Friday, 23 October 2020

Book Review | One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

Title: One of Us is Next 
Author: Karen M. McManus • Author's Site 
Publication Date: 9th January 2020 by Penguin
Format: ebook via library
Target Audience: Young  Adult
Genre: Mystery  

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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 . . .

Rating

 My Thoughts

 “Holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
 
One of Us Is Next is the latest YA mystery/thriller from Karen M. McManus that is a loose sequel to her breakout hit One of Us Is Lying. This time we follow Bronwyn's sister Maeve and some of her fellow classmates as they are pulled into a deadly game of truth or dare. Maeve and her friends are at the centre of the drama and must work together to figure out who's behind this latest scheme before things take a darker turn.
 
I've already read Karen M. McManus's previous two releases and whilst they were both lots of fun, they did tend to lean on being very dramatic and throwing logic out the window most of the time. But really when it comes to mysteries, especially in YA, a lot of the time you do have to suspend disbelief as realistically these are teenagers in situations they probably woudn't be in in real life! One of Us Is Next is probably my favourite out of the three though. I think McManus's writing is improving all the time and this book is strong in a lot of areas.
 
I really like that although this is technically a sequel and we have the familiar setting, we're not following the same characters directly. I think it was a smart move to put Maeve in the centre of her own story whilst still having the characters from the first book appearing in the background. The author also needed to make sure that the plot wasn't too similar to the first book and having it revolve around a game of truth or dare allowed for small connections to be made that linked it with One of Us Is Next. The pacing was done well throughout too, I think the intrigue rose steadily as you read on until you're good and hooked for the second half.
 
I was invested in the characters more than I thought I would be. It's been a while since I read the first book but I actually think I felt more connected to this group then with the Bayview four. We have three characters POV's in this book rather than four; Maeve, Knox and Phoebe. These three all had distinctive voices with their own personal problems to add to the drama they're already going through from being pulled into this game. They felt realistic, they spoke to each other how teenagers speak and I thought they had great chemistry as a group as they developed their friendship naturally.
 
“Love and hope and beauty still exist, even when things seem impossibly dark.” 
 
This book did only just scrape a four star rating though. I think that because some of the events that occured were so far fetched it did become a little comical at times. The twists are some of the main components of a thriller and I will say that a lot of the twists are predictable and fairly easy to guess if you're paying attention. I did guess the culprit fairly early on and whilst it's always fun to be surprised I also felt that I didn't mind knowing, as McManus weaved all the elements of the story together really well.
 
I'll also mention that there are A LOT of characters in this book. You have the characters from the first book and the new main characters and then you have their parents and their siblings and their friends and eventually I was getting forgetting names and how they're all connected. It was a small thing but it was something that stuck out when I was thinking about my rating.
 
Overall I think this is a solid entry in the YA mystery genre. It's incredibly entertaining, McManus has a great readable writing style and it's a lot of fun. I think some people will dislike the basic premise and the fairly easy plot twists but if you're a fan of teenagers solving high stake mysteries then I would definitely urge you to pick up this book and McManus's other work.   
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