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Are you a fan of young adult mystery novels? If so, you won’t want to miss “One of Us Is Lying,” the gripping audiobook by Karen M. McManus. In this review, we’ll provide a detailed analysis of the plot, characters, narration, and production quality, giving you an in-depth look at what makes this audiobook so captivating.

Karen M. McManus has quickly emerged as one of the most exciting voices in young adult fiction, and “One of Us Is Lying” is no exception. If you’re looking for a thrilling mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this audiobook is the perfect choice.

So, let’s dive into our review and discover what makes “One of Us Is Lying” such an engrossing listen. After all, you won’t want to miss out on this page-turner of a book!

audiobook review | “One of Us Is Lying” audiobook | Karen M. McManus | review

Introduction to “One of Us Is Lying”

“One of Us Is Lying” is a popular young adult mystery novel by Karen M. McManus. The book follows a group of high school students who become suspects in a murder investigation after their classmate dies during detention. With its gripping storyline and relatable characters, “One of Us Is Lying” has become a favorite among readers of the genre.

As a YA mystery novel, “One of Us Is Lying” has gained significant attention, receiving critical acclaim and positive reviews from readers. The book highlights important themes and issues such as deception, secrets, and the consequences of keeping them hidden. Through its unique characters and intriguing plot, “One of Us Is Lying” provides a compelling reading experience that captivates audiences from start to finish.

Karen M. McManus, the author of “One of Us Is Lying,” is a New York Times bestselling author known for her mystery and thriller novels. McManus has a talent for crafting suspenseful stories that keep readers guessing until the very end. “One of Us Is Lying” is no exception, and its popularity has led to spin-off novels and adaptations in other media formats.

Plot Summary of “One of Us Is Lying”

In “One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus, five high school students enter detention but only four leave alive. Simon, the outcast who runs a gossip app, dies in the room from anaphylactic shock after drinking a cup of water containing peanut oil. The police soon discover that Simon’s death was not accidental.

The four other students – Addy, Cooper, Bronwyn, and Nate – become suspects from the start. Simon had dirt on all of them, and they all had a motive to kill him. As the investigation progresses, secrets come to light, and the students must navigate their way through a web of lies, betrayal, and unexpected twists to clear their names and uncover the truth.

An unlikely alliance forms between the four students, but they soon realize that they can’t trust anyone, not even each other. As the investigation draws to a close, the students are forced to confront their darkest secrets and face the consequences of their actions.

“One of Us Is Lying” is a gripping YA mystery novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end. It’s a story about trust, friendship, and the dangerous consequences of keeping secrets.

Analysis of Characters in “One of Us Is Lying”

“One of Us Is Lying” features a cast of four main characters, each with distinct personalities, motivations, and secrets. As the novel progresses, their relationships with one another become more complex, and their true natures are revealed.

Character Analysis

  • Bronwyn: The brainy and ambitious student, Bronwyn is fiercely competitive and driven. Her desire for success leads her to make questionable decisions, but she ultimately proves to be trustworthy and loyal to her friends.
  • Nate: The school’s notorious bad boy, Nate has a troubled past and a reputation for getting into trouble. Despite his tough exterior, he harbors a secret vulnerability and a desire for acceptance.
  • Addy: The beautiful and popular cheerleader, Addy initially appears to be shallow and self-absorbed. However, as the story unfolds, we see her struggle to assert herself and break free from societal expectations.
  • Cooper: The star athlete and all-around good guy, Cooper is well-liked and admired by his peers. However, he too has secrets and inner demons that threaten to unravel his seemingly perfect life.

The interactions between these four characters form the crux of the novel’s tension and drama. As the story unfolds, they are forced to confront their own flaws and biases, and to question the trust they place in each other.

Relevance to the Story

Each of the characters in “One of Us Is Lying” adds depth and complexity to the story, with their personal traits and struggles influencing the plot. The revelations about their characters serve to deepen the mystery and raise the stakes, as the readers become invested in their individual fates.

Through the characters, the story explores themes of high school cliques, peer pressure, and personal identity. It also challenges readers to question their own judgments and assumptions, highlighting the danger of falling into stereotypical thinking.

Narration and Production Quality

One of the most critical elements of any audiobook is the quality of the narration and overall production. In the case of “One of Us Is Lying,” we were pleased to discover that the audiobook is well-crafted and professionally executed.

The story is narrated by a cast of voice actors who bring the characters to life, enhancing the listening experience. Each voice actor performs their role brilliantly, and it’s easy to distinguish between the different characters when they speak. The skillful performance of the voice cast adds depth to the narrative, making it more captivating and engaging for the listener.

