ONE OF US IS LYING - by Karen M. McManus

ONE OF US IS LYING - Karen M. McManus
Published: 2017 - by Penguin.
Genres: Young adult / thriller / contemporary / romance / drama
Pages: 360.
Format: Paperback.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Themes of sex, drug-use, and suicide.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it's no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you'll go to protect them.

Think Gossip Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why. And driven by the hype, I couldn't wait to read this book.
Although it didn't completely win me over, I still enjoyed it.

The writing isn't anything amazing, but it is addictive. It's absolutely compulsive reading - I literally couldn't breathe sometimes because I was so riveted. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It's overwhelmingly gripping, more-ish, and entertaining. The tension never stops climbing, and although the final climax didn't make me go "Wow!" the twists along the way certainly did. It's taut and unpredictable and kept me guessing.
Add to that the dark, creepy factor: The book is also incredibly chilling. I had this haunting coldness crawling down my spine for most of the book, and I love how there's this very real darkness to the story.

The whole high school setting is on point. So often I find that authors make it too stereotypical and forced, but I think McManus nails it in this book. It's utterly natural, and not cheesy or cliche at all.
But I wanted the story to be more juicy. And I blame the lack of that on the writing, which never gives that gossipy, juicy sort of vibe. The story's good, but the writing compromises its potential.
Another small negative regarding the story: I wanted more of a blow-out climax. It is cool and there's nice action, but I guess I wanted more physical fighting and with more of the characters involved. The way it is, it's slightly disappointing.

“Unless one of us is lying. Which is always a possibility.”

“I want to kiss her more than I want air.”

I liked the characters. Addy and Nate are the only ones with real growth, but my favourites are still Bronwyn and Nate (Nate is so hot and swoony oh my gosh).
I loved how McManus bent the stereotypes a bit and gave each teen a detailed back story, but I do think they could've been more vivid. Basically, no one leaps off the page. At the end of the book I wasn't left with a big impression of anyone; they needed more depth.
But I did love watching their individual lives fall apart (as awful as it sounds to say that). I enjoyed watching the cracks begin to show, the secrets begin to emerge, and the relationships start to break - or build. The characters' stories are good, but their personalities could be deeper. 

The romance between Nate and Bronwyn is amazing, and easily my favourite aspect of the book (they're also one of my new favourite ships of all-time). They are so beautiful and hot together, and I ship them hard. I loved the slow-burn of their relationship, and their swoony scenes are so sexy. I also adored their chemistry - which no doubt comes from their contrasting personalities.
BUT. I hated how their relationship, uh, resulted (I'm trying to avoid spoilers here...). It's rushed and random, and the event of Evan feels completely out of character for Bronwyn. It's unsatisfying and annoying.
The romance is wonderful, but the way the book handles it towards the end of the story is weird.  

One of Us Is Lying is a thrilling, fun, and exciting story with plenty of knockout twists and a gorgeous romance.
But the characters never truly come alive, and the writing isn't anything amazing.