One of Us is Lying // An addictive YA mystery thriller

Mystery thrillers are always a brilliant read, especially when you’ve been hooked on contemporaries for a while. It was good to shake it up a bit, and I found One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus to be a gripping read from start to finish. It will bring you to the edge of your seat and keep you hanging there for more than 300 pages, suspense and mystery growing to a crescendo. It is an addictive and delectable book, perfect for YA.

One of Us is Lying commences with five characters going to detention at Bayview High:

  1. Bronwyn, a smart, rule abiding student.
  2. Addy, a picture-perfect beauty queen with the perfect boyfriend.
  3. Nate, a slacker with a criminal record on probation for drug dealing.
  4. Cooper, a popular baseball pitcher looking to score a place in the top 5 colleges.
  5. Simon, the creator of Bayview’s ‘About That’ gossip app.

However, Simon dies before the end of detention and his death is ruled as murder. The remaining four later learn he was planning on spilling their secrets on the gossip app and suddenly everyone has a reason to get rid of Simon. Is one of them lying or is there an actual murderer on the loose?

Sounds damn brilliant, right?

The characters are dimensional and relatable.

Despite the fact they initially embody the tropes we all know and love in YA high school drama, these characters were brilliantly written. The tropes slowly fall apart as they are fleshed out with their own backstories and reasons for doing the things they did. Their personalities and differences were easily contrasted but as a reluctant team now bound by the death of their classmate, it was so interesting to watch their journeys of self-reflection as the investigation grew hot on their heels. They acted like teenagers feeling the pressure of the adult world and the judgement of others, and the way they responded was entertaining to read. I liked their mistakes, their upbeat moments and the struggles they all faced to keep their secrets buried. My personal favourites were Nate and Addy. Overall, these characters were wholesome and fantastic to read about.

The plot and suspense building was excellent.

I honestly love a good mystery thriller. I loved the way the book was written with subtle hints dropped here and there about what each of the characters were hiding. The constant questioning and trying to solve the mystery was addictive. While some sections were not as detailed or engaging, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. I also liked how the book was split into the four perspectives, adding to that element of mystery and suspense as readers. I did guess a couple of the plot twists and the ending, but I liked how it wasn’t a typical YA ending with couples everywhere and happy days. It was realistic and genuine, something we’re seeing more of in YA.

I did have one issue: the first is the representation of mental illness. Without spoiling, I find that the way the book handled the tough topics was great and mental illness has been prevalent in YA, but some readers may be divided in regards to what occurs with one of the characters and their mental health. It is a delicate issue and one that will have various reactions. I personally thought because it was YA, there may not have been a place to go into more detail behind it, but it would have been good to see it.

Overall, this is a great and fun read for anyone keen on something with a good YA mystery.



the literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flower.5 out of 5.

What are your thoughts?

Have you read One of Us is Lying? Let me know in the comments what you thought of the book!

Disclaimer: Netgalley gave me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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