One of Us is Lying – Karen McManus

‘A sex tape. A pregnancy scare. Two cheating scandals. And that’s just this week’s update. If all you knew of Bayview High was Simon Kelleher’s gossip app you’d wonder how anyone found time to go to class’

9.40 - One of us is lying - About death or grief

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body 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.


What I thought:

This is an intense read but a good one. It’s full of the pitfuls of high school and the importance of appearances and being one of the ‘cool’ kids as well as being a who-done-it. Like all good crime books you go through suspecting almost everyone, after all we know they are all hiding something and as an outsider some of these things may appear small and unimportant but in the heightened teen world of school every small thing is massive.
This book starts in a similar way to ‘The Breakfast club’ in that a bunch of teenagers are all thrown together for detention and forced to talk to each other, they then get thrown even closer together as one of them has a fatal allergic reaction which is later discovered to be murder.

Throughout the book the POV swaps between the 4 different characters who were in that room when Simon dies. We see them each suspect each other and defend themselves as well as try to explain away their secret and become a pariah at school and in their own family. Line’s are drawn and it’s easy to see where people are going to land, Nate’s the ‘bad one’ he was always going to be the one people suspected and without family to defend him it would be easy for him to be thrown under the bus. The other three are all ‘good’ kids and have people to defend them and hire lawyers for when the police start questioning. (As an outsider the fact that you can see who the police immediately ‘like’ as their murderer is worrying, a kid from the wrong side of town is much more likely than the others so why bother questioning the others?)
Personally I found Nate the most relatable, he never tries to hide his faults unlike the others. And yet Brownyn is a fierce older sister who at one point threatens Simon for daring to post something about her sister on his gossip app.

I’d love to say I worked it all out and knew what was happening but I didn’t. I worked out part of it but the rest came perfectly from nowhere. Because it wasn’t from nowhere, that would be no fun and a bad book. The clues for who the murderer is are all there. I noticed enough to not be surprised at one thing but not enough to not be surprised by another. (It’s not a spoiler to say that a thriller has more than one twist)

Why I read this book:

This was a book I kept picking up and putting down in the bookshop, and then a friend offered me his copy. He works in a bookshop and was getting rid of loads of his ARCs that he hadn’t got round to reading. I snapped up this one and a number of others as well.
On the train home I put my hand in the bag to pick out which book was going to be next to read and this one won.

Final thoughts:

A really enjoyable read, I feel like I might have shortchanged it by trying not to give away any spoilers, also because I read it a month ago.
I will definitely read this one again though and see if I can pick up on all the clues along the way

Would I recommend: Yup, and already have done. YA thrillers are great fun and often get darker than a lot of people imagine.

Challenge Categories:

Popsugar: About Death/Grief, LGBTQ+ protaganist, about mental health, given as a gift.


I’m not going to leave it so long again next time. But I’ve been ill in my defense.

Anyway, please leave a comment and let me know what you think while I go an work on the next review.

3 thoughts on “One of Us is Lying – Karen McManus

  1. Slice-of-life/whodunnit? Sounds interesting. Been playing a video game recently with set in a high-school, so being in that mindset makes this sound quite appealing.


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