I am utterly basking in the feels of having just finished a good book.
BASKING, I tell you! The twists in this were so clever, so intricately woven. Getting to the end and discovering how many characters’ lives were tangled up together — not to mention that circular finale!!! — just had me in full appreciation of the story and the author’s cleverness. This is just [clenches fist] a very good book.
I admit I didn’t actually love the first book, but I adored McManus’ second book (Two Can Keep a Secret) so I was interested to try the sequel to One of Us Is Lying…and GAH I’M SO GLAD, because I’m lowkey obsessed.
Technically YES. Because I remember like 3% of OFUIL and I still fully enjoyed this. However you’ll get more references and understand the background characters’ connections better if you’ve read the first book. (Basically I recommend always reading a sequel in order. But if you’re chaotic ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ go for it.)
[a small peek at the plot]
I firmly believe thrillers are best when you know next to nothing about them — so I don’t want to go into details! But basically this story involves:
- a deadly game of Truth or Dare (an anonymous person texts you “truth or dare” and if you don’t take the dare, they’ll reveal a horrific life-ruining secret truth about you).
- everyday family and teen drama and angst (which I LOVED).
- Maeve’s worried about her childhood lukemia coming back; Knox is wilting under his father’s sneers that he’s too soft; Phoebe is losing her connection to her family from grief after her dad died and truth of a terrible secret with her sister.
- MURDER, JOHN.
What hooked me the most? The characters. Then I cared more about the plot.
We have three narrators: Phoebe, Maeve, and Knox. Each have really complex lives and they three become tightly woven together as they unravel the mystery of who’s behind this life-ruining anonymous game of Truth or Dare. And YES there is murder in this book. There’s also fear-mongering, horrific gossip, and dangerous secrets revealed. It took me a bit to warm up to Phoebe’s chapters, but I reeeally loved Maeve!! And Knox is SO SOFT and I do love the soft boys. Also I loved that he was hounded by toxic masculinity but he didn’t give up and change himself. 😭Bless Knox, I love him.
The only thing that was an issue for me is: so. many. characters. Every main character had a huge circle of minor-characters in their lives, including siblings and friends, ALL with histories and connections. Plus there were the characters from book one returning in the background. I panicked a little that I’d never keep up (my brain melted) but by the end, I was into it and remembering almost all (lol) the characters names.
I just loved how it balanced sibling strife and love + relationship angst and crushes + intense friendships to adore. All the good stuff of a contemporary pLUS muystery and murder. I melt, I am soft butter. I am a fan.
[how thrillery was it?]
Admittedly, it wasn’t very dark. This was more character-centric, but the stakes were high, and I loved the characters so much that even their smallest pain amped up the tension. And how it all fit together, tying in so many characters, was INTRICATELY AMAZING. I am so impressed. I only guessed one twist!
[honestly just read this book]
It was captivating, tricky, and intriguing, and just left my Slytherin heart smouldering with satisfaction. It wasn’t the darkest thriller ever, but it was addictive and entertaining and stressful with excellent characters to love and sobering plot twists and reveals.
Thank you to Penguin Australia for the ARC!! One Of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus came out January 9th, 2020.
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 . . .
do you like when contemporary-setting books get sequels?! have you read any Karen McManus books yet? and oooh tell me if you often guess thriller twists or are you always surprised?