One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying def

What’s it about?

On Thursday 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 Thursday, he died. But on Friday, 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 just 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.

You can buy a copy of this novel on Amazon UK | Amazon US.



One of Us Is Lying is a fabulous debut YA thriller which starts with five students ending up in detention after having been found with phones in class. They hardly know each other but that’ll change drastically and they’ll know ALL about one another after one of them ends up dead in detention class.

They start out as the biggest high school clichés, Bronwyn is little miss know-it-all, the straight A-student going for a Yale scholarship, Cooper is the hot hunk and star of the baseball team, Addy is the blonde with ‘perfect hair’, and Nate is the rogue guy with the motorcycle, the one everybody whispers about because he was (or is) dealing drugs, but people don’t really know him at all because he allways keeps to himself.

All stereotypes are there but they all change and grow so much througout the story that they outgrow their cliché, or maybe it just becomes clear they weren’t that cliché after all and it took this unfortunate event to make their true selves come out.

The story is set out to be a whodunnit but as I read on and on, I actually became more and more invested in each and every one of these characters and who they really are and their voices – the story is told by 4 POV respectively – and interactions with each other even got on the forefront. I found it unlikely one of them to be a killer, they were so diverse but very easy to love, so this didn’t make it any easier because I couldn’t suspect anyone more than the others.

They all have their secrets which Simon was going to publish if he weren’t killed. Unfortunately they turn up in tumblr posts for the whole school to see. These make up the many twists and turns in the story and they gave me tiny little jolts each time something new came to light. It was an interesting and exciting journey for all of them with very different consequences depending on the person involved and a big difference in how they were treated after the truth came out. Some are forgiven more easily than others, some have the right looks and status, some can afford fancy lawyers who give them advice on what to say and how to act and some don’t. Throughout the story friendships and love interests are formed, the kids’ families react very differently to the truth, some truths are also easier to hear than others.

Even when they all did something they shouldn’t have done, I still emphatised with each of them. I did guess Cooper’s lie quite early on even though it was just a hunch but some other lies were fessed up by themselves and were a nice surprise. The question is which one of them had the biggest to lose? Which mishap was worse than the others? The story is told in alternating voices by all four of them and really keeps you on your toes. The police even think some of them are in it together. I finally kind of guessed the real killer but it did not make it any less fun to read so this shouldn’t put anyone off for picking this one up.

The plot development is outstanding, there’s depth to the characters and they all come out better in the end. I’ve tremendously enjoyed this mystery.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

37 thoughts on “One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

    • It’s not really a whodunnit in the traditional sense.. there’s no police investigation for starters (well there is but we’re not told anything), it’s much more about the characters. Now I’m curious about you’re theory.. but you’re probably wrong 😉


  1. This has a really interesting premise and what I really like is that you said you got to know each of the characters and liked them, knowing one had to be the killer! I initially disregarded this when I saw that it’s YA but your review has me considering it:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s most of all about the characters, we really get to know them, their hopes, fears and secrets :-). It’s still YA though so the secrets are not earth shattering, but entertaining enough :-). It’s got a lot of great reviews already so if you really want to read something outside your usual genre this is a great choice ;-).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wasn’t entirely sure about the book because of how cliche the characters sounded by the blurb, etc… but I’m glad to see you mention the character development and growth… For me, it always is about the characters so adding to my tbr pile… 🙂 Great review!


    • I was quite surprised myself that these characters grew on me so fast as well, they’re all interesting too, it’s not that one is more interesting or sympathetic than the other, so that makes it even better. If someone’s looking for YA I’ll be recommending this one in the future :-). Thanks Liis!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s the Breakfast Club with a whodunit twist!! This sounds really good too. The first time I read the blurb a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t too intrigued, but this wonderful review definitely sparked some interest in me! 😛


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