One of Us is Lying Book Review

5.6Original, Problematic, Harmful
I liked the fact there were 4 protagonists in the book, and while they were basically cardboard cut-out stereotypes of teenagers, they were contrasting enough to make each of their narratives interesting. I do have to admit that I did find myself getting confused with whose perspective I was reading as 4 characters is quite a few to jump between, but if you make a bit of an effort to remind yourself, it didn’t impede the storytelling.

Given the outrage at the show Thirteen Reasons Why and its abhorrent mishandling of mental health representation, I think One of Us is Lying sits in the same boat. It was an enjoyable book and I appreciate the author’s attempt to make it complex, but I don’t think there’s been proper consideration for the impact it could have on someone reading it and the way it villanises mental health.
Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Type: Fiction
Published: 2017
Pages: 358
TW: Suicide, Forced Outing, Homophobia, Alcoholism and drug abuse, Infidelity, Gas Lighting, Controlling Relationships, Self Harm, Mentions of School Shootings, Slut Shaming
Upon writing this review, it dawned on me quite how many trigger warnings there are – it’s a book filled to the brim with triggering (and in some places problematic) content. So if you have been thinking of reading this, I would make sure you consider my (and other reviewers’) content warnings before picking the book up.

“I guess we’re almost friends now, or as friendly as you can get when you’re not one hundred percent sure the other person isn’t framing you for murder.”

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Review overview




This book is marketed as a thriller, and while I understand that it involves a suspected murder and threats to reveal secrets, I’m not sure it actually felt like one. With the exception of a scene towards the end of the book, I felt more shock and sympathy than suspense and fear while reading. And again, going back to the content warnings, I think some of the plot was used as a way to make the book more ‘thrilling’ when in actual fact, that is the reality for real people, and so I think could have been handled with a little more consideration.

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