Book Review: One of Us Is Lying

Everyone has something to hide.

Book Review: One of Us Is Lying

Kandice Chandra

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus is a contemporary twist of the classic movie The Breakfast Club and hot new TV show Riverdale. This high school thriller starts with five students in detention. Only four come out alive. The police say Simon Kelleher’s death was not an accident. Each one of the students has a colorful tale that in the end connects beautifully to answer the lingering question throughout the murder mystery: who killed Simon Kelleher?


The students ended up in detention because they were each found with a cell phone on them in the class with a very strict teacher. The four students that ended up in detention on that fateful day couldn’t have been more different.

Bronwyn Rojas: The smartest girl in the school that is bound for Yale.

Cooper Clay: The handsome all-star baseball player.

Addy Prentiss: The pretty girl who’s dating the hottest guy in school.

Nate Macauley: The bad boy that is known for getting into trouble.


Yet, this tragic event brings the four paradoxical students together.


Simon Kelleher was not liked by the students of Bayview High. He created a gossip app called “About That” which often brought juicy secrets out into the light and was known for ruining reputations and burning friendships. Some people hated the app and Simon so much that they were glad he died, others had a change of heart about Simon after hearing about his death, making the investigation all the more interesting.


When the police investigate the strange event, aggressive interrogations follow the students that were in the room when Simon died. To make matters worse, a Tumblr blog called “About This” surfaces and exposes dark secrets exclusively about the four students that were in that detention room. The blog “About This” published Simon’s post that was supposed to come out a day after he died. Could one of the students in the room have killed Simon in order to avoid their secret getting out?


‘She’s a princess and you’re a jock,’ he says. He thrusts his chin toward Bronwyn, then at Nate. ‘And you’re a brain. And you’re a criminal. You’re all walking teen-movie stereotypes.’”

— Simon Kelleher


For Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate, life is miserable. All fingers are pointed towards them but the police have no solid evidence. Each of them have to hire lawyers in order to protect them from the harsh questioning of the police. Bronwyn’s perfect reputation crumbles with her darkest secret coming out and being a murder suspect. Cooper is having the season of his life but his dad and recruiters are distracted by the other information that is floating around about him. Addy’s life as she knows it crumbles when the biggest mistake she’s ever made is revealed. Lastly, Nate seems to be the one least impacted by the accusations since he’s been accused of crimes before. Until more evidence appears…


I thought this book was an extraordinary twist on the classic The Breakfast Club. Each character had a unique background that was skillfully tied together to make them realize they have more in common with each other than they think. The change in point of view every chapter was so refreshing because you could see each point of view of the complex crime. It’s usually hard to pull off four different points of view because the reader can get confused easily, but McManus executed it perfectly. When the truth came out it made my jaw drop to the ground.


The ending was unexpected and it painted meaningful life lessons on the canvas. I was able to take away lessons about social media, especially the harshness of it. I learned that you really can’t trust everything online and that to people, it’s easier to be mean behind a screen than in person. This means that each person has to take what they see on social media with a grain of salt because it can be dishonest or flat out bullying.


I gave this book four stars because there were some plot holes throughout the story that slightly mismatch the ending. It didn’t take away from the overall suspense but it still left a lingering confusion once I finished. The characters were all lively and enjoyable and the plot had great twists that kept me entertained. Entertwined with the murder mystery were also side love stories that show good things can be born within less than ordinary circumstances.


All in all, One of Us Is Lying was a great, engaging read that I would recommend for fans of dramatic teen stories.



Top Image Courtesy of Goodreads.