Murder, lies, and secrets come together in Karen M. McManus’s debut young adult novel One of us is Lying. Five students, Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper and Simon, who, in any other circumstance, would never have crossed paths, receive detention one Monday afternoon. However, Simon, the creator of a notorious school gossip app, never leaves the classroom. He died on Monday, but on Tuesday was planning to release juicy gossip on his four fellow detention-mates. Investigators have reasons to believe each one of the students in detention was responsible for his death. Told in the point of view of the four suspects, this story makes readers question if one of the narrators isn’t telling the whole truth.
The plot unfolds as the five main characters are placed in detention. Bronwyn is the smart, Yale-bound girl who never breaks a rule. Addy is the enviously beautiful homecoming princess. Nate is a criminal who’s on probation for dealing drugs. Cooper, is an all-star pitcher destined for the MLB. Simon was an outcast who created the school’s gossip app that exposed and ruined the lives of his fellow classmates. Readers will be able to see each character’s perspective on events, and watch as old rumors, and unexpected romances, resurface.
McManus writes with a unique style that adds to the already thick plot. She writes using descriptive sentences that help paint the scene without being overly descriptive, and in turn, boring. As new leads in the case come up, the characters must make painful sacrifices. With twists and turns in every cliff-hanging chapter, readers will be left questioning if the current person of interest is actually responsible.
McManus uses different elements, such as sentence structure and character’s personal thoughts, to create a suspenseful mood, and cunningly develops the story and character relationships. The story has no end of surprises, leaving the characters, and reader, shocked at what just happened. In the end, readers will be left in awe after witnessing just what happened to the notorious Simon Keheller.