March 15

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One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus: An Intricate Puzzle That’s Both Fun and Thoughtful – Review by Cynthia Webb

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus is an incredibly intriguing puzzle of a mystery.  Five students are in detention the afternoon that Simon, creator of a notorious gossip app, dies.  He has been exposed to peanut oil and he’s highly allergic.  Not only that, but his epi-pen is missing and so are all of the epi-pens stored in the nurse’s office.  An accident, a suicide… or murder? The twists and turns of the plot, told from the points of views of the four surviving student/suspects, will keep even a seasoned mystery reader on edge.

 

The cardboard stereotypes at the beginning of the book — the brain, the beauty, the criminal, and the athlete—grow into real people through the course of the book.  And, of course, each of them has a secret.

 

The plot goes a little over-the-top at the end, but this is a great fun of a read, while sharing some thoughtful commentary on human nature, particularly the high school variety.

 

This is definitely a book that will interest readers outside the circle of mystery lovers.

 

Cynthia Webb is the Upper Elementary and Middle School Director at Hamilton Park Montessori School in Jersey City, New Jersey, as well as an English and Humanities teacher. She have written mysteries and thrillers and am a great lover of books of all kinds.