One of Us Is Lying

Book review by Deane Barker tags: fiction, young-adult

One of my daughter’s friends left this in my car after she borrowed it to drive to a Pitbull concert in Omaha. So I read it.

Five students get mysteriously pranked into serving detention together. One of them dies from an allergic reaction. Who did it?

The format of the book is interesting. Each chapter is written from the first person, and the perspective moves between the four, so you have to re-orient yourself to who is speaking each chapter (actually, weirdly, there’s two smaller sub-chapters in each formal chapter; not sure why).

I was ready for some cringey dialogue and characters, but the book felt very authentic to me. As a middle-aged man, that might not mean much, but at no time did it feel artificial or contrived (outside of the core plot, that is).

The mystery was pretty good. The ending was…not predictable, but you knew there was going to be some kind of twist, because it couldn’t play out along normal lines. (I watched the Agatha Christie movie Death on the Nile the other night, and I felt the same way. The only true plot twist would be if there wasn’t one, because you know the story has to end in some surprising way.)

So, which one of them is lying? They all are, about different things, it turns out.

There was an eight-part limited TV series that came after the book, and there was a sequel. I doubt I’ll read the book, but I might watch the show. I really did get drawn into the characters, and I’d be curious to see them come to life on the screen.

Book Info

Karen M. McManus

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