One of Us is lying is the hotly anticipated new YA novel from Karen M McManus. The concept instantly intrigued me. Five students are all in detention when one of them dies. The other four are instantly under suspicion. One of the people in that room knows what happened but nobodies owning up.
The novel is a very very easy read, not because of the subject matter or the writing style but because it’s so interesting. A murder mystery for teen readers.
All of the students have a Secret which they wanted to keep quiet. There’s Nate who despite being on probation is still drug dealing. Bronwyn is super smart and heading for valedictorian or is she..? Cooper is the all star baseball player who goes out with the prettiest girl in school, but is she who he really wants to be with? And then there’s Addy, super pretty, popular and devoted to her boyfriend Jake but maybe being on the inside means she can’t see what’s going on.
Simon ran a gossip app, like Gossip Girl but doubly as cruel and he had secrets about all of the others that they wouldn’t want to come out.
The novel has plenty of twists and turns and suspicions jump from person to person so that even the reader doesn’t know who to trust. There’s the usual teen spats and bitchiness but with a darker undertone that I really loved.
I really enjoyed this book, it was perfect in a very different way to the usual YA storylines. It was well written and all the characters were likeable and engaging. I really loved one of the relationships which developed along the way although I won’t say who it is though as I like to avoid spoilers. What I will say though is that I loved, loved, loved, this book and everyone should read it!
I decided to purchase and read this book because I’d seen everyone talking about the Netflix series and I wanted to read it first.
Thirteen Reasons Why is the story of a teenage girl called Hannah Barker who kills herself. A week later Clay Jensen a teen boy who loved Hannah receives a package on his doorstep containing a bunch of cassette tapes which Hannah recorded before her death, to provide Thirteen Reasons Why Hannah was driven to do what she did.
For obvious reasons it’s a very emotive novel. Suicide, teen or otherwise is a trigger subject and very upsetting. I suppose I half expected it to be very dramatic, which it wasn’t.
But wait… that’s not a criticism, far from it. As someone who was bullied all the way through high school I understand what this book is trying to say, and what I hope is that other people do too. I hope this book and for those who don’t read, this series, achieve what it has set out to do. That is, the way that things which some people perceive to be ‘small’ or insignificant things, can really affect other people’s lives.
It highlights how bullying is more than just attacking people physically or verbally. How it can be small things like spreading a ‘little’ rumour, or stealing something which would have made that persons day.
But what this book is also about, is the people left behind. There is a lot of focus on blame but also on the things that the person themselves could have done differently, the way that Hannah towards the end almost sets herself up to make her life as terrible as possible in order to finalise her decision. It explores the complexity of the depressed mind and how reason can go out of the window when life becomes so terrible and you feel so alone. How one chain of events can cause you to make a decision about ending your life.
What I hope this book, and this series does is reminds people to be nice to other people because you don’t know how much that person needs just one smiling face in their day.