Ones to Watch in 2017 – One Of Us Is Lying – Karen M.McManus

Publication Date: June 2017 from Penguin Randomhouse UK Childrens

Source: Netgalley

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?

I loved this – clever, often tense, addictive to the ninth degree and with as many twists as a plethora of pretzels – except the twists don’t always come within the mystery but just as often within the characters.

So this is The Breakfast Club if The Breakfast Club was a murder mystery. That is the best way I can describe it (and for those of an age to appreciate the true genius of The Breakfast Club the highest compliment I can give it)

5 students enter detention only 4 come out alive. But what happened to them? Murder? Accident? And who were they? Victim? Undeserved of their fate? And most of all, who hated them enough to want to see them dead? Well all of those questions will eventually get answered but before that we have a genius of a novel, brilliantly insightful storytelling that starts with a group of teenagers who have easy labels applied to them (the Jock, the popular girl etc etc) but over the course of the novel grow layers and flesh and bone and become actual people. The people they are…

One of them may be a killer. All of them are not as shallow or as easily read as would first appear. As they enter the spotlight, not only within school gossip but also under intense scrutiny as the police investigation unfolds, the media looks on and nothing will ever be the same again. We hear from all of them and start to understand what has led to this moment, Karen M.McManus slowly but surely takes us towards the ultimate resolution, peeling back the hidden underneath of their friendships and loyalties, pushing them together and pulling them apart.

It is absolutely riveting – seriously I was hooked, I really engaged with all of them and their plight – so when I say this is utterly character driven I mean that exactly. As relationships are tested, not just within the school hierarchy but within each of their families, all of them have some serious growing up to do and you watch them do just that.

Not all of the reveal moments are unexpected but they are all emotionally resonant, this is not just a Young Adult mystery but an unravelling of substance and what makes us tick as people. Plus to be fair the mystery element is HIGHLY intriguing – there is also a Christiesque touch to things that really adds to the sheer joy of reading it.

That’s it – The Breakfast Club if Agatha Christie had written it. One Of Us Is Lying in a nutshell for me.

Highly Recommended. Beautifully written and a genuine barnstormer of a page turner.

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Happy Reading!


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