Book Reviews

Book Review: One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

Note: There may be spoilers in this review.

I haven’t actually known that there would be a sequel to One of Us is Lying until a week or two ago and I can’t be happier that there was. I was a little skeptical about reading this in the beginning because of how well One of Us is Lying finished and closed up, but I was surprised at how good it was. It continues right from the end of the first book, but it has a much larger focus on a new cast of characters. The plot, while based off of the original book, was different enough to be intriguing and interesting.

What I liked:

First of all, the whodunit plot of this book was really good. It essentially follows the students at Bayview the school year after One of Us is Lying. There are new “copycat gossip apps” inspired by Simon, but nothing big happens until someone new implements a new game of Truth or Dare. This shakes the entire school, even causing someone to die. The plot of the book follows the main cast tracking down who this person really is. There were so many times where I have suspected someone to be the Truth or Dare maker, only to change my mind a couple pages later. While the plot-twist at the end surprised me, it wasn’t random enough to not make sense. It worked out in a way that I actually understood and was able to reason through.

I also loved the cast in this book. There are a few mentions of the original cast from One of Us is Lying, but they are minor and allow the new characters to really shine. For the most part though, the book focuses on Phoebe, Maeve, and Knox. There are such good new characters and I connected with them right away. They seemed so real and the relationships between them and the other characters in the books really helped push the plot of the story. I also liked how Maeve was related to Brownyn, as it helped connect the characters and plots of One of Us is Lying to One of Us is Next.

Additionally, I liked the dynamics between the characters and their families. Phoebe’s disjointed family (with her father who had passed away) and the fact that they could “never be close again” was interesting to read about, and it was meaningful knowing where she came from. The fact that her father’s death connected to the story was definitely an interesting aspect that I wouldn’t have guessed. I also liked Knox and his role in the family business. His relationship with his father developed and grew throughout the story, and it was heartwarming that their relationship ended up bettering towards the end (after Knox’s injury).

What I Didn’t Like:

I didn’t really like any of the romantic relationships that formed towards the end of the story. The kiss with Knox and Phoebe felt slightly out of place, even with them bonding as friends prior to that. Also, while I didn’t especially like Maeve’s relationship with Luis, it wasn’t necessarily horrible. I liked that her getting closed to him required reflection on her part, and added to who she was as a character.

Overall, it was a really good book and I’m pretty sad it’s over. It was so intriguing trying to figure out who started the Truth or Dare app and all the plot twists were incredible. I would recommend this to anyone who loves whodunit novels (there really aren’t enough out there) that will leave you with suspense until the very end. Personally, I don’t usually go for young adult fiction novels (I’m more of a fantasy person), but I can honestly say that this is one of my few exceptions that I am glad about.

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