Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M McManus
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Five students enter detention. None of them are connected prior to being here today. They’re here under suspicious circumstances, having each been found with a cellphone that didn’t belong to them. By the end of detention, one of them is dead.
The dead student was none other than the school’s most notorious gossip, Simon. Up until his untimely death, he ran an app that he posted on frequently, typically using the platform to reveal other student’s secrets and to humiliate them.
Some suspicious evidence comes to light in the wake of Simon’s death, and police look to the 4 remaining classmates. They all had reason to want him dead, especially when the police find a queued post with juicy gossip about each of them. Could one of them have found out what Simon was planning to reveal and wanted to silence him? Or did they all band together to take him out before he ruined their lives?
My review is going to be a little spoiler-y only because I feel I need to complain about the way this author went about revealing the killer and everything leading up to it. I won’t talk about who the actual murderer was, but you’ll probably be able to tell who didn’t kill Simon based on what I have to say; so if you want to remain unspoiled, steer clear.
I’ve heard this book described as The Breakfast Club + murder, and I can get on board with that. You have your typical, cliché high school stereotypes: Bronwyn, the Ivy league-bound brainiac; Nate, the drug-pushing trouble-maker; Cooper, the beloved all-star baseball player; and Addy, the pretty blonde one. People who are irritated by these character formulas will be glad to see that some of these characters break free from these models. Unfortunately though, characters like Cooper do little to develop in their character. Cooper remained “MLB-bound star” throughout the book, and while there is a small twist to his story, it’s not enough to break the popular jock-type pattern.
Because Simon’s queued post about these characters is eventually posted and seen by their classmates, they each have to deal with the repercussions. Fortunately, they all ended up with good outcomes and came away from it as better, stronger individuals.
Unfortunately, while this is a positive thing character-wise for the book, I felt it was a bad call mystery-wise. This aspect of the story made it really easy for me to assume that none of these four characters committed the murder. I feel that the author made it too obvious, like they each had too much evidence going against them, so there was no way that one of them did it. Does that make sense?
Because of this, the 4 end up getting together to go over everything they all knew in an attempt to catch the real killer and to clear their names. I enjoyed the bond these characters had, I just hated that it meant none of them did it. I mean, it just invalidates the title of the book; it doesn’t even make sense anymore. They all were lying, but not about killing Simon. It’s misleading, but not in a good way. As in, I wanted to be misled by the contents of the book and be wrong about who the killer was, not by the title and the entire point of the story.
I ended up guessing the ending, which is good because I love being right, but also bad because I love to be shocked as well. I wanted to be surprised by this book, and I just wasn’t. This was an easy read and I ate it up because I was excited to know the ending, but I wasn’t happy with it.
Additionally, I didn’t like the way that the author revealed the killer; if I hadn’t guessed who had done it, I still wouldn’t have been shocked because the moment wasn’t even gasp-worthy. I mean, there was no “wow” factor to the big ending, so I was disappointed in all regards.
Choosing to read this book was easy because I was in the mood for a good mystery, but I just wasn’t pleased. I expected more and was let down.