The production quality of the audiobook is also noteworthy, with excellent sound effects that create a realistic and immersive listening experience. The sound effects effectively add to the oftentimes tense atmosphere of the story, heightening the suspense and keeping listeners on the edge of their seats.

Audiobook Narration and Production Quality

Overall, “One of Us Is Lying” has exceptional narration and production quality, which contributes significantly to the audiobook’s success and engagement. Anyone who loves high-quality audiobooks with excellent narration and production should definitely give “One of Us Is Lying” a listen.

Themes Explored in “One of Us Is Lying”

The novel “One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus explores a range of important themes, providing readers with valuable insights into the complexities of human relationships. The following themes are some of the most significant in the book:


The concept of trust is one of the central themes explored in “One of Us Is Lying.” Throughout the book, the characters are forced to confront the question of who they can trust, as they struggle to uncover the truth about a deadly high school scandal. The theme of trust is intricately linked to the idea of deception, which is also a key theme in the book.


Deception is another central theme in “One of Us Is Lying,” as the characters grapple with the consequences of their lies and secrets. The novel illustrates how lies can have a ripple effect, impacting not just the individual telling them, but also those around them. The theme of deception is particularly relevant to the book’s unique storytelling style, which features multiple narrators and shifting perspectives.


The theme of friendship is also explored in “One of Us Is Lying,” as the characters struggle with the pressures and complexities of high school relationships. The novel highlights the importance of genuine connections and the dangers of surface-level friendships, underscoring the value of trust, honesty, and support in true friendships.

Consequences of Secrets

Finally, “One of Us Is Lying” delves into the theme of the consequences of secrets, portraying how keeping secrets can have far-reaching consequences. The novel highlights how secrets can lead to misunderstandings, mistrust, and even violence, underscoring the importance of transparency and honesty in healthy relationships.

Comparisons to Other Karen M. McManus Books

Karen M. McManus has written several other books, all of which share similar characteristics to “One of Us Is Lying.” Comparing and contrasting these works can provide insight into the author’s style and thematic choices.

Two Can Keep a Secret

McManus’s second novel, “Two Can Keep a Secret,” follows a similar formula to “One of Us Is Lying.” Both books are young adult mysteries that focus on a group of teenagers trying to solve a crime. However, “Two Can Keep a Secret” incorporates a small-town setting, family secrets, and a past tragedy, while “One of Us Is Lying” takes place in a high school and centers around a murder that occurs during detention.

One of Us Is Next

The sequel to “One of Us Is Lying,” “One of Us Is Next,” is set eighteen months later and introduces a new set of characters. The novel also features a new game of truth or dare gone wrong and introduces a new mystery for readers to solve. However, both books have strong character development and surprise twists that keep readers engaged.

The Cousins

“The Cousins,” McManus’s most recent novel, is a departure from her usual formula. The book is a family drama that explores the secrets and betrayals of three estranged cousins who are summoned to their wealthy grandmother’s island resort. While the book is not a mystery, it still features suspenseful elements and complex character relationships that are characteristic of McManus’s writing.

Audience Reception and Critical Acclaim

The release of “One of Us Is Lying” garnered much attention from readers and critics alike. The audiobook has received generally positive reviews, with many readers praising the book’s gripping plot and well-developed characters.

“‘One of Us Is Lying’ is a riveting YA mystery that will keep readers on their toes until the very end,” said BookPage in their review of the audiobook.

Readers have also praised Karen M. McManus’s writing style, which is described as both engaging and well-crafted.

“McManus has a talent for building suspense and keeping her readers guessing,”

said a review by School Library Journal.

The audiobook has become a fan favorite, with many listeners recommending it to their friends and family. On Goodreads, “One of Us Is Lying” has an average rating of 4.06 stars out of 5, based on over 250,000 ratings.

Overall, “One of Us Is Lying” has been a critically acclaimed and widely popular audiobook. It’s a must-read for fans of the YA mystery genre and anyone looking for a thrilling and suspenseful listening experience.


In conclusion, “One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus is a must-listen audiobook for fans of the young adult mystery genre. With its complex plot, intriguing characters, and excellent narration, the audiobook delivers an immersive listening experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

We highly recommend this audiobook to those who enjoy suspenseful mysteries and are looking for a thrilling and engaging listening experience. The book’s underlying themes of trust, deception, and the consequences of secrets add depth and meaning to the story, making it a well-rounded and satisfying read.

Overall, “One of Us Is Lying” is a gripping and well-crafted audiobook that showcases Karen M. McManus’s exceptional talent as a storyteller. Its critical acclaim and positive audience reception are a testament to its quality and appeal, and we believe it deserves all the praise it has received.

For these reasons, we highly recommend “One of Us Is Lying” to anyone looking for an excellent young adult mystery audiobook.

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