One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus


“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…
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

Ok, so I haven’t actually seen or read The Breakfast Club OR Pretty Little Liars, both of which have been used to describe this novel. But, for a book that didn’t at first glance seem to be my usual read, it had me completely hooked. The plot unfolds through multiple narrators’ voices and I was captivated by each individual’s secret lives – what they lived with, what they were hiding. The protagonists are tropes, absolutely, but also characters who challenged some of my own assumptions. I’m a sucker for a good murder mystery too and McManus uses well crafted suspense  to raise insightful questions about the challenging social dynamics of high school and some of the pressing issues that face her teen/young adult audience. It’s a novel about acceptance, fear, shame, parental relationships, love and the tension between personal integrity and the powerful need to belong. For it’s genre (teen fiction) I give it:

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