One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – eARC Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

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.

My Review

‘One of Us is Lying’ has a great premise. It tells the story of what happens in high school detention one afternoon. Five students walk in… but only four make it out alive. Someone is murdered.

  • What exactly happened in that room?
  • Was this a conspiracy to murder by the other four students?
  • Who had the most motive?

Aspersions are cast on everyone as secrets are unveiled and the criminal mastermind plays puppeteer.

And I must say from the get go, I was hooked! This was the type of book where I would recommend you leave reality at the door, give your brain a few hours off, grab some tasty snacks to munch and just enjoy the ride!

This is what I term a popcorn book.

There are no great surprises in terms of the cast of characters nor the execution of the plot. Both are laden with stereotypes and cliches.

There’s Bronwyn the smart girl, Addy the popular one, Cooper the jock, Simon the social outcast and Nate the bad boy… and even when the book begins to scratch beneath the surface of these outside personas what is revealed isn’t exactly surprising either!

But that doesn’t always detract from the enjoyment of this high school whodunit as the pace of the narrative moves along nicely, there’s a suitable amount of tension for a light read and it is all comfortably entertaining.

I don’t think that anyone will be all that surprised by the ending. I am very much a reader of the gullible variety and even I pegged the big reveal very early on in the read.

But I still had a little fun on the journey to that ultimate reveal.

My main issue with the ending is that I felt it should have been darker and more grounded in truth.

Without wishing to spoil the culmination of the investigation into the murder, I think that it was important to further explore the motivation behind the killing and to lift this novel from simply being a popcorn thriller. It was too convenient and I think more consideration was needed to flesh out the story of why. It was too easy to lay blame and therefore have life move on unchanged and I felt it was disingenuous to the “motive”.

I did however enjoy this reading experience and would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy, breezy read… just don’t expect any surprises!

*A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Penguin Random House UK: Children’s, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This book was read and reviewed for Goodreads in February 2017

20 thoughts on “One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – eARC Book Review

  1. Great review, Emer! I really enjoyed this one too, but I’d definitely agree with you in that it is very much a popcorn book and I think what you said about the ending is very true. I’m quite happy to suspend my disbelief for an addictive YA thriller, but it in hindsight some of the more serious elements of the plot, particularly surrounding the motive, do seem to be brushed under the carpet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jess!!! And yes, I’m with you on that. For light breezy popcorn books I certainly suspend my belief A LOT….I tend to do it more with rom coms though *shrugs shoulders* Guess I’m all about that cliched happy ending for them lol :))))))) <333


    1. I can definitely understand your disappointment. Mine was tempered somewhat by the fact that I read this during a day patient stay in hospital and it was very easy to get distracted by all going on around me so a light book was what I needed :))))) xoxox

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Popcorn book” is such a great way to describe this book! It’s fun and entertaining, but there’s ultimately nothing there. My biggest issue when I read it was that it was pitched as having tons of twists and the characters were not cliched at all, but like you said, it was filled with cliches. I saw every single twist coming. But, it was still enjoyable.

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh yes, this is definitely a popcorn book! It’s a fun one to read though. I think (from my terrible memory of these things) that I read this one all in a single sitting (yes… I have nothing else to do most of the time, haha). I’m glad you enjoyed it too Emer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been meaning to read this book for so long! The premise sounds so intriguing, but I can totally see how it not being fleshed out enough would be disappointing. Thanks for sharing this review!

    Liked by 1 person

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