One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus


Pay close attention and you might solve this. On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. And I thought I was going to through most of the book. But I simply can’t due to too many factors. It’s so disapointing how things turned out and I wish this book picked a different route to go down, cause then it could have been amazing. Trigger warning include suicide, graphic mentions of suicide, emotionally abusive relationship, horrible mental illness rep, bad queer rep.

After finishing this book I was angry. I’m still angry. The mental illness rep in this book was terrible. I don’t think I can even call it representation cause it certainly wasn’t that. I hate how mental illness was portrayed in this book. It was toxic and exactly what I, and maybe a lot of people, don’t need. Ever.

Simon plans a whole big plot to frame the Addy, Nate, Bronwyn, and Cooper for murder because he was depressed. He was participating in a chat about horrible things because he was depressed. It was specifically mentioned that he was the way he is because of he was depressed. That is freaking terrible. Use that plotline and make his reasoning different, but do not use depression as the explanation. Almost all people who suffer from depression don’t even think of doing something like that. And the people who do are the extreme outliers, not the norm. Just… I can’t get over it.

And then Nate’s emotional trauma is completely ignored at the end of the book. He simply gets over it and we see nothing about how. It’s typical “oh I love you I made a mistake” YA trope. He obviously needed help and support and he got none of that and was magically fine? We get to see nothing of his recovery? Are you kidding me?

And the end was completely unsatisfying. I just… ends. There is no wrap up for any of the characters. I wanted each of them to say their piece and how their coping. But that doesn’t happen.

A queer character was used as a plot point. Cooper is outed and his sexuality is hidden to move the plot forward and created ‘mystery’. Yeah, I’m so not on board with that.

With all that piled on top of each other, I can’t even recognize the things I liked about the book. It washes it all away. It’s really, really upsetting since I loved the story. I loved the characters and I loved the writing. The story was so intricately weaved and it was awesome how suspicion was cast on literally everybody. I just can’t forget how awful everything else was though.

In the end, this book left me a muddled mess of emotions and not in a good way. I can’t really articulate how I feel about this book other than I’m livid about how mental illness was portrayed. I’m just super bummed about how this book turned out.

Thank you for reading!

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