YA is not a genre I read a lot of but when I read Kate @ BibliophileBookClub’s review of this one, I knew I had to read it. She doesn’t read much YA either so for her to recommend this book, I suspected I’d enjoy it too, and I did, I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would!
Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.
On Thursday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the bad boy, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the jock, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident.
On Thursday, he died. But on Friday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
Told from the perspective of the four surviving students, this mystery kept me guessing until the end. I enjoyed trying to figure out who the killer was as little pieces of the puzzle fell into place, and on the information revealed, I lost count of how many times I changed my mind.
McManus does a great job creating the teen/high-school atmosphere, tapping into the cliques, social media, and the whole ‘my-parent-don’t-understand’ mantra that teens live by. I liked that the students in this one were from different cliques, were familiar with each other but not friends, thus allowing the suspense to build as they were not sure if they could trust each other. As the secrets were revealed, I applaud their realistic nature, secrets I believe some teens in real life are struggling with. As I suspected once I read the blurb, Nate, was my favourite character – not in a dreamy crush on a bad boy way but in a motherly-way, like with some love and attention all is not lost.
There’s only one tiny, and I mean teeny tiny part of the story that annoyed me – and this is not a spoiler in anyway – why when the female is running away, must she always trip and fall and twist her ankle? – It’s so frustrating, so cliché, so typical ‘teen movie[/book]’. Other than that, I have no complaints, this is quick and enjoyable read. Each chapter is date and time stamped helping the flow of the book, it gives the story a fast-paced nature that the writing doesn’t and this worked really well; allowing small time jumps that don’t discombobulate the flow and the reader is kept aware of whose perspective is being given at that particular time.
The writing is as you’d expect for a YA read so if you struggle to get on board with the simpler (than you’d find in adult mystery books) writing style, I don’t think that will be a problem here, as the mystery is strong enough in its delivery to keep you turning pages. If you don’t usually read YA and you’re able to guess ‘who dunnit’ right away, you may find this read less satisfying but it’s always fun to read on and see if you’re right! And the writing style means you’ll fly through the pages, possibly in one-sitting.
I’ve seen fellow reviewers relate this book to Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, and I have to agree, they were spot on. If you’re looking for a YA mystery recommendation, look no further than One Of Us Is Lying.