Saturday, 3 March 2018

Book Review: One of us is Lying

It feels like I’ve been loving YA recently and honestly; that’s not a bad thing at all! There are so many amazing pieces of work out there in the YA genre and this one of the best that I’ve read so far. There are five teenagers all stuck in detention, yet whilst they’re in the room, one of them dies. The question is, how, and who? Typically, no one points fingers at the teacher, yet everyone seems to pick on each of the teenagers, desperate to have answers and find out whodunnit. The dead teen is a notorious gossip, known at the school for writing nasty and vindictive blog posts on an app about other students. The four teenagers who survived detention each have a secret, and each of them fits the stereotypical American teen mould; a geek, a jock, a criminal and a princess. This book is addictive from the get go, with events constantly happening, from page to page. One of the things that I absolutely loved about this novel was the characterisation; it took a few chapters to start understanding who was who as there were so many characters, but once the foundations were in place it was interesting to see how certain characters developed, particularly as many of them fitted into a stereotype at the start of the novel, but they evolved as the novel progressed. 

The writing style of using multiple narrators through diary entries works really well, particularly as the four narrators are the four accused students. It was a great way to see into their minds as well as the outside world from their point of view. From the cover artwork, to the blurb and finally the eventual text, this was a completely addictive read as you were constantly focused on guessing the truth of Simon's death; an unlucky accident, or cold-blooded murder? Due to his reputation as a cut throat gossip, it is no wonder that the police are convinced that it was murder, but the real questions are how, who and why. Simon was hated by so many students, but the four students who were with him in detention that day all have their own secret that they would be desperate to hide from the world. Simon never mentions names in his posts, but initials; just enough of a detail to guarantee that everyone will know exactly who he is talking about. The four students speculate between themselves why they got detention for having phones when the phones they found in their bags weren't their phones; who planned to get them all in one place and where they all simply there on purpose? The novel looks at all possible angles, with the narrative voice giving insight into each of the four students in turn, with just enough information given to make you wonder endlessly who was the culprit. Who was reckless enough to murder another student.

The writing style of diary entries worked really well as it allowed the reader to see the story from different points of view; however this also made it difficult to ascertain which one of the students could've been the murderer. That said, I loved that it was hard to determine what was going on, but I wish that there had been more of an angle from the Police's line of inquiry, especially as they seemed to be so inept. This book covered a range of topics across its pages, including sexuality, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, relationships amongst many others. To begin with, the characters do seem quite on-dimensional but as their personalities formed they became not only more realistic, but more likeable (or not, depending on which character you focus on). I liked that not a single character was perfect; they each had a flaw that added to the plot; Addy and Nate definitely had the most character development and growth of the four students, with Cooper and Bronwyn seemingly more interested in their careers and futures but the foursome's relationship does increase a lot during the accusations, which was also pleasant to see, rather than fighting and blaming each other.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book; it was almost impossible to put down due to its fast paced writing style and interesting plot. Until the characters were fully developed, it was a little confusing to work out who was the narrator at one time; to start with the narrative style was very similar. That was a slight irritation, but as the chapters did state the name, date, time and location of the narrator that was something to just sit back and flow along with. After a few chapters, once personalities and ideas started flowing, the book flowed with more ease. I love a book that constantly forces you to guess what is going on, or who the culprit may be and this book doesn't stop doing it; even the ending was a surprise regardless of the fact that I'd guessed it, as the book wasn't solely about Simon's death; it was about growth. Growing up, finding yourself, supporting other people were key aspects to the narrative that didn't involve that detention and what had happened to Simon. It's a memorable book for me; it's one that I've already recommended to friends and I simply enjoyed it, I liked the unpredictability of the characters and the plot and I also liked that it wasn't a stereotypical high school novel, there was much more to the whole book than meets the eye. It's an easy 5 stars from me, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA fiction.

1 comment:

  1. I'm on the look out for a new book and this sounds great! I love books that are fast past xx

    Jasmine |


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