Worth the Read? – One of Us Is Lying

Welcome to “Worth the Read?” where I give you my honest opinion on whether you should spend your precious time reading a super-hyped New York Times Bestseller.

Today’s book is:

One of Us Is Lying, by Karen M. McManus

On New York Times Best Sellers list (Young Adult Hardcover) for 13 weeks

The Hype:

Before its end-of-May publication date, One of Us Is Lying was very well publicized and marketed, which resulted in its inclusion on a bunch of “most anticipated books of 2017” lists. One such list was from Entertainment Weekly, which called the book, “Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club.” Personally, I think a description like that makes the book irresistible to today’s young readers as well as to those who grew up on John Hughes films, thus reaching a pretty wide audience.

Plot Summary:

From the publisher

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?



As I mentioned above, the EW blurb for the book, “Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club,” was very compelling and it got me to pick up One of Us Is Lying. I was definitely in it for the The Breakfast Club aspect of the story, but was curious to see how McManus weaved a mysterious death into the picture.

The book follows a rotating-narrator structure and we hear from all the students who were in detention that day (except the dead one, of course). Like The Breakfast Club, each student seems like a stereotype, but as the story unfolds, we learn there’s more to each of them. I liked that they weren’t super one-dimensional, but the revelation of the other facets of their personalities was a bit predictable.

I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan, so McManus’ use of the locked-room-mystery-inspired plotline appealed to me off the bat.  The pacing of the book leading up to the end was fast-paced and kept me engaged. I read it as an audiobook, and I found that I actually looked forward to getting in my car or doing chores because it gave me the opportunity to hear a bit more of the story. I didn’t predict the ending, and even though it was a little farfetched, the solution to the mystery was still surprising and satisfying.

Since The Breakfast Club reference is what drew me to read One of Us Is Lying, I wish there had been more nods to the ‘80s, but I’m still glad I read it. I’m not sure how accurate McManus was of her portrayal of high-school life today, but if her depiction is on point,  it made me very glad that I’m not a teen in today’s social-media obsessed world!


85% worth it

Rating Key

80% – 100% – the book lives up to the hype. Go read it now!
60% – 79% – the book is good, but there’s no rush to read it
40% – 59% – the book has some degree of merit, but has flaws and probably isn’t worth your time
0% – 39% – the book stinks and isn’t worth the read

Have you read One of Us Is Lying  What were your thoughts? Share in the comments below!

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