ONE OF US IS LYING
One of Us Is Lying is flat-out addictive. Every chapter goes by at a rapid-fire pace; suddenly the reader is halfway through the book and dying to get to the end. At first the characters seem like high-school stereotypes — the jock, Miss Popular, the brainiac and the slacker — but behind closed doors, each one has a profound backstory that’s as fascinating to unravel as the mystery itself. McManus doesn’t let her story fall into any clichéd melodrama. Instead, she weaves an authentic, suspenseful mystery that readers can imagine taking place at their very own high school.
After getting caught with phones in class, Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, Nate and Simon report to detention. Each student says the phone found in their backpack isn’t theirs — someone must have framed them as a prank. A few minutes after their teacher steps out to tend to an emergency, Simon takes a sip of water from the classroom sink and falls to the ground. He’s having an allergic reaction, but the nurse’s office is startlingly out of EpiPens. Later that afternoon, Simon is pronounced dead. How did a large dose of peanut oil end up in his cup? Soon the police get intel that Simon was planning to publish juicy secrets about Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper and Nate on his notorious gossip blog. Secrets that could ruin their lives. Now everyone thinks the last four people to see Simon conscious are responsible for his death. (DELACORTE, Jun., 368 pp., $17.99, HC, 14 & Up)