Imagine The Breakfast Club if the geek, jock, criminal and princess hated Ally Sheedy’s basketcase so much that one of them murdered her, and that’s pretty much the premise of One of Us Is Lying.
Cooper (jock), Addy (princess), Bronwyn (brain), and Nate (criminal), all wind up in detention on the same afternoon. All swear they’ve been set up and don’t belong there, but the teacher isn’t interested in their excuses. Also there is Simon, owner of a notorious school gossip app. During detention Simon has an allergic reaction and dies, and it soon becomes clear that it wasn’t an accident.
Suspected of being involved, the remaining students become known as The Bayview Four. Each of them has a secret that could ruin their futures or current relationships, and Simon was about to post all of them. Who killed him before he could make it public?
I really enjoyed this one. You can tell how much because even though I get a pathetic amount of sleep because of these pesky babies I stayed up til after midnight so I could finish it. Told through each of the four’s POV, we get an insight into their lives and how much they’ll be hurt if their secrets get out. But it also lets us get close to each character, so much so that every time it switched I was all ‘Well it’s not this one!’ They’re all well developed and grow beyond their initial stereotypical roles. No one is just a ‘jock’ or a ‘princess’, even if that’s all their peers see. And they develop relationships with one another even though, fundamentally, they cannot trust each other. They’re thrown into a situation that no one else can understand, and develop a sort of bond, but under it all is an air of suspicion. I liked that it kept me guessing, for a little while at least. And I definitely grew attached to everyone and was sad to finish it.
It does rely a little bit too much on the police being idiots/lazy, and the reveal is not a huge shock, but that didn’t take away from the excellent writing and storytelling. The getting there is definitely worth it and it still threw in a couple of surprises, which pleased me. I’ll be looking out for McManus’ next one for sure.