One of Us is Lying has been described as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. It’s not hard to see why. The story starts with five students in detention. Only four students leave the room alive. Simon Kelleher was not a popular person; he had created the About That website, which ruined countless lives. This site was similar to Gossip Girl: he would post stories about people using their initials and would then post about the ensuing drama.

The four students in the room with Simon (Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper and Nate) automatically become suspects. The story is told from the perspective of these students. In the course of the investigation the major secrets the students were keeping are revealed. (This review will focus on the two female characters. Additionally there are some spoilers, so please proceed with caution!)

Bronwyn comes from a very wealthy family with high expectations for their children. As a result, she puts immense pressure on herself. She is top of her class, has many extracurricular activities and has dreams of heading to Yale. This is all put in jeopardy by being accused of murder. Throughout the investigation you can see how intelligent, determined and hard-working she is. You can also see the impact that parental pressure can have on a person. She expects so much of herself that she has never acted like a teenager (she is the only person to not have been mentioned on Simon’s website).

While Bronwyn may be the star of the show, it is Addy that ultimately ends up being the hero. She is a part of the popular clique, but does not seem to have her own identity outside of her relationship with Jake. From the outside it looks like they have the perfect relationship, however when we delve deeper, we learn that it is quite abusive. Jake controls every aspect of their lives, what parties they go to, what they have for dinner, even Addy’s appearance. The only person who can see it for what it is is Addy’s sister, Ashton. She is the one who supports her once the relationship ends. Without spoiling too much Addy is the real hero; she finally realizes that she can support herself and can survive without a man.

This book touches on some very important themes: parental pressure, controlling relationships, slut-shaming, and the power of gossip and the damage that it can do to people. The most important lesson I took from the book was that no one is perfect and that is ok. Everyone makes mistakes (some bigger than others). It’s not this that defines a person, however, it is how they attempt to rectify the mistake that does. By eventually owning up to the things they did they are eventually able to move on and become better people.

If you enjoyed One of Us is Lying then there’s good news: NBC’s streaming service has ordered a pilot for the show based on the book. The pilot is due to air in April 2020.

-Michelle O’Brien
Contributing Writer
Girl Museum Inc.

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