Who Killed Simon?


Everyone has secrets. Whether the whole world knows them or only you are privy to them. What would you do if your deepest secret was about to be revealed? How far would you go to keep it hidden? 

It was an average day at Bayview High in San Diego when five students went into detention, but only four made it out alive. Simon Kelleher was notorious for About That, the school gossip blog where once a week he would release his fellow students’ deepest darkest secrets. It just so happens that he lands up dead in detention with four murder suspects who are going to have their secrets publicized in his next blog. All eyes are on them. There is no way Addy the beauty, Bronwyne the brain, or Cooper the athlete, could ever commit this crime. All signs point to Nate, the criminal, who is already on probation for drug dealing…or do they? Welcome to the mystery of One Of Us Is Lying. 

One Of Us Is Lying is author Karen M. McManus’ first book, and has topped the charts for the past couple of weeks. As a first book, McManus has amazed me in the way she makes the characters feel so real. It felt as if I am their friend watching the story unfold. This novel is a murder mystery, so I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. One of my favorite aspects about the book is how much misdirection there is. There are points in the novel where I have wanted to throw my book across the room because of how misleading parts are. This can be seen when Nate says, “I’m so sick of it all, I could kill somebody” (95). This clever misdirection makes us think he’s admitted to wanting to kill somebody and so we think that he is the murderer. As the novel evolves it can be seen if it is really him or not. The moment I thought I figured out who the murderer is, there was a complete twist that threw me off completely. 

Simon thinks that all the protagonists are bland and that there is not much to them. He even compares them to cliche movie characters when he says, “You’re all walking teen-movie stereotypes” (11). I tend to disagree with Simon’s opinion. All the characters became real to me and I thought that they were all so complex in their own way. I became close to the characters, especially Nate. I felt really heartsore for him since everyone suspected that he was the murderer. I also felt sad for him when I found out about his home life and his background. Nate never had anyone to rely on. He was always by himself. As the novel progresses and as he and Bronwyn become closer, he starts to open up. He starts to show and express his emotions and people begin to see that he is not just a “criminal”. This can be shown when Nate is talking to Bronwyn about their relationship and he says, “I never really had anybody, you know? I didn’t get how stuff like this works. That you can’t pretend you don’t give a crap and it’s done” (355). 

On the other hand, the one thing about this book that I do wish I could change was the pacing of the book. Halfway through I found the book to be quite boring because I did not feel like the storyline was leading anywhere. There were pointless conversations and parts when I asked myself why this was relevant. I felt as if McManus was adding pointless information to prolong the book. I was very happy, though, when the book started to pick up the pace again. 

This book is definitely for high schoolers, specifically teenagers from thirteen to eighteen years old. If you are a fan of murder mysteries and thrillers, with a splash of romance, then One Of Us Is Lying is definitely for you. If you wind up loving the book as much as I do, you might end up reading the other two books in her trilogy. The second book is One Of Us Is Next and the last is Two Can Keep A Secret. These novels will have new characters, with new storylines that are related to the characters in One of Us Is Lying. Overall, I give One Of Us Is Lying four out of five stars. Will you pick this novel up? Do you want to know who killed Simon? We all have secrets. What are yours?

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash