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ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M McManus

Five high school students wind up in detention under suspicious circumstances. When the teacher has to leave the classroom for a moment, one of them will die, leaving the other four as murder suspects. Who is lying? Is anyone telling the truth?

I don’t read a ton of YA lit, but I always enjoy a good story, regardless of which genre in which it happens to be categorized. This one had lots of positive reviews and one of the hosts of the Currently Reading podcast (whose taste often seems to align with mine) read and enjoyed it so I decided to give it a shot.

The results, for me, are mixed. I had GREAT fun reading the first half of the book. I am not the kind of reader who actively tries to figure out whodunnit in any context; I do, however, try to organize information in my head as I go along. Unfortunately, halfway through the book a clue was dropped which immediately revealed to me what had actually happened in the detention classroom. After that, it wasn’t very enjoyable and I kind of slogged through the second half just to finish it, hoping I could recover my initial sense of fun with the read. That didn’t happen for me. The information thrown out to the reader after that point to try and suggest alternate conclusions just seemed ridiculous and much of the main characters’ stories became more about the melodramatic, romantic feelings of teenagers. (I want to point out here that my taste here is not due to being much older than a teenager–the same content annoyed me when I was a teenager.)

That said, I don’t know if–had I read this as a teenager–that same clue would have actually revealed the whole story for me. I have no way of knowing one way or the other, but I suspect it would not have been as obvious to me. For this reason and because I really did enjoy the first half of the story I will be recommending One of Us Is Lying to young (and older) readers who like the YA genre and ask for a good recommendation.


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