This is a great mystery/crime story aimed at young adults but can be enjoyed by anyone from teens upwards. I can just remember my teens and I often read Young Adult, I love the fresh originality with a touch of fantasy after some of the more heavy going women’s fiction I read, although this one doesn’t have the fantasy element. What I did have a little ‘difficulty’ or issue with, was the very American-ness of the writing – lots of ‘dudes’, characters who are ‘pissed’ without a drop of alcohol being consumed, and the young dude’s non-English names (Cooper, Ashton, Addy, TJ.) – if you can get passed that, then the story is quite original and rather gripping.
The opening chapters find five teenagers getting detention at a privileged school, Bayview High. Three are unlikely to step out of line but one, Nate, is often found in detention. The three unlikelies rightly feel annoyed that they are suffering a detention because they all think that mobile phones (cells), which aren’t allowed in class, were planted on them. The fifth, well, he ends up dead. With only those four present in the room this is a really intense twisty turny who-dun-it style story. For most of the book I honestly couldn’t make up my mind who the culprit was, then it started to dawn on me. I’m not usually very good at guessing endings to books and whether you do or don’t guess correctly is of little relevance. It’s the journey to the end which is important and this was one very clever telling of quite an original story.
The chapters take turns with the characters and we get to know and love each of them well. The characters are well developed and each have their complexities. There’s never a stuttering moment and can honestly say that my interest was kept at a high level all the way through. Karen McManus has created an amazing debut and I think One of Us Is Lying will be loved and talked about by teenage readers.
Karen McManus website
Karen McManus Amazon author profile