One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

November 18, 2017

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.

Spoiler-free review!

I feel like one of maybe four people in the world who just… really did not enjoy this book? I’ve been putting off this review for weeks because I just don’t know where to start. I have so many friends who raved about this book to me, so I was so disappointed by it.

These are only my opinions, and I would never dream of disrespecting anyone who disagrees with my review, so please show the same courtesy and don’t hate me for what I’m about to say. ❤

→ what i liked ←

This is a very quick read; if I had enjoyed it, I’m sure I would’ve knocked it out in one sitting. As it was, it still felt like it moved pretty quickly.

The main romance is fairly cute. Incredibly trope-y “goody-two-shoes smart girl falls for the brooding bad boy!” stuff, but, I mean, their interactions are fine, and I was rooting for them by the end of the book, which is a big plus. I would say I was more attached to the budding relationship between them than I was to any of the individual characters in this story.

Nate, ‘the criminal’, is a very likable character. He’s got a really dark and twisty back story that explains away a lot of his motives, and I definitely enjoyed his perspectives of the story the most. He just feels like a really authentic teen who’s trying to muddle through a hard, screwed-up life, and I loved that about him. Whenever it was any other character’s POV, I definitely found myself rushing to get back to his sections.

→ what i didn’t like ←

This book is so problematic and most of it is NEVER challenged. First of all, can we talk about the immense amounts of slut-shaming? I could handle it if it was coming just from the characters and/or was actually being challenged consistently, but 1) it isn’t challenged every time in the dialogue, and 2) the author contributes to the slut-shaming narrative regarding women cheating.

We have two characters in the story who are cheaters; one is a female character, who does it one time, while drunk; the other is a male character, who carries on an emotional and physical affair for MONTHS. We spend a tremendous portion of the book focusing on the girl’s one-night-stand, while the text literally does not ONCE actually name the boy for what he is: a cheater. There’s no remorse shown, and there are no consequences whatsoever for him. It also seems kinda gross to me that the girl who’s guilty of cheating is a “pretty, vapid, popular girl” type – can we please stop with these cliches?

Also, can we please NOT make the only queer character in the cast a horrible character who cheats and hurts people? AND can we not make the character’s coming-out scene a bigger twist than the actual murderer reveal? This book also does some serious vilifying of mental illness, but I won’t get started on that rant.

Beyond all of that… honestly, the writing is just not that good, and the “twist” is so predictable it hurts.

→ final thoughts ←

All in all… I almost hated this book. If it hadn’t been for the quick pace and how much I enjoyed Nate, as well as his relationship with Bronwyn, I absolutely would have DNFed this. As it stands, I cannot in good conscience recommend this book, and I will probably not be picking up any future releases from this author.

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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. I’ve been on two minds about this book and now I can say I’m out. Cheating, Slut-shaming and a character coming out as a “twist” nah. I’m defiantly not reading this. Great review ?

      1. Lmao thank you! I normally ALWAYS tell people, “still check it out for yourself!” but with this one… it was just so genuinely harmful that I can’t even say that in good conscience. I feel like it’s a bullet worth dodging. :/

      1. Thank you Theo! I never *hope* for people to hate books or anything, but with books like this, where literally almost everyone I follow who has read it, gave it 4+ stars? I feel like I’m in the twilight zone or something… so it’s honestly relieving to hear someone else say they felt the same way :/

    1. Oh no! I just bought this book, was planning on reading it in the new year :/ I probably still will, but i’m going to keep what you said in mind!!

      1. Thank you! <3 I was honestly scared to post this review lol! I've never ranted so much about a book that's so widely loved currently, before this one. But I've been relieved to see I've mostly gotten responses from other people who were also too nervous to say it!

        1. I feel like this has been happening to me a lot lately, like even before I started book blogging a month ago. ? Then I’ll look at Goodreads and literally find NO ONE who shared my feelings! I think they’re probably just too nervous to say they didn’t like a book, or they just don’t bother lol

          1. I think you’re right! Sometimes, it seems like I actually get more comments on my “unpopular opinion” reviews (like this one) than any of the others, because so many people will go, “Oh, wow, me too!” and it definitely makes me wonder how many of them are afraid to post their reviews on GR due to lashback and such. 🙁 It’s sad that the bookish community doesn’t always feel safe for many people!

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this book, especially considering all the positive reviews out there. That’s good you point out all the problematic elements in it though, I can’t believe I haven’t heard about that before! Great review ❤️

      1. Thank you! <3 I was honestly STUNNED while reading it. I kept thinking, "Why aren't people talking about this?" So after I read it, I looked at my friends' reviews on GR for it, and literally only one person had mentioned any of the negative aspects at that point. I was just… kind of shocked, and saddened.

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry that this was a miss! I’m hesitant about reading this one as well… I’ll have to push it down my TBR a bit. Great review!

    1. Oh boy! I’d been on the fence about this one because I’d seen conflicting reviews, but I’m definitely out if it’s filled with slut-shaming and negative girl cliches and using a character’s sexuality as a plot twist. Buh byeee. Thanks for being brave enough to be honest with us! 🙂

      1. Yeah, honestly, if I’d seen any reviews addressing how trope-y this was and how bad the rep was, and the slut-shaming? I wouldn’t have picked it up lmao. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news though! And thank you <3 I'm trying to get a little braver about being honest when I think a popular book is just really not worth its salt, but it's hard sometimes because I hate conflict and I get so worried that people will freak out on me. ?

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