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One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying, #2)

Title: One of Us is Next (#2 One of Us is Lying)

Author: Karen M. McManus

Published: 7th of January 2020 – Penguin

Format: Paperback – 375 pages

“But you can’t change the past, you know? All you can do is try harder next time. So don’t give up on yourself just yet.” – One of Us is Next

Hello Hello! How are you all?

I’m taking a little break from doing my weekly Down the TBR Hole posts today because I didn’t have time to draft one, so instead, I decided to post a review that has been sitting in my drafts for weeks!

Stephen from Stephen Writes and I read this book together a few months ago and it was quite enjoyable, despite the fact that the ending was not at all believable for me. I loved seeing the original “Bayview Four” again, so keep on reading for all my thoughts on this book!

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.

But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.

The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late…

MY REVIEW

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus is the second book in the One of Us is Lying duology, which is a YA mystery series. I have been reading the Karen M. McManus books with Stephen from Stephen Writes for a few months and this was our second read. You can read Stephen’s review of this book here!

The first thing I have to say is that I preferred One of Us is Lying and that book is now my favourite Karen M. McManus book after having read all 4 of her published novels. This one was good, but there was something lacking and the ending didn’t really fit for Stephen and me.

SETTING

This book is set in Bayview in California and the characters in this book are not the Bayview Four, but they are linked to them. I liked this setting in the first book and I liked it in the second book also. We got to see new places and old places through different eyes and POVs and it was quite interesting.

I don’t like contemporary settings as much as historical fiction or fantasy ones, but I feel like in all her books, McManus manages to make the reader imagine the place and this makes the story dynamic and helps you get into it easily, even if you have not been to the places they talk about.

This book is set a year after the events of One of Us is Lying and it was quite interesting to see what had happened in that time frame, how Simon’s death had affected more than the Bayview Four and what the consequences of these events were.

CHARACTERS

The Bayview Four: I adored the Bayview Four in the first book and they are actually some of my favourite sleuthing teams I have read. I loved Addie,  Cooper, Bronwyn and Nate and I was a little bit sad that we didn’t see much of them in this book. I was so obsessed with One of Us is Lying that unfortunately, the cast in this book did flop for me, I just wanted the Originals back, but they were still interesting characters. There are more than 3 characters in this book, but I’m afraid I can’t remember their names and much about them, so I’ll just talk about those I do remember.

Phoebe: I did not like Phoebe at the start of the book, but as the story advanced, she grew on me and I really enjoyed reading about her. She gets close to Knox and Maeve and the reader gets to learn more about her, her family, her past and see her struggles in the present day.

Knox: I actually did like Knox right from the start and I was so sad for him when the new game at Bayview targeted him and Maeve. He is Maeve’s best friend and is very loyal to her, even though they go through some issues and go over some bumps, they are there for one another. And I have to say, thank goodness he was there at the end of the book because it would have ended a lot differently.

Maeve: Maeve is one of the secondary characters from book 1 who becomes a main character in book 1 and I also liked her a lot, but I found some elements around her personality and events linked to her to be either a little too much or just not necessary. I can’t say much other than something to do with her health and something to do with a boy, they just grated on me after a while as I felt they were just used as plot twists that actually didn’t advance the story. I liked Maeve’s character but I preferred Bronwyn (her sister).

THEMES

Death: In all Karen M. McManus books, there are deaths and I have to say that this one was particularly gruesome. I can’t say anything about this, but if you are afraid of heights, just be careful when reading some of these chapters, because I have a phobia of heights and some of these descriptions made me a little panicky. I found that there wasn’t that much investigation into the death like there was in the first book and the new Bayview sleuthing team were concentrating more on other things.

Dangerous game/blackmail/secrets: Simon is gone, but his spirit lives on in Bayview High. A lot of people have tried to imitate him and numerous apps and forums have been made and dismantled since he has died. As the book starts, a new game is brought to the light, this time the students at Bayview either have to take a dare or accept that the person behind the app will reveal one of their secrets. Everyone says to always take the dare, but that doesn’t always work out. Obviously, this is a vicious type of blackmail and there are a lot of secrets involved, a lot of people suffer through the secrets that are revealed and some from the dares they have to take, so just be aware of that going into the book.

Bullying: I don’t think it would be a McManus book if there wasn’t some bullying. I don’t like reading about this theme because it is so cruel, but the way that McManus incorporates this into her books makes you just want to keep turning the pages to find out what will happen.

