Disclaimer: Karen McManus and I went to college together. I am very good friends with her old roommate. Karen has been a huge supporter of the Cannonball Read in the past. I would never review one of her books if I wasn’t going to give it a big thumbs up.
And so, with that out of the way, I’m happy to report that One of Us is Next, the sequel to her fun and amazingly popular debut, One of Us is Lying, is just as filled with twists, turns, and insane social media shenanigans as its predecessor, and just as much of a good time.**
The story brings the reader back to Bayview, approximately 18 months after the events of OOUIL. We get brief updates on the original “Bayview Four” — Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Addy — but this book is more about the next generation of kids at Bayview High, including Bronwyn’s little sister, Maeve, her best friend (and ex), Knox, and Addy’s neighbor, Phoebe.
Someone in Bayview has stepped into the late Simon’s shoes and is threatening the entire school population with a massive game of Truth or Dare — take the Dare or have a horrible secret exposed to EVERYONE. Of course, every single kid in the school should have reported this game to the authorities the second they saw the text alert on their phones…and yet, nobody does. They all sort of want to see what will happen, who will be chosen, and what secrets will come out.
But that all changes when people start to die.
Dude, this is a Karen McManus book. Of course someone is going to die. The book starts out telling us that someone is dead, and we spend the rest of the story trying to figure out WHO and WHY and HOW.
I’ll admit, this time I figured out who was behind the mysterious game a little bit sooner than last time. BUT. I was once again not prepared for the ending, because nothing ever goes exactly the way you think in one of these books.
We think we know how things will wrap up, and then BOOM, something comes out of left field that changes everything…and usually on the very last page, leaving me to say WHAT?!?!?!?, but not in a bad way.
(At this point, I know I should be ready for these endings. But the twists really do surprise me! I wonder if she comes up with the ending before she comes up with the rest of the story? I’ll have to ask at our next reunion!)
This was a fun and quick (only because it was hard to put down) read, and I look forward to more from Karen McManus for many years to come. I couldn’t be happier for her and the success of these books.
**My only gripe? I’m not quite sure I buy into the Luis/Maeve relationship…do college age boys (really, men) go out with high school girls and nobody cares? Including parents? I get that these two were friends first, and maybe they are really close in age, but I got a little squicky over that.