Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.
He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.
Everyone has secrets, right?
What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.
Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger warnings: suicide, homophobia, abuse, bipolar
Pitched as the Breakfast Club feat. Murder One of Us is Lying had all my checkmarks for a potential new favourite book:
- Multi POV
- Misfit characters
- MURDER MYSTERY
Unfortunately, it fell short.
In my opinion, what this book did get right is the multiple points of view. Each character being defined to a single trope could spell disaster, but I think Karen M. McManus delivered it perfectly. Whilst I did enjoy certain characters more than others (Ads was my favourite) each one was more than just their main attribution.
One of Us is Lying is very fast paced and I found it so hard to put down. Every time a chapter ended I instantly wanted to keep reading the next one. I did guess the “twist” early on, but I was still kept interested enough to want to see how it all ended.
I had quite a few issues though. There was a ton of misogony – the words “slut” and “bitch” are mentioned a lot and not in a reclaimed positive context. One of the character’s mother also has bipolar and whilst I’m not bipolar I felt like it was handled really poorly. There was no real education on bipolar and the mother was given so many negative traits.
I can’t sit here listening to her promises and hoping it’ll all work out. That she’ll stay sober, stay employed, stay sane.
I like when less “socially acceptable” traits of mental illness are included in fiction and I know that some people must have hard childhoods growing up with a mentally ill parent, but it just felt like such a cop out and an insult to people with bipolar who are genuinely trying to be a good parent or family member. There was also some ableism:
He got a workman’s comp settlement and wound up disabled enough to collect social security.
What kind of rehab-speak is she spewing?
There was also terms like “whack job” used and some casually mentioned “slitting your wrists“. A character’s sexuality was also somewhat used as a plot twist which also never sit rights.
One of the things I think this book did get right was the portrayal of an abusive relationship. It’s why Ads is my favourite character from this book. It really shows just how much an absuive relationship can affect you. At first Ads can’t see the abuse which is the case for a lot of people in abusive relationships, but then she eventually realises what is happening and she removes herself from the situation. I was so proud of her. I know this can’t always happen in abusive relationships, but the situation wasn’t glorified. She also had a fantastic relationship with her older sister.
The main problem I had with this book would be considered a “spoiler” even though I think it’s something that should be talked about in reviews because it really made me feel awful. I’ll try and keep it as vague as possible, but ultimately this glorified suicide so much. This was one of the biggest cases of “suicide revenge” that I’ve seen. It’s not even that the character didn’t display “typical” symptoms because I appreciated that. It was the fact that it made people who are suicidal or who have committed suicide into a “villain”. I know this isn’t a book about mental illness so it’s not going to be the focus, but it was all just used as a negative character trait and it made me so uncomfortable. I’m so over the “mentally ill people are dangerous to society” trope. So. So. Over it.
I realise my opinion on this book is really unpopular to most others, but even though it was fast paced and kept me reading it missed the mark on so many elements. I just couldn’t get past the fact that mental illness was so awfully represented.
Have you read One of Us is Lying or is it on your TBR?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I hope you’re having fantastic day.