Wednesday 20 September 2017

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Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (#Ad)

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManusOne of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I received this eProof for free from Penguin via NetGalley for the purposes of providing an honest review.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it's no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you'll go to protect them.
From Goodreads.

I wasn't entirely sure about One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus before I read it. I thought it sounded interesting, but murder, and these four students lying... I was worried I wouldn't like it, wouldn't like cold-hearted teens lying about someone's death - because they would all be lying, right? Even if they didn't do it, they would have witnessed it, and for there to be a story, they would ll have to be lying, or three of them just would have said who did it from the very beginning. But One of Us is Lying is not the story I was expecting. In actual fact, it was amazing!

Addy, Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate and Simon are all in detention because mobile phones were found in their bags by a teacher who won't have phones in his classroom. When Simon has a drink of water and collapses, the four other students do what they can to save him. He's had an allergic reaction and needs his Epipen. But his Epipen isn't on him, nor are there any in the nurse's office. Sadly, Simon dies, and a police investigation is started to find out what happened. Turns out, Simon was going to share secrets of each of the four other teens on his gossip app, About That, the very next day, and now all four of them are suspects in his murder. What secrets was Simon about to reveal? And who would kill to keep their secret safe?

One of Us is Lying is told from the perspective of all four of the suspects; Bronwyn, a straight A student who is bound for Yale; Addy, popular, pretty Homecoming Princess; Cooper, the school's star baseball jock; and Nate, who is on probation for drug dealing. What I loved about this book is, when you read about the type of people they are like that, as I've listed them, you're already making certain assumptions about who they are. Yes, Bronwyn is highly intelligent, but she's also under a lot of pressure to be the daughter her parents expect her to be - and to keep clear of the stereotypes of latinx people her father hates. Yes, Addy is pretty and popular, but she is plagued by insecurities and self-doubt. Yes, Cooper is a star athlete, but he's not stupid, and he's struggling to be who he really is. Yes, Nate was a drug dealer, but with an alcoholic father and a dead mother, he has to make a lot of money quickly in order to keep his debilitated roof over his and his father's heads. None of their lives are easy, and all of their lives as they know them would be ruined if Simon revealed their secrets. Which of them is desperate enough to kill Simon to stop their world crumbling around them?

I actually genuinely liked all of them. They were such great characters, and all so individual. I really think it can be difficult, when you have multiple narrators, to keep each character's voice separate, to keep their personalities intact and stop them all blending into one. McManus manages this perfectly, and never once did I confuse who's section I was reading. I loved the mystery aspect of the story, trying to work out who killed Simon and why, but at the same time, liking all the characters, I was really worried about the big reveal. I didn't want any of them to have been the one to have killed Simon, it would have meant I trusted the wrong person, that I fell for their lies. So while, individually, I thought that each of them was innocent, I was also wondering, "are they?" I did have a theory, or rather, half a theory, involving more the what than the who (I know that may not make much sense, but I can't explain without spoiling the story), and I was right, which I was so happy about. I had this half of a theory in my head by the end of chapter three, but I was never really positive about it. With a mystery like this, it really messes with your emotions, because while I was thinking, "I'm sure XYZ is going to be the case... but will it?" I was constantly questioning myself, questioning the characters, and feeling guilty for doing so. I trusted them all, and yet I didn't trust any of them. I never stopped liking them, but I did wonder if perhaps one of them was a very good liar, and I had been duped.

As well as a mystery, One of Us is Lying is also about each of the suspects individual stories. They were such great characters and I worried for and cared about all of them in regards to their own problems. But, of course, it's their own stories that add to the mystery, because they do all have their own things going on, and would they think those things are enough to kill for? What I loved is that there is a bond that is formed between all four of them; only they understand what the rest are going through - how they are treated by others, the media focus, etc - and it's the most unlikely of friendships, but I loved seeing them together, seeing them suffer together, and support each other, and then try to work things out for themselves, because the police are determined to pin it on one of them if not all of them.

God, I absolutely loved this book! And it's reminded me how much I love a mystery! Such a fantastic story full of intrigue, but also heart, and four suspects you can't help but love and feel for! A brilliant debut novel, and I'm so excited to read what McManus writes next!

Thank you to Penguin via NetGalley for the eProof.

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Published: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Penguin
Karen M. McManus' Website

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