Book Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 361 pages

Published: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller


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.


I am a big lover of mystery, as long as I can remember. I would devour any Nancy Drew novels I could find. I loved watching Law & Order with my dad and see if I could figure out the outcome for myself. I just loved the puzzles that mystery novels provided, the twists that I couldn’t see coming. It not only provided me with excitement and thrills, but it also gave me a chance to use my critical thinking skills and think outside the box. That’s why I find this genre so intriguing and what I look for when the novels.

However, some novels like to give themselves that illustrious classification of “mystery” or “thriller”, to fool devout readers of the genre to check out their book. One of Us is Lying, unfortunately, is guilty of that crime. This book received a lot of hype when it was released. Maybe I have a low opinion of it because I succumb to the “book hype”. Or because I already have a low opinion of American YA literature. Whatever ulterior motives I have, I can safely say that this was most likely one of the worst “mysteries” I have ever read.

I do not know who in the world classified this as a mystery/thriller but this has to be the worst interpretation for a mystery novel I have ever read. I have no idea what I read but I say it wasn’t a mystery. First, there was no reason for the story to be told through 4 characters. That made it more muddled and harder for me to follow along. Also, for people who were accused of the same crime, they spent little time together, which for a mystery that should not have happened at all. Second, the character development…so cliche that I could spot it a mile away. There were times that I thought that mystery was the subplot because, again, little time was spent on it, until the very end. And that problem could have been dealt with if the author executed the development properly. Third, the “mystery” and I use that word lightly. Not only was it not surprising, it just didn’t make any sense. Most mysteries can be far fetched but this book provided a tale that was just too far fetched and too unrealistic. The characters were so busy doing other things and the mystery, the main plot, was just an afterthought.

The pacing of the book was off too. It was just too slow! With most thrillers, you are on the edge of your seat to see what happens next. I was on the edge on my seat waiting for this to be over. Advice: don’t leave the exciting part until the very end. Yes, you want to have an exciting climax, but you want readers to look forward to it. Another aspect that irked me was the mental health and bullying angle. I don’t see what was McManus point in putting that element in this novel but I don’t think it had any place in this book. Honestly, I thought it was a little insulting that the book at resources for suicide and domestic violence when the book didn’t spend any time highlighting the importance of these social issues. The writing was decent enough but not enough save this boring novel. I may not have like, Two Can Keep a Secret, but it was better plotted than this one.

It is time for One of Us is Lying to be put off its pedestal. There are better and more worthy YA thrillers that are more tantalizing and interesting than this poor excuse of one. Any recommendations are useful…anything to make me forget to this one.

Overall rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Get it At: Amazon |Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|IndieBound| Your local library

Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

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