This Review contains spoilers.
“I know what it’s like to tell yourself a lie so often that it becomes the truth.”
Published: 2017, by Penguin
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller, Romance, Crime, LGBT
Contains: Sexual Content, Death, Violence, Strong Language, Mentions of Suicide and Self-Injury, Slight Homophobia
‘One of Us is Lying’ follows the mystery of four students suspected of murder after victim, Simon, dies in detention. Their secrets begin to unfold as the investigation begins, from cheating in exams to drug dealing whilst the ‘Bayview Four’ are outcasted from friendship groups, singling them out as criminals.
I was initially uncertain as I began to read this book, the characters fitting so snug into their stereotypes and the book itself acknowledged this with Simon’s speech prior to his death;
“‘She’s a princess, and you’re a jock,’ he says. He thrusts his chin towards Bronwyn, then at Nate. ‘And you’re a brain. And you’re a criminal. You’re walking teen movie stereotypes.'” (Page 11)
This irritated me, having always hated the outdated cliche, and although it’s mentioned on the cover, I was hoping for something the different; maybe making the ‘criminal’ or ‘jock’ female, or something along those lines. However, as the story progressed the character development made up for the disappointing start.
The overall plot was beautifully played out from beginning to end, loving the overall mystery, and the reveal at the end was a small shock. I had my suspects, however, I was initially expecting the disappointment of Simon returning and revealing it was a hoax. – as horrible as it sounds, I was glad he actually died, having seen the other too many times.
Although, the eventual ending to Nate and Bronwyn’s relationship felt somewhat pointless to me. In Chapter 30, they break up, claiming to be leading different lives as Nate’s insecurities take over. However, in the next chapter – the epilogue – he turns up at her performance and asks for them to start new and try again. I’m aware that the epilogue is set three months later, however, having the events consecutively in the book makes it seem completely unnecessary; why make them break up if they’re speaking and creating hope for a relationship in the very next chapter?
Personally, Nate’s character was my favourite – I’m a sucker for a bad-ass outcast with a dark past. His one liners and depressing home life was the most interesting to learn about, and his gradual relationship with Bronwyn was heartfelt and what led me to continue the book. However, the best moment was when Cooper’s reputation crumbled, leaving him ridiculed by his peers in the cafeteria. Nate stepping up and being the only one to defend him was what made him my favourite character, as it was so un-Nate-like from the character we were initially introduced to and his development made the story for me.
Addy’s character, however, fell kinda flat – regardless of her progression towards the end of the book. Personally, I’m not a fan of the ‘princess’ stereotype and her popularity and boyfriend troubles didn’t interest me. Although, her relationship with her sister was sweet to read, the rest of her personality and struggles didn’t made me feel anything towards her character.
Overall, ‘One of Us is Lying’ is a great read; the majority of the characters are interesting and worth reading about, if you ignore the cliche’s, and the plot is enough to lure you to finish the book; regardless, of how ‘Pretty Little Liars’ like it is.
It would make a good Netflix series anyway.