One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

Image of the front cover of the kindle ebook edition of One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus. The cover features the title and authors name and also the tag line 'a geek, a jock, a criminal and a princess. Who Would You Believe?' in a handwritten font. At the top of the cover is a pencil drawing of four teenagers from the waist down. To the left is a title that reads 'review, One of us is lying by Karen M McManus,

I'd heard a lot of glowing reviews for Karen McManus' work and downloaded the first one, One Of Us Is Lying eager to begin. Upon seeing the front cover and the tagline 'A Geek. A Jock. A Criminal. A Princess. Who Would You Believe?' I thought it sounded like a cheesy American teen novel so I left it for the best part of a year before picking it up again to read and I am so pleased that I got over the somewhat trashy front cover as this book is actually a very well written and cleverly thought out murder mystery.  So good in fact that a television series is currently in production. So what made this teen fiction such a good read?

Firstly, the key characters are far more likeable than they sound on the front cover. I expected stale, cliched stock characters but the characters have depth and personalities that grow and change throughout the book. The secrets they keep are somewhat generic and predictable but that doesn't distract from how likeable they are. 

The plot appears to follow a Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit. Five students in detention. One dies. No-one else entered the room so surely the killer is one of the remaining four students? It's a plot full of twists and turns but isn't necessarily fast paced. There were a few chapters in the middle of the book that made it feel like it was dragging but once more details began to be uncovered the pace picked up again.

The motive/possible motives for murder are intriguing. I like that they capture the digital and social media aspects of current society though these references may age the story more quickly. The overall conclusion is satisfying and logical and though it's hinted at throughout the novel it isn't blindingly obvious. There are still enough red herrings to keep you guessing. 

Though it's a murder mystery it is also predominately a teen fiction book and has the typical burgeoning romances, unlikely heroes and social hierarchy associated with teen life. This didn't irritate me as much as I thought it would, possibly because the characters are developed to be likeable. I was rooting for the key characters throughout most of the book. It is also set in an American high school which I thought I may struggle with but the writing is clear and avoids the talk of 'grades' and 'bases' that typically confuse me about American culture. 

Will I be watching the TV adaptation? Almost certainly not. I've seen some of the cast and they don't fit with my versions of the characters and I've a sneaky suspicion it's going to be 'overdone' in terms of suspense and drama. Will I be reading the next instalment of this series? Absolutely. I was very surprised to find there is a sequel as the ending felt complete and unquestionable. I'm very interested in seeing how the plot continues. 

 Thanks For Reading 

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