One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus // Solid Build Up to a Disappointing End

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus // Solid Build Up to a Disappointing EndOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Published by Delacorte Press on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary (YA), Mystery (YA)
Pages: 370
Source: the publisher
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A New York Times bestseller

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

*Content Warning: View Spoiler »

This is a page-turner, that’s for sure. It’s the first book I’ve read in a while that I just couldn’t put down because I wanted to know the answer to the mystery.

The characters are very realistic. They aren’t perfect, even the ones who seem perfect. They all have some sort of issue, flaw, or struggle they have to go through. The book tackles things like drug addiction, cancer, sexuality, bullying, the pressure to be the perfect student, codependency & abusive relationships –  it’s all there. The characters were the highlight of this book, even if they were a bit cliché.

While I appreciated that McManus included some tough topics, I didn’t find that the characters had very distinct voices. The writing just didn’t separate each of them enough. Sometimes I was confused which character I was reading because they all sound very similar when they aren’t talking about their individual struggles. That sort of dry writing carried out throughout the novel – so if it wasn’t for my need to know the ending, I would have been fairly bored.

I did have some issues with how certain things were dealt with. I won’t be going into a lot of detail on how they happen, but here is a brief explanation of the two biggest ones:

First, sexuality is used as a plot twist. There is a character in the story that struggles with hiding their sexuality from the people they love. This isn’t something you know until later because as stated, it’s used as a plot twist.

Second, depression/mental illness is vilified. There are several times when the characters in the novel with a mental illness are, in a way, made to be the bad guy. For one character, I can understand why they are negative towards the person with the mental illness, but it isn’t really challenged in any way. There is another character who deals with depression and was made to be the biggest villain of all. It didn’t sit right with me.

I am being purposefully vague in both of those explanations because of spoilers. So, if you have any questions, please leave a comment!

Overall, if you are a fan of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl (and may be having some withdrawals because of them being over), this might curb your appetite. It’s a quick read with a good flow of questions and reveals until the mystery is solved. Even the small romances in the book are enjoyable. However, the writing is a bit dry and the voices for the multiple POV’s are very similar. Then, you’ll have to get past, or be mildly accepting, of how the issues above were handled. AKA, this is a really hard book to rate so I’m placing it solidly in the middle.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.5 / 5

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31 thoughts on “One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus // Solid Build Up to a Disappointing End

  1. I was really disappointed by this book especially after all the hype it got. I in the end rated it 1 star, they were very harmful things, and the characters were very generic. Also the ending for me I guessed it about 25% into the book… I just I was disappointed with it!

    1. I didn’t guess it right away because I think I was hoping for something not so obvious. But there was one line and the second I read it I was like DAMN IT REALLY? THAT’S HOW ITS GOING TO END? I was so upset haha

  2. Ah, I’ve been meaning to read this! I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much, but I’m glad you liked the characters! To me, if you don’t like the characters, it’s hard to like the book. 😛 Great review, Molly! 🙂

  3. I’ve finally decided that I’m not going to read this. I had a hard time making that choice because I had been super excited for this book and really, really wanted to read it, but I’ve now heard multiple people say they didn’t like how mental illness and sexuality were represented and I know it would annoy/anger me, too. Anyway, great review! Sorry it wasn’t a better read for you, but I’m glad you found some things you liked about it. 🙂

      1. Honestly, I’m really glad that so many bloggers posted their reviews for it because I would’ve been so mad reading it, hahaha. So I’m definitely glad I got a heads up so I don’t waste my time on it!

  4. UGH so disgusted to hear sexuality being used as a plot twist – it’s totally not cool and neither is inaccurate representation of mental illness. Sorry to hear this wasn’t the best and I think i’ll just steer clear of this one. Thanks for sharing and for letting me know.

  5. Hmm I was pretty hyped for this book but after reading your review it doesn’t look like my thing…. Usually books that only keep me reading cause I wanna know the ending end up leaving me disappointed and disgruntled….

  6. Sorry to hear you didn’t like the book more and that you had some issues with it. I haven’t picked this up because I’m always a bit on the fence with books like this one. I probably won’t be checking this out but great review. It’s helped reinforce my reasons for not picking it up.

  7. I just finished reading this yesterday and had some of the same issues you did with it. Overall I enjoyed it and thought it was a real page turner, but I agree that the voices weren’t usually distinctive enough and found myself flipping back to chapter beginnings to see who was talking.

    1. It wasn’t a terrible book. I was intrigued by most of it but yeah, certain things could have been handled better and the writing did the same thing for me! I had to flip back a few times lol

  8. I think this book is way overhyped. I agree with you about the mental illness thing. She handled lots of heavy topics but it wasn’t done properly.

  9. It’s such a shame that the MI had to be so vilified because I feel like this could have been SO good if it was handled better?? Great review, Molly. I’m glad to see another review talking about this stuff because it seems to be something a lot of people aren’t picking up.

    1. Ah, I haven’t read many reviews for it, but yea, it was kind of in your face and obvious to me? But oh well. I really want to read a good mystery though so this was super disappointing.

  10. ahh i’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one! it was one of my anticipated release, but i’ve been seeing mixed reviews on this book. i hate it when people made others with mental illness as the bad guy, it just reinforcing stigma we tried so hard to break! hopefully your next read will be better! 🙂

  11. Ah no! Sorry to hear you hear didn’t get on with the writing and some of the topics! I was unaware of a lot of the things included (cancer, sexuality, mental health etc) but picked this up because it looked like fun. Sounds like it almost tried to include too much, and should have focused more on one or two. Hopefully I still enjoy it when I eventually get to it.

  12. Totally get what you mean by the people with depression being portrayed as bad guys. LIke huh. no. The sexuality book I think is just like…I think she was just trying to show that sometimes it’s not easy to come out? I don’t know??? I guessed half of who the killer was at 50 pages in so it didn’t really surprise me. I found it easier to find out who was talking throughout but more distinctive writing would have been better, I agree!