To Read or Not to Read?

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

The description for One of Us Is Lying sounded like pure gold, a mix of the classic Breakfast Club all rolled together with a murder mystery. Here’s the setup:

Five very different kids walk into detention on a Monday afternoon and we quickly find that they are all there under suspicious circumstances. (Each got into trouble because they were caught with a cell phone in class. Only the phones that were confiscated weren’t any of their real phones.)

Brownwyn is the smart girl, Addy is the pretty popular one, Nate is the bad boy, and Cooper is the all-star baseball player. And then there’s Simon, the unpopular outcast who runs a gossip app.

Simon doesn’t make it out of detention alive. And then a Tumblr post comes out and makes everyone who had been in the detention room with Simon a suspect in his death.

That sounds kind of interesting, right? I thought so. I liked how there were several different points of view, one for each of the suspects, and that they actually had distinct voices (we even had a person of color and a character dealing with his/her sexuality!). And I liked how they were definitely unreliable narrators.

Then I reached the last 50 or so pages of the book and it all fell apart.

Up until that point there had been mystery and intrigue and I’d felt that pretty much any of the characters could have offed Simon. But one meeting changed all that when a side character solves it all in only two sentences of dialogue. After that there’s a brief confrontation, one character ends up trying to murder another character, and then we have an epilogue.

It was abrupt and all the loose ends were wound up far too easily after everything else that had went on. And the epilogue was all super cliche, every more so than the rest of it. It was so disappointing given how well it started and the abruptness completely ruined it for me.

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