One of Us is Lying focuses on a group of teenagers facing an unlikely turn of events when they’re all accused (one way or another) of murder whilst in detention. The story follows their lives swapping between their first-person narration as they face questioning from friends, family and Police. Once we see Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper and Addy realise their deepest secrets have been revealed by the victim even after his death things start getting suspicious and we travel down a whirlwind ride of accusations, lies and what really happened to Simon that fateful afternoon in Mr Avery’s classroom.
I’ll be blunt, I never wanted this book to end. I loved the story, the characters and the writing, this is 100% my best read of the year so far. I read this on my Kindle which I felt actually aided my reading of this book because I whipped through this in three days, I always read quicker on the Kindle because I can keep track of my percentage as I read, also the fact I didn’t want to put this down ever. The mystery surrounding the death of Simon was so compelling I was eager to know what actually happened but at the same time never finding out so I could carry on reading through the encounters between the four key characters whilst they grew closer to each other all the while trying to clear their names of murder. One of my favourite parts was the growing friendship/romance between Bronwyn and Nate was so beautifully written that it crept up on me and felt so natural to see develop. There were so many parts I loved that I could write a whole high-school essay on it, but my absolute favourite part was I had no idea what was going to happen until the twist in the final few pages is revealed! It was one of those moments that you wish you could relive again and again, finally finding out what happened to Simon will go down as one of my favourite literary moments.
Usually I can find a fault in something quite easily just because I’m a pessimistic person at heart and one of the things I really felt uncomfortable about was the situation we found Addy in throughout the first half of this story. However, this isn’t a reflection of bad writing, it’s a reflection of really brilliant writing. Writing about a truly difficult situation can go from bad to worse really quickly if not handled correctly, we see Addy deflect and hide how she felt about Jake’s controlling behaviour at the start when everyone else can see it to then see a complete change of character by the end making her my favourite character from this story. I loved her development, she became her own person but reading through her earlier narration made me so upset for her seeing herself as “Jake’s girlfriend” instead her own person. McManus writes without creating an author bias, she establishes the character’s own mind and opinions then brings up the tough conversations that we read through their narration so we already have a feel for what the character is going to feel and their reactions.
I loved the switching of narration but for my next point I am glad we didn’t get a narration from a particular character. Recently school shootings have been a very real problem in the US and McManus brings the difficult situation to life in this story, although not writing about such an awful event but a character’s view on them, and although we do not agree with the concept we as the reader develop a deeper understanding of the character which is the turning point for the story, we see what makes this character tick without having to delve into their thoughts. Previously I was feeling pity for him, or just that he was misunderstood but once this information is disclosed I started questioning everything we knew about him and the use of disclosing this key piece of background at the exact right moment in the story creates a brilliant basis for the twist at the end.
Like I say, this book was AMAZING. I’ll definitely be re-reading it and considering I only paid 99p for it on the Kindle Store, bargain. It touched on some really tough subjects all the while keep a bit of light-heart humour and romance in. I love a murder mystery these days but I was also a teen when young adult books started to become popular so the combination of the two genres was the perfect match for me. I will 100% be investing in the next one in the series, although it will not be the same characters I think it will be just as good if this is anything to go by.