There aren’t a lot of Young Adult whodunits around but it seems like the tides are turning. 13 Minutes and One of Us is Lying are two YA deduction stories. 13 Minutes is still on my TBR-list but I’ve read One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. It’s the story about four teens who are all suspects in the death of one of their classmates. And, hence the title, all may not be what it seems…
Thank you again Goodreads, for providing the perfect snippet for the plot as I am terrible in summing things up without writing 300 pages.
One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
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.
The Breakfast Club meets CSI
It’s not hard to see where McManus got her inspiration from. Just from reading the words ‘brain, beauty, criminal, athlete and outcast’ everybody would yell ‘Breakfast Club!’ And it’s a fine inspiration as it is one of the best teen movies ever made. I recently saw it again for the umpteenth time and loved every second of it. McManus took to Goodreads and confirmed her inspiration:
Yes, that was the original inspiration — The Breakfast Club with a criminal twist. I’ve always been interested in the concept of different types of people being brought together and having to interact with one another, and thought that adding a mystery would raise the stakes in an interesting way.
Each of the four main characters have their POV-chapters so you get to see inside all of their minds. And from the start you’ll be in full CSI-mode, trying to figure out who killed Simon and who the booktitle is referring to. I flipped back to the chapter in which Simon dies several times to see if I maybe overlooked some hints. This is a pageturner as you’ll want to know who did it as soon as possible. And trust me when I say that almost everyone will be your main suspect at some time.
It’s all about the characters
McManus does a great job in her debut (!!) novel with the four main characters. They all have their tone of voice and a specific way of thinking and doing things. Together, they make up the perfect team to find out who killed Simon. At first, they don’t trust each other but to find out what happened during that fateful detention, they have to team up. But is that such a smart move?
The secrets Simon had on all four are juicy and potentially life ruining for teens. It’s Breakfast Club meets CSI meets Gossip Girl. It’s clear why the four don’t want these secrets out so each of them have a decent motive. During the book, you’ll find out more about their backgrounds and their stories. And you’ll start to like all of the four. Great writing there from McManus.
I think bad boy, drug dealing criminal Nate will be everybody’s favourite. His chapters were the ones I was looking forward to the most. But the other three are great characters as well. When they start working together the book gets even more interesting. Because what are they hiding from each other? Friendships are formed and ofcourse, this being YA, there’s also some romance. These four characters make the book a great read. That, and finding out who did it, obviously.
One of Us is Lying – the Killer (spoilers from here on, duh)
SPOILER WARNING! This paragraph will reveal the killer so don’t read on if you don’t want to know! Seriously, stop reading now if you want to be surprised. I’m not kidding! Who killed Simon?
OK. You’re still here, so that means you’ve either read the book or really want to read the big reveal before reading it. For me, the identity of the killer was the one let down of the book. I loved every other bit. I started loving all the four main characters (though Bronwyn and Nate the most) and I really didn’t want any of them to be the killer. Nate never was a suspect to me, as that was 1. too obvious and 2. he just didn’t was the type for it. Bronwyn was the second character to scratch of my list. For a long time I thought it would have been Addy or Cooper, and then I started to like them both too.
But still, when it turned out to be Simon, I was disappointed. It never was an option for me he would have killed himself. It did make sense in retrospect but still, I wish it would have been of one the four. Although this way all of them get their happy end and it wouldn’t make sense for any of them to spend years in prison for this. So the ending is fine, but I still don’t like that Simon is the killer. It also makes the title of One of Us is Lying a bit less strong as obviously, neither one of them was lying about not killing Simon.