"ONE OF US IS LYING," by Karen McManus, Delacorte Press, $17.99, 368 pages, (f)
Readers would be lying if they didn't admit to enjoying “One of Us Is Lying.”
The new Karen McManus book tells the story of Yale University hopeful Bronwyn and her classmates Cooper (the athlete), Addy (the beauty) and Nate (the criminal), who all wind up in detention for the same reason.
And it’s during that detention that Simon, the creator of a gossip app, dies while drinking a cup of water.
Suddenly, the high school misfits find themselves stuck in a blame game under the eyes of the suspicious police. To avoid any lifelong consequences, Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy and Nate work together to figure who killed Simon, and why they’re being framed for it.
“One of Us Is Lying” is a classic young-adult thriller much in the vein of Sara Shepard's “Pretty Little Liars” series, drawing readers immediately into the story. Readers have seen the novel’s high school setting and stereotypical main characters before, but McManus still manages gives the old clichés enough modern twists — like students flocking to Tumblr to hear the latest news or a gossip app that reveals students' secrets — that the book feels fresh despite treading familiar ground.
Every character earns his or her time in the spotlight. The storyline floats between the four main stars' points of view, which can be tricky for readers to handle since some of their voices are eerily — and annoyingly — similar. Readers will find with surprise that they are reading what they thought was a Bronwyn chapter only to realize it actually is a Nate chapter, a problem that isn't helped by the fact that these two characters are together a lot in the book.
But midway through, the story settles itself out and gives each character ample time to reveal his or her story. Twists consistently filter in, as they do in most modern thrillers.
A major fault of the new book rests in its ending. About two-thirds in, readers will see brief flashes of a potential ending, which makes the final few scenes less compelling. In this book, the journey definitely surpasses the destination.
“One of Us Is Lying” is packed with typical teenage struggles like social media addiction, teenage gossip, crushes, drugs and alcohol. The book puts its characters to the test and paints a fairly accurate portrayal of how students function in the modern age.
Content advisory: "One of Us Is Lying" contains alcohol and drug use, mentions of sexual intimacy, mild violence, and descriptions of LGBT issues, suicide and rape.