The Breakfast Club meets Gossip Girl in this fast-paced teen murder mystery.
Five high school students are given detention when phones are discovered in their bags by a teacher notorious for searching gym bags before lessons. One of the students, Simon, runs a gossip App called About That, making him the most hated kid at school. What makes him so dangerous is that the rumours he reports always turn out to be true.
The other four could have come straight from The Breakfast Club. Bronwyn is an A-student planning on going to Yale. Cooper is the resident baseball star. Popular Addy is dating the hottest guy in school. Nate is a bad boy on probation for dealing drugs.
The five soon realise someone set them up, but their teacher, Mr Avery, isn’t buying the planted cellphone theory. When Simon realises his water bottle is missing, no one thinks anything when he goes to fetch a glass of water from the sink at the back of the room.
The silence is broken by sounds of a car collision in the parking lot and Mr Avery rushes out to see if anyone is hurt. Then Simon is on the floor, convulsing. His EpiPen is missing, and none can be found in the Nurse’s office.
Simon is dead before the day ends. The Coroner’s report confirms that someone put peanut oil in his water cup. The only suspects are the other four students that were in detention that day. Then police discover that the last unpublished post on Simon’s laptop was going to reveal the deepest secrets of the four in question.
Each chapter is written from the perspective of these four students. They come from different worlds, but it soon becomes clear that they all have something in common – their lives are far from perfect and they all have something to hide.
These first-person accounts keep the momentum going as things go from bad to worse for the four. The world turns against them, and Bronwyn rallies the unlikely group together to find out what really happened. The beautiful and seemingly vacant Addy gets the worst of it as she falls to the bottom of the social ladder. Surprisingly, she is the character I ended up rooting for the most. She shows exceptional strength of character as she tries to turn her life around after losing everything.
This is the type of classic high school thriller that reminded me of the R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike novels I devoured as a teenager. (References to 4Chan and Tumblr set this one firmly in the here and now.) Revelations explode from the pages without warning, and the author expertly leaves a few red herrings along the way, which make the final reveal all the more unexpected. One of Us is Lying is a compulsive page-turner. It’s written with skill and honesty that gives it an authenticity that’s so crucial in young adult fiction.
It’s well worth devoting an entire afternoon to.
See more of my LEGO stories here.