Back in 2017 Karen M. McManus published her debut novel One of Us is Lying, a YA thriller that took four, stereotypical teenagers stuck in detention together and threw them into the centre of a murder investigation where they’re all suspects.
I remember this book being all over the book-esphere, you genuinely couldn’t escape it and I ended up reading it in March of 2018 and loved it! There was something so addictive about the writing and the mystery, same goes for McManus’ sophomore novel: Two Can Keep a Secret.
After loving her first two books I vowed to keep up with all her future releases … and then didn’t. I’m three behind: One of Us is Next, The Cousins, and You’ll Be the Death of Me.
I’m here to fix that today because I’m reading One of Us is Next and then I’m gonna dive straight into You’ll Be the Death of Me. Exciting! Not gonna be reading and reviewing The Cousins anytime soon because I don’t have a copy but maybe I’ll do another joint review when the next McManus book comes out.
One of Us Is Next
*this is a sequel so possible spoilers for One of Us is Next”
One of Us is Next is actually the sequel to One of Us is Lying. It’s set a year after the events of the first book when the new craze at Bayview High is a twisted game of Truth or Dare: do the Dare or have a Truth revealed to the entire school.
While this is a sequel, it doesn’t follow the same main character, instead at the centre of the story is Phoebe, Knox and Maeve who is actually Bronwyn’s sister. Whenever a sequel follows different characters I get nervous, worried I won’t like them as much but I quickly warmed up to these guys.
My favourite thing about this book was seeing the aftermath from the first book. We learn about the attempts at copycats, we see how the students react to the game after knowing how something similar ended last time, how the town has changed and, of course, we check in on the OGs (that’s what I’m gonna call Nate, Bronwyn, Addy and Cooper – it’s easier)
When it came down to the OGs I specifically liked how their life wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t a case of “they made it through their book so they get to live happily ever after forever”, they’re still going through the ups and downs of life.
I am happy to say that my fictional crush on Nate Macauley is still going strong even though he had a very limited role in this book.
Overall this book had twists and turns down to the last page (I gasped). It kept me entertained for hours. Literally. I read it in one day. As soon as my friend cancelled our plans I was in bed with a cup of tea where I stayed til like 2 am.
I’m very excited for the third book despite the fact that I only just learned of it’s existence. Mildly heartbroken it doesn’t come out til 2023.
Ok now I can finally start You’ll Be the Death of Me. Been thinking about starting it all day but wanted to wait til my first review was written so I didn’t get my wires crossed. Fingers crossed I enjoy it just as much.
You’ll Be the Death of Me
This is irrelevant but I just want it out there that I really like the title’s of McManus’ books.
You’ll Be the Death of Me follows three friends who drifted apart when they started high school but are brought back together via a murder. Wholesome stuff. Ivy, Matteo and Cal really choose the wrong day to twag off school when they find themselves at the scene of their classmates murder.
Unlike One of Us is Lying, this is not set in the Bayview series (is that what it’s called?) but I do like to think all of these books are set in the MCU – McManus Cinematic Universe.
Before I start this review fully, I have to put it out there that I chose the title for this post before writing the reviews. Despite me saying “Karen M. McManus doesn’t disappoint” … I was quite disappointed by this book 😶
My expectations started dipping quite early on when I just wasn’t feeling as invested as drawn in as I was hoping too. I felt like the set up and the initial murder felt very clunky and some of the characters actions in the beginning made me think “wow we’re really throwing common sense out of the window here”.
I will say that this book shakes things up from McManus’ normal structure. For one thing it takes place over the course of one day. For another, it’s got some more serious topics at it’s centre. The high school gossip which has become a classic aspect of these books in my opinion, kind of takes a backseat. It’s still present but not as much. Instead the main mystery feels a bit more mature and serious which comes into play early on with the revelation of a student-teacher relationship.
Overall I wasn’t blown away by this book as much as I hoped and expected to be. I did end up enjoying the final … 170 or so pages when the pace picked up. My Monster Energy drink kicked in many hours too late so I ended up reading the last 2/3’s of this book until half 3 in the morning which shows it wasn’t too bad.
This was fun! I really enjoyed both of these books, obviously one more then other but I still had a good time.
My next goal is to actually get around to watching the One of Us is Lying adaptation. All the episodes seem to be out now so it’s finally time. Has anyone watched it yet? What did you think?
As always I’d love to know your thoughts and feelings on these books, or any other McManus book you’ve read. Thanks for reading :))