Book Review: One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

A couple of years ago I picked up One Of Us Is Lying but for some reason or another ended up DNFing it. I’ve picked it up again though however and managed to plough through and I must say I have mixed feelings about it.

One Of Us Is Lying book review
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One of Us Is Lying is the first book in what is going to be a trilogy. It focuses on the unraveling events after five teenagers walk into detention and only four of them walk out again. It takes us through their experiences of news channels, social media’s affect on people’s lives, the pressure high school peers can put on you and more.

Plot – 3/5

One Of Us Is Lying has the action happen very early on in this book – one of the five teenagers who walks into a very suspicious detention (none of them know why they should be there) ends up dying and so the other four become instant suspects. The other children are then thrown into the limelight as the media gets their hand on this fascinating story. As the story progresses we realise that everybody has secrets and nearly all of the suspects have a great reason to have killed the victim.

Right off the bat, the first hundred pages or so are great – it’s a real page turner that makes you want to continue reading at all times. Small bits of information and clues are given to you to keep you hooked for the first third. However, after this, there’s quite a long passage in the middle that I felt was there to fill the book. I guess it could be considered progressing the relationship between the characters on and helping us build a bond with them. It could also have worked as a way to make us not suspect any of them as we learned more about them. However, without any more information coming out about the murder, without any real shocking moments, I found it a real drag. Luckily, it’s written in a really approachable and friendly way that made it easy to skim through the pages, not really having to backtrack on any words or sentences.

Characters – 4/5 

For the middle one hundred pages, One Of Us Is Lying is all about character building. Relationships build and break. Despite the slow pace of the plot here, I did feel myself having some interest in the characters themselves and found myself quite engrossed in their own personal stories. Karen M McManus has done a great job of building up unique and independent lives for each of the characters here. The story is told from the perspective of the four suspects so we get a look into each of their own view points and how their families, wealth and opinions affect their reactions to different lives.

I can’t say I have an overtyl favourite character as I had an interest in each of them. I would say Nate’s story would be the most interesting for many as it’s the least relatable, making it the most interesting and educational to read about. In brief he essentially lives with his alcoholic father who lives off benefits and so Nate sells drugs on the side. Something many reading this book won’t be able to relate to but therefore makes it more interesting. The other characters all have relatively interesting angles and lives too, but you’ll have to read it to get their perspectives!

One of Us Is Lying summary – 3/5

All in all, One Of Us Is Lying disappointed me a little – there was a huge part in the middle where I felt like nothing was really happening other than I was reading a quite dull teen drama (but without the drama). The first and final acts are the best parts of the book. However, I must say, I was a tad disappointed in the ending but I guess it’s something a bit different (no spoilers!)

I’d recommend One Of Us Is Lying to anybody who likes a decent enough mystery book, anybody who leaves to read books about teenagers and high school life, but other than this, I’d suggest there’s some better mystery and crime novels out there. Though I am intrigued to read the sequel as I can’t see what the author could possibly do with it.

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