I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review. And honestly, I loved this book.
A school murder mystery, a breakfast club style group, a deadly allergy, and a whole host of secrets that nobody wants to get out – the stage was set, I was so ready for this book!
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.
What I really loved about this book was not only the diversity and representation that it offered, with a bunch of different characters who poked fun at the stereotypes that they were supposed to represent, but also the different perspectives that we saw as they each struggled through the difficult days after the loss of a classmate that they weren’t actually sure they liked, and the ensuing murder investigation.
Besides the Bayview Four, there were a cast of other, interesting characters propping up this schooltime thriller, from Bronwyn’s sister Maeve to Addy’s boyfriend Jake, and Simon’s only friend Janae, each had their role to play, and you felt like there was more to them than just their role in the story. If I had a complaint, it would be that a) it’s never explained how old Maeve is, and why she’s hanging out with people who are clearly older than her, and b) she doesn’t seem to really have any interests outside of Bronwyn. But I can forgive that on the basis that if my sister was accused of murder, I’d drop all my outside interests too.
A host of unhelpful and often distant parents was the typical setup to allow these four to solve their own murder mystery, despite having been advised to stay away from each other until the investigation was complete.
While I thought at first that this might be jam-packed full of cliches, with the typical stereoptyped, one-dimensional high-schoolers and the secrets they don’t want to get out, what actually unfolded over the course of the book was much more nuanced than that.
Each of the Bayview Four has something to hide, and inevitably, as is the way of teen dramas, those secrets are gradually revealed and the stakes raise higher and higher, with a mysterious Tumblr blog amping up the tension by revealing details that couldn’t have been known to anyone outside the room.
I figured out the killer roughly halfway through the book – much earlier than the characters, but then I suppose I have the advantage of the omniscient presence, and having read a lot of thrillers – but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the story. There was still plenty going on as they – and I – unravelled the tangled web of secrets and lies, figuring out who knew what and who was where at which point. The tension was as much in what would happen next as in figuring out whodunnit.
I devoured this book in a day and a half, skiving off work, hanging around too long during downtimes, lingering overlong during lunch, and staying up late while my boyfriend snored beside me. It was compulsive reading, with enough variety and intrigue to keep me interested even after I figured out who the liar was.