YA Review: One Of Us Is Lying

Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M McManus

A high-school locked-room murder mystery, narrated by the students suspected of the crime. One Of Us Is Lying is a cleverly constructed story that kept me guessing as the suspects slowly revealed their secrets and pieced together the evidence against them.

Five students find themselves in detention together – the athlete, the prom-queen wannabe, the gossip king, the high-achiever, and the drug dealer on probation – but only four will leave the room alive. The survivors find themselves questioning what happened during detention, and working together to understand what the murder means for each of them. All of them have something to hide – but which of them has a motive for murder?

The story unfolds gradually, with each survivor narrating their own chapters as the evidence builds. I was completely hooked, turning the pages to find the next twist and the next motive, and developing theories as each character confessed more about their lives.

Keeping secrets from the reader when the book is written in alternating first-person chapters is difficult, but the author manages to reveal her surprises and plot twists gradually, without making readers feel cheated or misled. We feel as if we’re getting to know the characters as they get to know each other, and this ensures that the first-person revelations feel entirely natural as the story unfolds.

The four suspects feel very different, with different concerns, ambitions, and family backgrounds. With each new twist, another character comes under suspicion, and the reader is constantly guessing who has a secret worth killing for. The supporting cast adds depth to the story, with friends, sisters, parents, teachers, and boyfriends and girlfriends adding to the tangled web of grudges, motives, and opportunities.

It’s a clever premise and a gripping story with a satisfying ending – and a sequel, which is definitely on my wish list.

Have you read One Of Us Is Lying? What did you think of the story? Will you be reading the sequel? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.

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