One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus came from Miss S’s bookcase. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself intrigued by this murder mystery featuring five teenagers.
The story begins with Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, Addy and Simon attending after-school detention. All of them claimed to have been set up for punishment by an unknown person. While the teacher was out of the room Simon took a drink of water from the tap in the room and collapsed. One of the students recognised that Simon was having an allergic reaction but could not find Simon’s Epi-Pen amongst his belongings. The Epi-Pens in the nurses office had also vanished and Simon died.
The immediate investigation focussed on how Simon’s cup came to contain peanut oil and why the Epi-Pens had disappeared. As Simon was the creator of a gossip app that regularly exposed secrets about his schoolmates most of the student body had a reason to dislike him, but the police investigation soon discovered that the four students in detention with Simon had more particular reasons for wanting to kill him.
Bronwyn had cheated on her exams and exposure would have meant she was no longer a contender to attend Yale. Nate was risking jail by dealing drugs while on probation. Cooper was a baseball star whose pitching speed had sped up quickly enough for others to suspect he had been using steroids. The exposure of a past relationship threatened to derail Addy’s present relationship with her control-freak boyfriend.
Simon had somehow found out all of these secrets and had been about to post the details on his app for the whole school to read before he died.
I liked all of the characters, with the exception of Simon who was surprisingly venomous for a boy of his age. The remaining characters interacted well together and although they had made mistakes they had good hearts and I didn’t want any of them to be Simon’s killer. They reminded me of the mix of characters from The Breakfast Club (showing my age here) and before his death, Simon actually referred to himself and his fellow detainees as teen-movie stereotypes.
The only part of this story I didn’t like was how the mystery was resolved. The loose ends were tied up neatly enough but I felt that the reason why the perpetrator acted as they did was far-fetched. Regardless, I enjoyed One of Us Is Lying and can imagine this story being made into a successful movie.