REVIEW: One of Us Is Lying

Quick summary: Who knew teenagers could be so psychotic?!
Rating★★★★★

Try this if you like: Agatha Christie, Riverdale & true-crime documentaries.


In this YA crime thriller we follow the lives of 4 teens whose lives are completely changed when their classmate dies in detention. Through the book we follow Cooper, Addy, Bronwyn and Nate as they try to clear their names of Simon Kelleher’s murder. As the case evolves and relationships deepen, one thing is clear – they all have something to hide, and one of them is definitely lying. But who did it?

The reason this book is stellar is because of the way McManus constructs characters. We switch between the POV’s of the four teenagers throughout, and the secrets they keep run so deep that they don’t even let the reader know them. The fact that you can’t trust everything the narrator is saying really adds a fantastic dimension to the book – the reader is as much a participant in solving the crime as the characters are!

McManus’ fantastic writing doesn’t stop here. The way she slowly builds the lives and personalities of the characters is also highly impressive. At first, the characters cling to the stereotypes in which they belong in a painfully one-dimensional manner. Cooper is the jock, Addy is the princess, Nate is the criminal and Bronwyn is the nerd. Then, suddenly you’re halfway through the book and realising that Cooper is struggling with his identity, Addy is being emotionally abused, Nate is a young carer and Bronwyn is cracking under pressure and systemic racism. As we watch all of these characters struggle, and learn more about Simon’s dark activities, we are poignantly reminded of the flaws in the pastoral support of the education system.

As far as the murder mystery aspect of this book goes – if you are a murder-mystery aficionado, you may well figure out ‘whodunnit’ reasonably early on. The clues are there. However, having not read loads and loads of murder mysteries, I was kept on tenterhooks until the big AHA reveal moment. The way in which McManus constructs the plot, and dripfeeds small secrets and pieces of information is ingenious, and really keeps you guessing the whole way through.


REVIEW: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Quick summary: A whodunnit murder mystery on steroids

Rating: ★★★★☆

Full synopsis
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

I got recommended this book in a book spa experience at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (review of this experience coming up soon!), and I’ve been excited to read it ever since – I was very much not disappointed!

A brief summary of the synopsis is that you follow the main character Aiden Bishop through 8 bodies over 8 days as he tries to uncover who murdered a woman called Evelyn Hardcastle at a party in her family home. Every day he wakes up and at the end of every day the same thing happens: Evelyn Hardcastle dies. The only way to end this fatal cycle is for Aiden to figure out who killed her.

Reading this book is like reading a highly complex, body-hopping game of Cluedo. Stuart Turton’s writing is full to the brim of imagery, and the character’s emotions become really tangible to you as you read. I found I genuinely didn’t know who had committed the murder (though that could just be my lack of skill in murder solving!) and the twists and turns continued to be interesting and surprising through the whole novel.

The structure, undeniably, is confusing at first, but as the book continued I understood it more, and part of the beauty of the book is being confused until the end when everything comes together in a wonderful ‘lightbulb’ moment.

Turton keeps the book rich, and his characters are not simply 2 dimensional. With every new revelation about the characters you are questioning their motives and their consciences. The story is located in an old mansion, and the mansion and its surrounding scenery almost become a character in themselves, with their menace.

I would definitely recommend this book for any Agatha Christie fans, or murder mystery fans – not only is it good for these people, but any crime or urban-fantasy lovers, this one might be for you!

Rosie x

 

Have you read The Seven Death’s of Evelyn Hardcastle? Leave your thoughts in the comments or on The Rosie Word Instagram page!