When five high school students are sent to detention, just four emerge alive. Academically gifted Bronwyn keeps a flawless school record. Rising baseball star Cooper is a popular jock. Homecoming princess Addy would never reveal her insecurities. Bad boy Nate is on probation for illegal activity. Outsider Simon, creator of Bayview High’s gossip app, dies the day before he could post secrets about them. The police suspect foul play and all four are drawn into a murder investigation.
The inspiration for this book is The Breakfast Club with a murder mystery twist. The Breakfast Club is my favourite film of all time and I was intrigued by the thriller element. Funnily enough, the four students become known as the murder club in their high school. At the start, Simon makes an observation about the group:
“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.”
Thankfully though, Addy, Cooper, Bronwyn and Nate are so much more than these high school labels. The character development is brilliant and Addy in particular surprised me.
We get first person perspectives from each of the four central characters. I loved the unlikely friendships which gradually grew between them and outside of their social groups, especially Bronwyn and Nate. Once the murder investigation gets underway, the Bayview four learn who their true friends are. They are brought together under terrible circumstances and learn to support one another during a tough time.
As for the murder mystery, I was amazed by the number of red herrings! Simon made so many enemies at his high school and this meant that there were a lot of potential suspects. I thought I had predicted “whodunnit” early on, but I was wrong! The author kept me guessing as to who did it with each new chapter.
This book also explores the perils of social media and it looks at how gossip can potentially ruin people’s lives. You get a real sense of teenage angst and what it means to be a teen these days. There is also a little romance which I adored! My favourite character is Nate. I enjoyed his sense of humour and no-nonsense attitude to everything. Overall, One of Us is Lying is a suspenseful, addictive and gripping debut novel by Karen M. McManus.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