#BookReview: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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About the Book

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

On Thursday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the bad boy, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the jock, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investi­gators, his death wasn’t an accident.

On Thursday, he died. But on Friday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts

I was thrilled when I was approved to read this book from NetGalley as it has such an intriguing premise. I loved the movie The Breakfast Club so for it to have comparisons to that gave me high hopes!

The opening chapters of this novel are really intense, they grabbed me immediately and had me wondering what was going to happen next. The novel is then told from each of the perspectives of the four students who survived detention – we gradually get to see what their lives are like and it seems that they all have a potential motive for killing their classmate.

I really enjoyed how the teenagers changed as the novel progressed; it was also nice to see how, even though they all hung around in different groups before Simon’s death, they began to look out for one another in the aftermath. It made it really interesting as a reader too because as you get to know more about their pasts, you grow to like them more and it adds to the suspense that you don’t know for sure who you can trust. I did have my suspicions early on about what had happened in detention, and I was right, but there was more to the story than I had figured out so there were still shocks in store as the novel moves on. I would say that while this book does have the element of suspense there is much more to it than that. It’s more about the people left behind who suspicion falls on and we get to see how they cope with being under such scrutiny.

I have to be honest though and say that I did struggle to follow this novel because the voices of the main characters were not distinct enough from each other. I kept having to flick back because I couldn’t remember whose chapter I was currently reading and it made this novel a slower read for me than it might have been. It’s a small criticism but it would be remiss of me not to mention it because it did affect my enjoyment of the novel to a degree. That said, I would still recommend this novel because aside from this issue everything else is great and very enjoyable.

I’m a lot older than the target audience for this book but I have to say that, in terms of plot, it was one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long while so there are definite positives to this novel and I will be looking out for whatever Karen McManus writes next.

One of Us is Lying is out now!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Karen McManus

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. Her debut young adult novel, ONE OF US IS LYING, will be released from Delacorte Press/Random House on May 30, 2017. It will also be published internationally in 18 territories including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia.

(Author Bio and Photo taken from Goodreads)

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#BookReview: Final Girls by Riley Sager @riley_sager ‏@EburyPublishing ‏

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About the Book

Each girl survived an unthinkable horror. Now someone wants them dead…
They were called The Final Girls.
Three young women who survived unimaginable horror. Three victims of separate massacres grouped together by the press. Three strangers bound by similar traumas.
Lisa. Quincy. Samantha.
When something terrible happens to Lisa, put-together Quincy and volatile Sam finally meet. Each one influences the other. Each one has dark secrets. And after the bloodstained fingers of the past reach into the present, each one will never be the same.

My Thoughts

I was drawn to this book when I first saw it being mentioned on social media – the cover is stunning and very striking, and when I read the synopsis I simply had to get my hands on it despite the fact that I’m a complete wimp and knew this book would unnerve me!

Final Girls is a novel about Quincy, a girl who was the lone survivor in a massacre at a secluded cottage in the woods. The novel starts ten years on from the massacre and Quincy appears to be putting the horrific trauma behind her – she has a successful baking blog and is in a happy relationship.

The Final Girls is a named coined by the media for the women who have each survived a massacre where everyone else was killed, basically after the girl who is always left standing at the end of teen horror movies.  Lisa was the first final girl, and she wrote a book about her experiences and since then has attempted to contact and support other people who have been through the same thing. The group consisted of Lisa and Samantha, and then when Quincy survives a massacre she becomes part of the group. She doesn’t want to join the actual group that Lisa has set up, but whether she likes it or not, she has been deemed a final girl. Quincy just wants to put what happened behind her – her memories of that traumatic night are buried and she doesn’t want to remember so she doesn’t want to talk about it or think about, she wants to take her meds and just move on. When Lisa comes to harm, Quincy is left reeling and in fear that something may happen to her too. This leads to her letting Sam into her life and from then on I was on edge. I didn’t trust Sam, I wasn’t even sure if Quincy was telling the truth about what happened. My brain was constantly mulling things over in the background trying to put it all together and work out what was going to happen.

The tension constantly ramps up throughout the book. I loved the way it was predominantly set in the present day but interspersed amongst that are short chapters leading up to the massacre where all Quincy’s friends were murdered. Quincy, under Sam’s influence starts behaving out of character and the stress of what happened to Lisa and the possibility of her memory of the massacre coming back lead to her acting out of character. It seems like she begins to lose her grip on what’s important in her life, and things start to spiral for her. She doesn’t have a support system in place and things start to turn ugly for her.

Once I got to the last quarter of the book I honestly felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was compelled to keep reading because I had to know what had happened in that house but I almost wanted to cover my eyes, if that makes sense. Sager gives a real sense of what it must have been like to be in that situation and terrified for your life and it’s hard to read, yet is impossible to look away from.

I had so many suspicions about various characters, and I had various scenarios running through my mind as I was reading, but I never quite figured out who was responsible. I only realised a couple of pages before it was revealed and I love that I couldn’t quite manage to work it all out before then. It’s not often that a book blindsides me but this one absolutely did.

This book is so dark and twisty, it’s addictive and compelling and utterly unputdownable! I literally started reading it early evening and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished reading at gone midnight! It genuinely gave me the creeps, I was really glad that I wasn’t home alone after I finished reading at night time!

Final Girls is due to be published on 11th July and can be pre-ordered now.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

In addition to writing, Riley enjoys reading, movies and baking.

Riley’s first novel, FINAL GIRLS, will be published in July in the United States, the United Kingdom and fourteen other countries around the world.

(Bio taken from: rileysagerbooks.com)