4 star, YA

Review: One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying #2

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules. 

Karen M. McManus does it again! In this exciting sequel to One of Us is Lying, Bayview High is once again plunged into the mystery of a seemingly omniscient narrator (think Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars!) even after the death of Simon. Can Bayview ever escape his clutches?

Instead of the Bayview Four, this time the story revolves around three main characters and their POVs. It has been a year since Simon’s passing, and Bayview is seemingly quiet from the normal gossip-mongering. Some copycats have arisen to try and be the new Simon, but all have failed – until now. As a cryptic new message introduces a brand new game to be played, the stakes are raised. Can our protagonists band together to unveil the truth and stop whoever is behind it before it’s too late?

Once again we have a type of whodunnit mystery novel as a sequel to the original, in which the protagonists must dig into the past to uncover the truth of the present. What are the links between the Truth or Dare game and the events that transpire at Bayview High? We have Bronwyn’s younger sister Maeve as a main protagonist, and her two friends Knox and Phoebe, who all fall victim to the Truth or Dare game. Once again, even with the alternating point of views, I found the storytelling to be quite clear, and easy to follow. The twists and turns in this mystery were exciting, and the ending was actually not as predictable as I thought it would be.

Although the concept of the “omniscient narrator” is no longer novel in the sequel, McManus actually finds a new way to incorporate this concept in the same setting – kudos for being able to do that! With such a specific concept, it’s easy for the sequel to be repetitive, but I found the characters and the plotlines different enough that I was happy with the familiarity and still intrigued by the mystery and suspense. The growth of the characters was also nice to see – as much growth as can be found in a mystery novel anyway.

Overall I think these two books make a great set. I think McManus has a way of really appealing to the’young adult in me, using so many references from modern day contemporary settings to make me feel like I’m right among the kids “my age” again. Did anyone else have this kind of feeling reading her works? It certainly draws me in like no other YA author I’ve read recently. I will definitely be looking out for more of her works in the future!

Overall Recommendations

One of Us is Next is the exciting sequel to McManus’ original work One of Us is Lying, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. This story takes place the year after the tragic events of the original novel, and has all the same foreboding of Simon’s original reign of terror. Just who is responsible for the revival of his sinister games? A great set of two, I highly recommend reading these two books together, the author does a really good job of creating this ‘world’ at Bayview High, and I felt that this sequel was a good companion to the first novel. Expands the world just enough, but also doesn’t overplay and overuse the same tropes. If you enjoy reading about high schoolers getting caught in tough situations and fighting through it, be sure to check this book out. And if you missed Andge’s review on One of Us is Lying, you can read it here!

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