Review: One of Us is Lying
One of Us is Lying
This is the kind of book you’d binge watch. I mean seriously, it’s like everything you spend your hangover watching on a Sunday. If its not adapted then I’ll be the most surprised ever and I never say this because THE BOOK IS BETTER but this is crying out to be dramatized and that, it’s a compliment, it really is. I’ve seen it likened to The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale and YES. Also Gossip Girl and maybe a little bit Nancy Drew and Poirot – that’s just me though. Also, considering the The Breakfast Club is well, The Breakfast Club and PLL and Riverdale are both Netflix shows that I binge watched like a pro, it was probably a given that this book was going to tick all the boxes for me.
I loved it.
I also don’t think I’m going to be the only one. This book, I think, is going to go places. It’s going to be one of the hits of the year and if it isn’t – well, then you may colour me confused because it totally should because it’s not often that a book breaks out of the mould in the way this one does and delivers something that you just want to get your teeth into and sure, I am all about a good murder mystery but this was more than that.
I mean, it was that, and as a whodunit, it was very well done with twists and turns and red herrings aplenty, but it was also a really good character study and a pretty good portrayal of Life As A Teenager and it was cleverly and interestingly written and I liked it a whole bunch. I love how it takes the fact that it’s totally a stereotypical portrayal of all the things, tells you in the blurb that that is what it is so you can’t turn around later and say ‘oh look at the main characters, this book is like, sooo sterotypical’ because HELLO, it says that on the cover, and then sort of builds on those tropes. It knows what it is, and it just gets on with it; it makes being a stereotypical high school tale the foundations for a pretty clever WHO KILLED THAT BOY IN DETENTION.
Besides which give me a geek/bad boy side story any day. I’m totally here for that. Mostly because teenage me would’ve loved a hot bad boy to throw stones at my (attic, shut up, we are not discussing practicalities right now) window so that I would sneak out and snog him.
So these kids – brain, princess, jock, bad boy – are all framed for murder, they’re all in detention together, the four of them and another boy, and the other boy dies and they all say they’re being framed and it is delicious. They want to prove they’re not guilty, obvs, so they set up a murder club (they actually called it that also, amazing) to try and find out who actually did do the murdering, and it’s multiple POV which I adore if it’s done well - lots of times it is not done well and my heart gets sad -and here it is done well. V well. Also, they’re not really friends at the start, which I know, holy stating the obvious batman: jock, princess, brain, bad boy, of course they’re not besties, and that is what I loved about this – the way they’re so different and they’re thrown together by this fucked up series of events and I don’t know, just the way they grow, together and as a gang. I loved the character development.
It's also really…real, and by that I mean that nothing is perfect or happens as it should and these kids are flawed and messed up and kind of scrambling their way through life, there’s no hearts and flowers happy ending and everything isn’t tied up prettily with a little bow in the end, which well, ain’t that just true to real life.
There were flaws. This book, whilst it’s premise and execution for the most part pleased me greatly, was not without flaws: mostly I think the depiction of mental illness – it was a little bit iffy and HASHTAG UNPOPULAR OPINION I do think that sometimes we read too much into things and sometimes a story is just a story and we don’t have to analyse the hell out of it, but I also know that mental illness and the portrayal of it in the media is something that is problematic and I noticed some things here, I noticed some things and they niggled and they did impact on my enjoyment of the thing as a whole and it would be remiss of me I think to not say ‘oh hang on, that’s perhaps not the greatest’ and now I’m going to be the most annoying ever and not expand because expanding would give away VERY IMPORTANT PLOT POINTS and when you are reading a whodunit it’s important to not know these plot points and so sadly, and annoyingly I can’t tell you what my issue was, but I did have an issue, enough for me to still be thinking about it now and that’s a shame. It’s a minor niggle though because overall I would recommend this book to the whole world and really badly want it to go places. It’s got a hot bad boy who you also just want to love forever and good strong female characters; it’s got good story arcs and convincing growth and a narrative voice you can totally get behind; the writing is addictive and it’s pretty diverse and it will give you feels. So many of them. & it will more than likely keep you guessing and page turning like a good crime story should and I WISH I HAD READ THIS WHEN I WAS 17.
This book, mostly, was just so much fun.