Teenagers and high school: I’ve said this before, I don’t read that many books with teenagers and high schools anymore, but McManus makes these elements compelling and it does remind me of what it was like for me being a teenager. This is also a pair of themes that can be hit and miss and I did enjoy these two in the first book better because I felt like a certain character kept going on and on about how gorgeous another one was, and it did bug both Stephen and me after a while, this is something I’ve noticed in McManus’s writing though.

Friendship/sleuthing team: Finally, you know I love a good friendship dynamic and when I started reading this book, I honestly thought that there was going to be a lot of tension and animosity between the characters. They got to know one another though, and they become friends and a team to unwind the mysteries. I did enjoy watching the friendship blossom between Phoebe, Knox and Maeve, and it was especially interesting to have all three of their POVs to advance the plot.

Trigger Warnings: alcoholism, underage drinking, racism, sexual assault, death, homophobia, bombing, murder, blackmail, bullying.

“Who do you want to be? The guy who goes along or the guy who stands up? This is the time to decide.” – One of Us is Next

MY THOUGHTS AND RATING

Overall, this was another good Karen M. McManus book, but I did have a few little issues with it. The first issue is a personal thing, and I just really preferred the Bayview Four. I was constantly waiting for one of them to appear and was so happy when they did. Stephen and I were still rooting for them, even though the book didn’t centre around these characters.

I was quite bugged by the very frequent descriptions of one character’s appeal by another character, as I mentioned above. By the end, this just started to annoy me and I have factored it into my rating because it made me roll my eyes so many times!

Finally, that ending was… not what I was expecting and it shocked both Stephen and me. I think that this is an issue I have with McManus’s books (except One of Us is Lying – that was perfection!), she has the best ideas, but the way she pulls them off, especially the ending makes you think “Uh, what the hell?”. In my opinion, that ending was not plausible AT ALL, especially with everything that happened before and I really do not see how I could believe that, nothing hints to it and I just think that for my liking, it was just a little slap-dash and not thought out well enough. I just kept wondering how the hell it could have been done by “the person” and I still don’t see it, so sorry, but that ending didn’t work for me at all.

The pacing and writing style in the book were fantastic though, and that’s why I’m so bugged by that ending because I was loving it until the big reveal (the second big reveal I mean). The first reveal was plausible, well-executed and I could totally picture it, but the final one was too impossible for me. Karen M. McManus has a very fluid and easy to read writing style which really helped me to keep engaged with the story.

I gave this book 4 stars (see below for my full ASPECTS rating) and I’m afraid that the 1 star I took off was for the reasons mentioned above. I did really enjoy it about 85% through and it’s just that ending that completely nose-dived for me. I would definitely read more books by this author, and I hope that her endings don’t implode for me. I would recommend this book to YA and mystery fans, people who like reading books with multiple POVs and friendships, but also twisted secrets, teenagers and high school.

Thank you to Stephen for reading this book with me, it was a really enjoyable experience, and I really enjoyed all our theories and discussions.

“Love and hope and beauty still exist, even when things seem impossibly dark.” – One of Us is Next

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

ASPECTS RATING

Atmosphere – 6.5

Start – 7

Pacing – 7

Ending – 6

Characters – 6

Theme – 7

Style – 7

Total = 46.5

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If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here:  Amazon UK  – Amazon FRAmazon USAbeBooksThe Book DepositoryAudible FRWaterstonesBarnes and NobleAudible UKKoboBlackwell’sBetterWorldBooks

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11 Comments

  1. Love the review! The TBR hole posts do take quite a while so I don’t blame you for taking a little break from it! I have heard mixed reviews about Karen’s books but since we have such similar taste in general I really think ill like them. Not sure when ill get to them but I do have them sitting on the shelf!

    1. Thank you Louise! Yes ahaha, I’ll get a few drafted this weekend so I’ll have some ready 😉 my favourite was One of Us Is Lying and then I also really enjoyed The Cousins! ☺️

  2. Great review Ellie. I loved the first book as well and the Bayview 4. But I dont think I’ll read this one. Ill probably be disappointed and maybe even annoyed at some elements in this book. 😊

    1. Thank you Lili! Yes, you might, it was great revisiting Bayview, but I wanted my originals back aha!

  3. Excellent review, Ellie! I loved reading this one with you. If only the Bayview Four appeared in it more! There still were several good things about the book though 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! It was a great reading experience! There were, I just wish it had been focused on the Bayview Four!!

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