I recently read the New York Times bestselling novel, One of Us is Lying, and I wholeheartedly agree with the reviews above about the novel. The book is a fast-paced, read-in-one-sitting crime thriller about four students — Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper — who are stuck in detention and witness the untimely, yet suspicious murder of Simon, the outcast who created their school’s infamous gossip site and had dirt on every single one of the main characters.
What I Liked About One of Us is Lying
I and many others are suckers for the cliche, cheesy romance tropes. Specifically, the “bad boy falls for the good girl” plot, which is shown in the book. Bronwyn, the rich, Colombian, Yale-bound nerd, falls for Nate, the drug-dealing criminal on probation with the broken home life. Their relationship develops from them reuniting in detention after years of not speaking to one another to Nate confessing his love for her in the prologue (okay, maybe that’s a tiny exaggeration, but you get the point.) Their romance adds a necessary lighthearted element to this semi-dark crime novel.
Another interesting aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the different point of views in each chapter. In almost every major circumstance in One of Us is Lying, the readers receive perspectives from the four main characters. In chapter one, we get Bronwyn’s and Cooper’s perspective on Monday, September 24 at 2:55 and 3:05 PM, which is the day of Simon’s alleged murder. This immediately sets the tone for the rest of the book. And the story gets even more compelling when the detention mates become suspects when it is revealed that Simon prepared a blog post leaking dirty secrets about them. Getting the conflicting perspectives from each student, without overwhelming the reader, is the most respectable feature of this book.
Now, the best part of One of Us is Lying is the part where the gang figures out who murdered Simon. SPOILER: Simon killed Simon. The core four manage to get information from Simon’s only friend, Janae, who says that Simon was a depressed boy with a crude and violent mindset. When he was alive, he would post on the dark web about how school shooters and mass murderers need to get more creative with their evil acts. So, knowing that no one liked him, Simon decided to commit suicide with a bang, dragging Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper with him. Especially Nate, since he was arrested with his murder by the time his true plans were discovered. And that’s not even the strangest part. Addy’s boyfriend, Jake, was in on it the whole time, continuing Simon’s work post-mortem. Simon had written a sick, twisted manifesto that was supposed to be published one year after his so-called homicide. This plot twist was not only shocking, but it made sense. Simon spent the majority of his high school life tormenting the kids at his high school, it would only make sense for him to do something as perverted as frame four people for his murder in a revenge-suicide.
What I Disliked About One of Us is Lying
Despite the rave about this book, I will admit there are some details of this book that I don’t like. The first thing is Cooper’s coming out plot. Yeah, that’s right, one of the main characters is gay. And the only issue with that is, it was more climactic than Simon’s revenge-suicide-murder reveal. The concept behind Simon’s death was fascinating, but the execution was not. It was Cooper’s boyfriend, Kris, who pointed out that the only other person in the room who could’ve hurt Simon was Simon. But when I was reading that chapter, there wasn’t any suspense or build-up leading up to that. It was literally just a random guy pointing out a simple fact. Cooper’s coming out story was fine, but there’s no reason for that to be better written than the main and most important plot of the story — Simon’s demise.
Another detail that I noticed was the misogyny in Addy’s perspectives. The secret that Simon was going to leak was that Addy hooked up with another boy while she was drunk and still in a relationship with Jake. And when word of that got out, the slut-shaming started. So-called “friends” of Addy’s harassed and degraded her, but you know who did the exact same thing and didn’t get hate for it? Cooper. Not only was Cooper secretly gay, but he had a boyfriend while he was dating a girl for about half the story. Cooper was in a secret and intimate relationship with Kris for months and he didn’t feel guilty about cheating on his girlfriend, but he was never berated for it. Instead, the popular homecoming princess, Addy, who felt remorse after cheating on Jake with his friend was alienated and even physically tormented by her fellow peers.
This books had its pros and cons (the pros outweighing the cons) and I give this book a score of:
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