Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Blurb: Five students walk into detention. Only four leave alive.
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.

Title: One of Us is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Publisher: Penguin Books, part of the Penguin Random House Group

Genre: Fiction, YA, Thriller


The Breakfast Club meets murder in this story – five students enter detention but only four leave alive. It seems obvious, but little is really what it seems…

There was so much to love about this book! I adored the Breakfast Club vibe, where all of the main characters seem to embody a classic stereotype (nerd, jock, princess and bad boy) but the character development is so wonderfully done that we quickly realise that they are so much more, making them three dimensional and all the more interesting. Addie is smarter than the princess she’s painted out to be, Nate’s stronger than he looks, Cooper’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems and Bronwyn gets desperate just like the rest of us. It’s been a while since I’ve really fangirled over a book but I just can’t help it with this one! This book brings murder mysteries into the modern age by linking the incident to the gossip account that the victim ran – and the revelation that he was due to post incriminating secrets about the four main suspects. The premise of this book really drew me in initially and I was most certainly not disappointed!

The plot of Simon’s death and its investigation was also really well written. It’s obvious that it was planned out with care, especially as switch of point of view in the book is marked with a specific date and time. Being able to see each character’s point of view was something that I really appreciated as it means we get to see into their thoughts – coupled with most sections leaving us on a bit of a cliffhanger, it kept me guessing as to who the killer could be. I also felt that the writing style changed depending on who was speaking and it made the characters easily recognisable which I loved.

As for what I disliked, there really wasn’t much. My only, very minor, issue is that the ending fell together fairly quickly. I would have liked a little bit more build up regarding the case as well as all of the scenes we got where the main characters are figuring out their own lives. However, this didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed the book and it meant that I definitely didn’t see the end coming!

Overall, I would seriously recommend this book to anyone who likes murder mysteries that will keep them guessing or just fancies a really well constructed bit of YA with an eighties vibe!

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommend?: Yes

Have you read this book or any others from this author? What did you think? I’d love to know!

You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to discuss this book (or any others that I’ve created) in more detail 😌

11 thoughts on “Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

  1. I read this book last year (around july or august I think) and I really liked it. I don’t read mystery thrillers as much as I’d liked but this definitely stood out and became one of my favorite books last year. I love how easily the story flows and that even with four POVs, it doesn’t get messy or confusing. I haven’t read the sequel yet but it’s on my tbr!

    Liked by 1 person

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