Book Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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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.


As excited as I was for this book I was hoping to enjoy it more than I did, this was a pretty big disappointment. It wasn’t a terrible book but it was just very unimpressive to me, I expected a lot more from it.


First of all this is supposed to be a mystery/thriller where you were suspicious of every character, I mean they’re potential murder suspects! However, I didn’t feel really at all throughout my reading that these characters were murderers, nobody seemed sneaky enough or vengeful enough to have actually done it. In a murder mystery/whodunnit you need to sell me on all of these suspects and I just wasn’t sold. I wasn’t second-guessing anyone, I wasn’t thrilled, and I wasn’t stumped about the mystery.

This was pretty fast-paced and did keep me interested enough in the story as it was told in four different POVs, however, I felt that the POVs really blended together. I would be deep into a chapter told from Cooper’s perspective and still think I was reading Bronwyn’s. That shouldn’t be happening, kind of hard to get into everyone’s inner monologues when I forget whose I’m reading.

I thought many of the twists were predictable or when they weren’t they didn’t pack much of a punch. Which is probably why this book was so disappointing for me, because mystery/thriller’s should be a lot more…..thrilling.

I really liked that this set up was a nod to The Breakfast Club but really the only similarity was that there was detention for a few pages and each character fits into a stereotype. That’s as far as the similarities go though which was a little disappointing. But I still really enjoyed the reference overall.

Also that ending and the reveal at the end was a little ridiculous and actually made the entire book sort of pointless. I was just….”Really? That was it? Why?” It did make sense but it was all really odd and not at all what I thought I was signing up for when I started the book.

Overall, it was a great and very interesting IDEA but just really failed on execution.


The characters were the only point in the story that kept me reading. They each developed a lot throughout the story and had a decent amount of complexity. However, as I already mentioned it was a little hard to tell at times whose POV I was reading. Yes, it does start each POV switch with the name and date but I STILL got lost and had a hard time trying to remember whose POV I was reading. The characters were all a little too similar at times.

Each character fits directly into a stereotype or cliche which in any other case would have been annoying but with this book it worked. This is supposed to be a nod towards The Breakfast Club since each character is a Brain, Beauty, Criminal, Athlete, and an Outcast. I loved how each character owned up to their labels and “rebelled” against them in their own ways by the end of the story.

There is a tiny bit of diversity with a Latino character and a LGBT character, although it is kind of skated over which was disappointing.

However, I didn’t really click with any of the characters and none of them were all that memorable for me.


There’s a couple of different romances scattered throughout the book but the main romance is between Bronwyn and Nate. It was just sort of okay and I was kind of bored with it. The only nice thing about their romance is that it was slow-burn, no insta-love or other YA romance tropes here!

in conclusion

Overall this was an okay read and it seems to be a case of “It’s not you, it’s me” for me with this book. It could definitely be a good read for others especially for those of you who may not necessarily read a ton of YA mystery/thrillers, it will make this one less predictable for you!

What I Loved:

  • It was pretty fast-paced
  • The characters were alright
  • The romance wasn’t filled with tropes
  • A bit of diversity
  • The Breakfast Club reference (because it’s awesome)

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Fairly predictable
  • The ending/reveal was a bit ridiculous
  • I didn’t FEEL anything during the story or for the characters
  • POVs blended together


Meh. I can’t say I personally would go around recommending this to anyone because I found it to be really boring and predictable for the most part, However, like I said this could still be enjoyable for you if you haven’t read a ton of  otherYA mystery/thrillers.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

23 thoughts on “Book Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

  1. themeganerdblog June 19, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    Omg, thank goodness I’m not the only one who would forget whose POV I was in haha There were too many instances where I would be like, “Wait, why is so-and-so touching you like that/saying that to you/etc?? Oh yeahhh, because you’re you and not Bronwyn.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek June 26, 2017 / 1:05 pm

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one confused with the POVs either! I did the same thing, I’d think I was still in Bronwyn’s POV and suddenly they’re talking about their boyfriend Jake and I’m like oh….this is Addy’s POV.


  2. lucindablogs June 19, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    I totally agree that it’s so easy to get confused with the characters, especially when they start hanging out together despite being polar opposites. I also struggled to get a handle on Coopers friends. I think “meh” is a pretty accurate description!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek June 26, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      “Meh” is definitely an accurate description and I am so glad I wasn’t the only one that thought they all blended together. You’re 100% right that they were all supposed to be polar opposites and yet I still had trouble telling them all apart? That shouldn’t happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lucindablogs June 26, 2017 / 1:17 pm

        I agree. I found Addy in particular pretty bland. Maybe longer chapters would have helped? (apart from better defined characters obviously)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek June 27, 2017 / 2:49 pm

        Yes, Addy’s chapters were definitely the blandest. I think because she had the least amount of drama surrounding her it seems. Longer chapters would have probably helped for sure! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Adoptabookaus June 19, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    This is exactly why I’m so eh about YA Thrillers, the premise is always amazing but the delivery falls short because of characters :/ This isn’t really on my radar coz I know I’ll probably feel the same way as you, Great review Heather ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek June 26, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      That does seem to be the case with a lot of YA thrillers unfortunately, I’m always looking for those hidden gems though! I can say that keeping it off your radar is probably a good decision, haha!
      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adoptabookaus June 26, 2017 / 5:37 pm

        My fave hidden gem is Black by Fleur Ferris and I’m planning on reading her latest this month, she was a police officer in real life so I love the knowledge she brings XD


  4. Diana June 19, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    The premise did sound promising but it seems the execution part failed. I really liked your review though. Its detailed and so well presented. Fab review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Destiny @ Howling Libraries June 20, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Oh no! This is one of the first negative reviews I’ve heard on this one. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. 😦 It’s pretty low on my TBR, if we’re being honest. YA thrillers just don’t usually excite me much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek June 26, 2017 / 1:28 pm

      I know, I’m a bit of a black sheep on this one since lots of other people liked it! I find that if I am going to read a YA thriller it has to have some pretty dang good reviews since they can be pretty unexciting like you said! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. celestialblackrose June 21, 2017 / 12:13 am

    I feel like it’s always a bad sign when you can’t tell when the POV switched right away, haha. Each character should be unique enough that you can pick up on details that set them apart (plus straight-up labeling the POV at the top of the chapter doesn’t hurt either).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek June 26, 2017 / 2:40 pm

      It definitely is a bad sign! The funny part about it is that each character is supposed to be a stereotype and polar opposites from each other. So you would think we’d be able to tell their POVs apart better!
      They actually did label each chapter , I still got them mixed up though!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews July 2, 2017 / 4:42 am

    I’m SO glad there’s someone else who wasn’t impressed by this book! I’ve been seeing so many positive reviews I started to feel like I was the only one who didn’t like it, haha. I kind of enjoyed the POVs, but totally agree that the delivery fell short. Despite being fast paced it was pretty underwhelming. Great review, Heather!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek July 5, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      I’m glad as well! There definitely are a lot more positive reviews, it was hard to find anything rated 3 or under but I did see yours and I was like well at least I am not alone, haha!
      I always find it so odd when I book is fast paced but boring, it makes no sense but that’s exactly what this one was for me! I was expecting a lot more from this one.
      Thanks Lauren! 🙂


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