Five kids walk into detention, but only four walk out alive. Simon dies of an allergic reaction to peanut oil, but who slipped it into the cup he was drinking from? What brought those other four students together in the first place? Why do the police think that one of them must have murdered Simon? What secrets are they all keeping? Those are some of the questions Karen McManus grapples with in the YA breakfast club meets murder mystery novel One of Us is Lying.
Five students walk into detention: Addie, Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Simon. Soon, Simon is dead on the floor of an allergic reaction and the other four are being looked at as suspects. You see, Simon ran a Gossip Girl style app/website where he posted people’s secrets: who they were cheating with, their latest party escapades, etc. So when the police find damaging secrets about each of the other four students on Simon’s back-end of the app, not yet published and now destined to never see the light of day, things get tricky. Someone’s not the Straight A student they claim to be. Someone cheated on the significant other they claim to love. Someone’s selling drugs to get by, and someone’s sports career is about to be shattered. The clock is ticking. Someone’s going to have to answer for Simon’s death, but it might not be who you expect.
Before listening to this book, I had heard a lot of mixed reviews. Few people claimed it was a fast paced thriller. While I won’t claim I knew 100% sure how it ended from the get-go, I had suspected that for a moment and wasn’t surprised when it wrapped up at the end. On the topic of wrapping up, why do so many mystery novels have a scene in which one character spills the details of everything to another? So unrealistic and unsettling. Give me hints over time! I definitely think the ending made sense in this case and was an intriguing story line, but I wish it hadn’t been wrapped up so neatly in one scene.
This book is more than just a book about a death in detention. It’s about finding love in unexpected places and family relationships and coming out and becoming your own person and yes, death in detention, and how gossip, even when true, can ruin lives. Overall, I enjoyed this book enough. It’s not a new favorite or instant classic, but it did what it set out to do. My favorite part was probably the alternating narrators who let us see the story from every angle, though the initial premise is also fun to work with.