One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – Book Review

✰ ✰ 1/2

The hype for this book was what convinced me to give it a try. With an average rating of 4/5 with over one hundred thousand ratings, I was intrigued. YA mystery/crime is not normally a genre I read often but I was excited to delve in to this book and see for myself if it held up to expectations. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.


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, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder.  

I had expected something outstanding and instead got… a lot of unanswered questions and a book that I didn’t really feel an urge to pick up again after having put it down. The premise and ending were intriguing however, it felt like a significant portion of this book was written with the intention of creating drama and intrigue in to who had committed the crime. Unfortunately this just didn’t gain my interest.

The attempts to create doubt and drama fell short for me. I didn’t find myself invested in the outcomes of the characters and the speculation of the murderer’s identity fell a bit short for me. I would have preferred more insight in to the lives of each suspect. We were exposed to a significant portion of their home and family lives and yet it still felt like everything was just being told, rather than shown, for their predicaments.

I enjoyed the snippet of romance that was included in this story, which also attempted to show the value of a person as opposed to their past or family’s reputation. The development of the romance was a let down for me though. I wasn’t able to feel much of a connection between the characters in love and the ending left a lot unanswered in regard to their relationship status. It felt like there had been so much build up… for nothing?

I feel like my review is just a rant… but I did enjoy this book. The pace was decent and the story was still moderately interesting. It was enough to keep me entertained and get me to the end within a day of reading. So many others have loved this book, so perhaps it’s just me. I’m not entirely sure yet if I’ll decide to try another of McManus’ books.

// have you read this book? what were your thoughts on it? //


26 thoughts on “One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – Book Review

  1. Sad to see this one didn’t work out for you! If you want to try this author again, I do recommend her other book, two can keep a secret! That one was much better in my opinion!
    Great review!


    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! There have been so many hyped books that haven’t met my expectations at all. I don’t think I’ve seen the other cover? This was just the one from my library 😄 Jen


  2. This is so hyped and I have it mostly because of the Breakfast Club reference (I was obsessed with that film in my teens for its retro factor!) but I am a little worried to read it because it’s SO HYPED and it’s still in all the bookstore offers even though the second has been out for a good while too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t even realise it had a breakfast club reference? I must be one of the few who haven’t really become acquainted with that film 😛 It was a decent read but not what I had been expecting from all of the hype. I think you’d probably still enjoy it though 🙂 Jen

      Liked by 1 person

      • The tropes from the book match the characters in Saturday detention that the film is about – jock, geek, reject etc and they come out at the end uncovering they are more than their tropes and understand more about each other beyond their social cliques, or in one case she realises she is more her trope than she would like to admit but this makes her think when the others confront her about it. It’s very dated in some ways (dancing, fashion) but the sentiments are timeless, as it seems the tropes are too.
        I’m looking forward to reading it, maybe a familiarity with the film adds a frisson?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Now I see where the reference comes from 😀 I think I’d enjoy watching it. I’m adding it to my movie TBR list now!! I don’t mind older fashion and dancing ❤ I think you'd probably enjoy the book a lot more if you understood the reference to BC in it. I hope you enjoy the book!! 😀 Jen

        Liked by 1 person

    • HAHA I don’t think my review will convince you to read One of Us is Lying but perhaps it will soften the blow by letting you know that even though it doesn’t match the hype it’s still mostly enjoyable. It’s one of those quick reads that fills time but will most likely never be re-read 😛 I hope the audiobook is better than the paperback! Jen

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome to the club of why on earth is this book so freaking hyped when it is average at best!!!!! I read it as an ARC and while I enjoyed how mindless it was I felt it certainly was not deserving of a high rating. One of the most signposted mysteries I have ever read!!! XDDDD

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve just given me the word I couldn’t think of for my review: mindless. That’s this book exactly! It was simple and quick and mostly enjoyable but nothing stellar or really worth remembering. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks this 😛 Jen

      Liked by 1 person

    • HAHA to the point and exact. I love it! I’m not really inclined to pick up the sequel to One of Us is Lying either…. maybe I’ll try Two Can Keep a Secret sometime if I’m bored and in the mood for light thriller and intrigue ahah 😛 Jen

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this one. I did like this one — I don’t read that many thrillers and this was my first YA thriller I think. It really gave me How to get away with murder + Breakfast club vibes and I was so here for it lol you’re defo not the only one who didn’t enjoy it though; loads of others didn’t either! Hope your next read is better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh I love How to Get Away with Murder! It always surprises me that I can fall in love with a show in which I hate all of the characters 😛 Annalise is starting to grow on me but the little crew… not so much!! Wes was great until… you know. I haven’t gotten back in to the show since that happened though. Still haven’t seen the Breakfast Club. I should probably put that on my movie TBR list! Jen


  5. Great Review- I haven’t read this (I prefer adult thrillers since I’m not easily drawn into them) but I am keen to try just to see if the hype is or isn’t worth it! Though I feel I would side with you but it will be fun to see – may have to try and grab a copy after christmas. 💜😍😊

    Liked by 1 person

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