ARC Review | One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

The Breakfast Club with a murder. What’s not to like? 4/5.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. M. McManus

Thank you to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book. One Of Us Is Lying is published tomorrow, June 1st.

The blurb:  Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

My take:

I can imagine the pitch for this book: “The Breakfast Club set in 2016, but the nerd dies and the other 4 are suspects”. As high-concept pitches go, that’s a cracker.

The execution isn’t quite as brilliant as the idea, but it’s very entertaining. The 4 main characters are all believable, rounded teenagers. They leap off the page and are a laudably diverse group with depth and a mix of motivations. I have to admit that, because of The Breakfast Club thing, I could only picture them as 1985 Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald… even though it’s clear that the characters in this book look nothing like them! Anyway, it did nothing to dent my enjoyment of the story.

I’m a fan of multiple-viewpoint stories and, as the four main characters tell their part of the story, the switching between voices is handled extremely well and helps to keep us in the dark. The POV switching also helped to make the growing friendship between the four entirely believable, as we see how their priorities and outlooks shift with Simon’s death and the events of the aftermath.

I did have a few niggles, although I doubt the biggest thing that irritated me would even be noticed by the core target audience for this book. More than once I huffed and rolled my eyes at the unbelieveable level of incompetence demonstrated by the police. Their entire investigative approach seemed to boil down to assuming one of the four main characters is guilty (even though everyone in the school seemed to hate the murder victim and would have had opportunity too) and then putting pressure on them to confess or rat on each other. And this when the suspects are all technically children.

Of course, as in many books, police incompetence is essential if our heroes are to play a crucial role in uncovering the truth, but I still find it annoying.

The final reveal contains one element which is a little disappointing (although it is the only solution which makes any sense at all), but is balanced nicely by a far more shocking revelation which is a calalyst for a high drama climax.

Overall: a story for fans of YA looking for a dose of high-school drama, secrets and lies.

Claire Huston / Art and Soul







26 thoughts on “ARC Review | One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

    • Thank you!
      I couldn’t help it! Even though the author described the characters well and they were clearly very different to those in the film, I couldn’t get the actors out of my mind 🙂
      That said, it did nothing to dent my enjoyment of this one.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was a bit worried going in, as I love The Breakfast Club. But I thought the updated elements were excellent (social media must make negotiating high school even more difficult – I’m glad I missed that one!).
      I hope you continue to enjoy it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have to say thank you! I read a review of this last week, at the end of it I commented “so it’s a modern day Breakfast Club with murder” to which I received the response “I don’t know I’ve never seen it! 😲

    Evidently they hit the target market there as most YA readers won’t have seen Breakfast Club I’m guessing unless they are into retro films or their Mum has made them! 😂

    Great review and thank you for confirming my suspicion ref BC!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was super excited to see you were reviewing this book! I want to read it. I’m happy to see you were entertained by it. I am all about the drama and lies, so I think it will be for me. 🙂 Your review was great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The more reviews I see for this one the more I want to read it. I love The Breakfast Club! What an awesome movie… so the book should fit me just perfect! Great review! Defo good to hear about your niggles and to keep those in mind when reading! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!
      It’s such a great idea. I can imagine the author watching the movie and thinking, “Hey, these guys really don’t get on a lot of the time. I wonder what would have happened if someone had got killed?”
      It’s very entertaining!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate it when an author writes the police as being consistently incompetent. It makes it harder for me to suspend disbelief and enjoy the story. But what a great premise!

    Liked by 1 person

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