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Book Review: One of Us is Lying (Karen M. McManus)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 300

Release Date: June 1st 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Review:

I loved the sound of this when I saw it on NetGalley. A dead classmate, fours suspects who were in the room when he died, each with their own secret to hide and own reason for maybe wanting him dead. What’s not to like?

I did really enjoy this one. The pace is a little slow: I was expecting fast paced revelations and action but instead, it was a bit more leisurely, with new secrets being leaked out bit by bit and lots of character and relationship developments.

Simon is a pretty unlikeable character right off the bat. He has an app which circulates gossip about fellow classmates. Sounds toxic enough, but he’s pretty much always right, so the school puts a lot of faith in his words. But he’s still not popular: people are just afraid of him. It means there’s a lot of people who could potentially wish him harm, aside from the four main suspects.

Of the four, Nate is the most suspect as he already has a criminal record. From just reading the summary I was expecting him to be the red herring and one of the girls to be the real culprit: the ‘brains’ or the ‘beauty’ as the least likely to first be suspected.

The books keeps you guessing a lot. As the police investigation unfolds, things surface from the past which makes you doubt each of the four in turn. There’s a pretty decent red herring in there who was my first suspect. When the first clue dropped about the real murderer I latched onto it and worked things out in my head, but that didn’t stop me enjoying the journey everyone else took to get there. It was a good twist and an original idea.

The characters in this book all develop and change as the situation takes it toll on them. I liked Addy’s transformation the best: she goes from probably the least likeable to one of the most and it was great to see her stand up for herself. The love story was quite sweet and I was rooting for them, even though that would probably be the last thing on my mind if I was being investigated for murder!

This was a really enjoyable book, a good slow burner with an interesting twist and great, believable characters. I’d recommend reading and seeing if you can guess the killer before the end!

4

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