‘One Of Us Is Lying’ is the first novel in a series of 3 by Karen M. McManus. It follows the story of five high school students, who are all sent to detention under suspicious circumstances. Of the five who go in to detention, only four leave alive. Now the focus is on the remaining four students – did one of them kill their schoolmate? Or did they all have a part to play? They all had a motive afterall – their deepest secrets were about to be published on the most popular gossip app in their school. The owner of that site? The student who just died. It’s up to each of them to prove their alleged innocence, and find out who the real killer is.
Did I love this book? No, I’ve definitely read better murder mystery novels.
But I did enjoy it enough to keep reading it, and was invested in finding out who the killer was. It has the usual mix of characters that you would expect from a novel based around high school students – the bookish nerd, only focused on grades and college, the misunderstood bad boy, the overachieving jock, the prom queen who everyone underestimates, and the outcast who looks down on his peers. None of them were particularly likeable, especially at the beginning of the novel – this did change slightly as the story progressed and as readers we got to know them better, but they were still very cliché – even when we got to know the ‘real’ characters, it wasn’t anything unexpected.
The most interesting part of this novel for me, was Nate’s character – the bad boy who doesn’t let anyone in. He had a back story that I would have liked to read more of – he was, for me anyway, the best character in the book, and I would have liked a bit more of his story. However, with three other (living) main characters, that just wouldn’t have been feasible.
As with all murder mysteries, this novel does have a twist – and it delivers it quite well to be fair, I hadn’t guessed it until I got to that point in the book, so kudos to the author for that – either it’s genuinely well written, or I am just awful at guessing the outcome of mysteries (my partner and I watched the first episode of the tv adaptation and he guessed it within minutes so the latter is a possibility!) but nonetheless, I found the plot gripping enough to keep my attention the whole way through, and it was good enough that I went and bought the sequel.
So, while I don’t think this novel is going to rock anyone’s world, it is an easy, well flowing read, and it’s worth a look.
I rate One Of Us Is Lying 3 out of 5 stars.