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Book Reviews and Recommendations: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. Mcmanus

Updated on August 8, 2018

It has been a long time since my last book review and recommendation, too long in fact and so I wanted to kick things off again. 'One Of Us Is Lying' is the debut novel by Karen M. McManus which was published in May 2017. It is also the most recent book I managed to get my hands on and one of the best descriptions I have read so far about 'One Of Us Is Lying' is that it is the perfect combination of The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars.

The similarities to John Hughes's hit 1985 film were no mistake as this is where the author found her inspiration. In an interview she said:

'I actually got the idea while I was driving and listening to the radio. I think there’s something about having half my brain engaged in a mundane task that kind of gives the other half freedom to roam. I started thinking it would be fun to write an update of that movie, which I loved, but with some sort of a twist. And the phrase ‘The Breakfast Club with murder’ popped into my head, and it just stuck there.'

— Karen M. McManus

However, this does not mean that the idea is unoriginal in any way, not at all. In fact this novel is crammed full of twists and turns that you're head will be spinning. Maybe not literally spinning, but you get the picture.


Karen M. McManus has made a memorable first impact with One Of Us Is Lying. The novelist has drawn from an iconic film and created an updated and current atmosphere that many people today can identify with.

Gone are the days when you could make a mistake and recover from it in a short period of time after the initial situation had blown over leaving you to learn from your errors and apply your newfound wisdom to future situations. In this day and age, our mistakes are documented and are never forgotten with many malicious minded people dragging up the past any chance they get. We live in a society that loves to see the worst in people and talk badly about them for it. This not only stunts personal growth but it also has a detrimental effect on people's mentality, especially teenagers who are struggling to fit in and find their identity as it is.

Karen M. McManus recognises this issue and uses it as a recurring theme throughout the novel which leads readers to question their own behaviour towards gossip and the mistakes of others.



Similarly to 'The Breakfast Club' our main protagonists in 'One Of Us Is Lying' all meet together in after school detention and are from different high school cliques falling into the categories of the beauty, the jock, the nerd and the bad boy. The only one who doesn't fit the generic American stereotype is Simon, and he's the only one who doesn't leave detention alive.

After Simon's sudden death, police involvement is pretty much imminent and it is quickly revealed that his death was no accident. With Simon's app About That, threatening to spill the deepest secrets of his four classmates, it becomes apparent that they all have reason for wanting him dead.

They all wanted him out of the picture, but which one of them is lying?

The novel is told in parts and is told from the perspectives of all four students who are being questioned for the murder of Simon. This allows the reader to see different angles of the narrative and piece together the information shared by each character in order to paint a more detailed picture.


Though targeted at a young adult audience, One Of Us Is Lying is a compelling mystery novel that tackles a variety of social issues such as mental health, self-harm, bullying, dysfunctional families, sexuality, alcoholism and drug abuse and so much more.Each subject is handled candidly which not only offers a more realistic account of each situation but it also offers some vital education to the reader.

Karen M. McManus has created characters who on the surface seem to fit with traditional stereotypes but upon closer inspection they are much more three dimensional that one would have originally expected. This too brings a more adult friendly atmosphere to the novel making it an enjoyable read for everyone.

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As an added bonus to this fantastic read, it was confirmed at the end of last year that fans of One Of Us Is Lying will see this exceptional novel transformed into a TV series.

If you are a fan of The Breakfast Club, Pretty Little Liars and murder mystery novels, then this book needs to be on your book shelf. You won't regret it, promise!

If you have read this novel then I would love to hear your thoughts, feelings and opinions in the comments section below!

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© 2018 BunnyClaws


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