like The Breakfast Club, if you like plot-twisty mysteries, and even if you think you don’t like either of those things, you need to check out this book. It’s one of the most captivating books I’ve read in a while and I can’t recommend it enough.

One of Us Is Lying is currently available: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound


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