Book Reviews

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

I won an ARC of this book in a giveaway Karen conducted on Twitter and I’ve been screaming ever since. I’ve always been salty about the fact that NetGalley wouldn’t allow me to request One of Us Is Lying when it first released (international problems!), so winning the sequel felt amazing!

Goodreads synopsis:

One of Us Is Next (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.


First things first: I loved One of Us Is Lying. I’m a huge fan of The Breakfast Club and well, murder, so obviously I loved the book. I did have a few problems with it including the misleading title, cliches, and kinda unbelievable ending, but overall it was a great 4-star read.

One of Us Is Next doesn’t follow the Bayview Four from the first book though they are present throughout the story. Instead, the main characters here are Browyn’s sister, Maeve, and her friends, Knox and Phoebe. Someone decides to keep Simon Kelleher’s legacy alive and starts a deadly truth or dare game, something that scratches the gossip itch from after Simon’s death. However, things take a turn for the worse (duh). How the main characters deal with the consequences of the truths revealed and make sense of the murky situation forms the rest of the story.

No one writes teenagers in trouble as well as McManus and it’s no different in this book. Each of the characters are unique and you’ll remember them long after you’ve put the book down.

Unlike the previous book, this one doesn’t focus on the usual high school tropes of cliques and social ladders. Here, it’s the deadly truth or dare game that’s at the forefront. It looms quite large on the three main characters–and by extension, the Bayview Four–when they should be happily planning Ashton and Eli’s wedding.

I have two complaints about the book, though, both quite similar to the ones I had with the previous book.

One, like One of Us Is Lying, it leans quite heavily on the adults are useless trope. At least in the previous book, adults were involved too despite being portrayed as useless. In this one, it’s full on teenagers trying to handle high pressure situations. And that’s quite unbelievable for me.

Two, once again, the big twist at the end was disappointing. I can’t reveal much for fear of spoilers, but I can say this–it was more a twist with shock value than any actual value. And that, to me, was pretty anticlimactic.

Despite these two issues, the story is extremely fast-paced and irresistible–you just can’t put the book down and believe me, I tried! It’s both character- and plot-driven, and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves YA crime fiction.

One of Us Is Next is a thrilling, suspenseful novel about teenagers dealing with chilling problems. It has just as much intrigue and drama as the first book in the series, and is a fast-paced, don’t-disturb-me-until-I-finish-this kind of a book. Fans of One of Us Is Lying will certainly love the cameos of the original Bayview Four, especially a leather-jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding sourpuss. I know I did. 😉

If you liked One of Us Is Lying, you should definitely pick up this one too! It releases in January 2020.

Rating: 4 out of 5

~ Shruti

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18 thoughts on “One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

  1. I’m delighted you won this, Shruti and that overall, you thoroughly enjoyed it:). As ever, I loved reading your review, but I’ll be honest – your issues with the book are a dealbreaker for me so I won’t be getting hold of it. So I’m very grateful for your insightful review:))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, if I read this book as a stand-alone, I probably would have rated it lower. But I really, really liked the first one and no one writes YA characters like Karen, so I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. 😅

      I even debated making my rating a 3.5, but nah. I legit couldn’t put the book down and that deserves a 4. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I whooped like a madwoman when I saw that you’d won this!! Go Shruti go Shruti go! ❤️❤️

    Ah, the ever present adults are useless trope. Loved your take on the book. I keep hearing you saying lovely things about it. I’m thinking I’mma add it to my TBR.


  3. Sounds like all the fun was somewhat diffused in the end 😅. But I am really proud of you that you won the giveaway and since both the books are already on my tbr, I will read them. I was really hyped up when ‘One of Us is Lying’ released and to be honest, I didn’t know that it had a sequel until I saw you win the giveaway 😂. But now that I know, hopefully someday I’ll get my hands on the book!

    Liked by 1 person

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