Delacourt Press/ Random House 2017
One Monday afternoon, five kids walk into detention in Mr. Avery’s science room. They’re not friends; they’re not even the usual suspects. Branwyn is the brainy, uber involved mathlete who has never had detention before. Cooper’s headed for baseball fame, if his father has anything to say about it. Addy’s the gorgeous girlfriend of the quarterback and hangs with the popular crowd. Nate’s the school’s dealer and all around bad boy. Simon’s the inventor of the gossip app that’s plaguing the school.
Every one of them got bagged for carrying a cell phone into science class, and every one of them swears that they’ve never seen that phone before. But before long, they’ve got a lot more to worry about than some illegal cell phones because before long one of them is dead and the rest? They are at the top of the list of suspects for the murder of their classmate Simon.
McManus has written an engaging Agatha Christie style mystery. Set in a modern high school, four appealing characters battle the expectations of their families, the cut throat social pressures of their peers, and the unpredictability of a murder investigation. Their most hidden secrets come out, making them pariahs among their peers and causing discord with their families. Against the advice of their lawyers, the remaining four tentatively build a friendship and work their way through the tangle of events that led to Simon’s being wheeled out on a stretcher and never coming back.
This mystery was a great read! Not only was it filled with the angst and social pressures of senior year of high school, but the story beautifully reflected the tightrope of senior year. Pressure comes from everywhere: parents, teachers, friends, college choices. When you add being investigated as a murder suspect? It’s a wonder they don’t all blow to pieces. Instead, in the most satisfying way each character seems to embrace the pressure, and rather than allowing it to blast them to pieces, each character instead grows stronger and begins to mold themselves into the adult they will soon be.
I was lucky enough to win an ARC of One of Us Is Lying on Twitter. I was drawn into the story from word one and read it in one weekend. It comes out May 30th. I will definitely look for more books from Karen McManus in the future.