“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.”
One of Us is Lying is probably not a book I would have picked up on my own. Mainly because it's a mystery and mysteries are not my jam. But, it was a title selected for the first ever "Battle of the Books" Competition taking place in my district between the high schools. I told myself I would read all the books on the battle list (6 in total), and this was my first pick (I've already read Winger by Andrew Smith-which I nominated and pushed for-and Turtles All the Way Down by John Green). I was hoping that by reading the books, I could help motivate some kids into participating (we do NOT have a big reading culture in my building).
Now, while this wasn't a book that I would normally pick up, I enjoyed it. A lot. It was the second book I read during the #24in48 Readathon last weekend, and I flew through it in just a couple hours, staying up pretty late because I couldn't put it down.
The book is pitched as being an edgier, more modern version of The Breakfast Club, but that comparison fell flat for me after the first couple chapters. Because while the novel opens in detention with 5 students gathered from different walks of life, the comparisons end there.
The 5 students in detention definitely come from different groups in school. There's Bronwyn, the super smart girl from a wealthy family; Addy, the beautiful girl with the hottest boyfriend in school who everyone things is a bit dumb; Cooper, the star baseball player; Nate, the stereotypical bad boy who sells drugs; and Simon, the founder of a gossip app that reveals the "truth" of what happens at school.
Then, Simon dies by ingesting concentrated peanut oil, and the 4 other students are all suspects.
It's entertaining. And fast-moving. As the book dives deeper into the lives of the 4 students under investigation, we, as readers, learn that each of them does have something to hide that Simon knew-thus, they could all be responsible. But as the media frenzy heightens and new evidence comes out, the 4 of them have to decide if they can rely on each other and determine who is lying and killed Simon.
It's a fascinating read. Of course there were parts that I didn't love (some of Addy's story-line developed a bit too quickly and some minor characters who turned major characters needed a little more page time), but overall, it was an engrossing book, and one that I know students would love. I also loved that I didn't guess the twist (I guessed wrong, but I was close)!
In all, a very fast paced read that's perfectly wonderful and suspenseful. I have a feeling our kids are going to love it! (And I do think McManus is one of the authors who agreed to skype in during the Battle in May).
“I stand and hold out my hand. She gives me a skeptical look, but takes it and lets me pull her to her feet. I put my other hand in the air. 'Bronwyn Rojas, I solemnly swear not to murder you today or at any point in the future. Deal?'
'You're ridiculous,' she mutters, going even redder.
'It concerns me you're avoiding a promise not to murder me.”