Monday 29 November 2021

Book Review (Blog Tour) | You'll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus

Publication Date: 30th November 2021 by Penguin
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Young Adult


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Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Back in middle school they were best friends. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class, and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They'll ditch school and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Why did they stop hanging out, anyway?

As soon as they pull out of the parking lot Cal knows why. Ivy's already freaking out about missing class, and heartthrob Mateo is asleep in the backseat, too cool to even pretend like he wants to be there. The truth is they have nothing in common anymore.

At least they don't until they run into the fourth student ditching school that day. Brian "Boney" Mahoney is supposed to be accepting his newly won office of class president. Which is why Ivy follows him into an empty building, only to walk into the middle of a murder scene. Cal, Ivy, and Mateo all know the person lying on the ground of that building, and now they need to come clean. They're all hiding something. And maybe their chance reconnection wasn't by chance after all.


My Thoughts

"You can be right in principle and still wrong in approach."
This is my fourth Karen M. McManus novel and it might possibly be my favourite so far although I do still have The Cousins to read! Her next mystery revolves around three ex best friends who try to recreate their Best Day Ever but instead find themselves caught up in the murder of a classmate. When on of the group becomes the prime suspect, it's up to three of them to find the real murderer before time runs out. 

I've enjoyed McManus's other books a fair bit, she's very good at writing entertaining and action-packed YA thrillers that have the right amount of mystery to teenage drama. She manages to take a formula (group of high school friends find themselves dragged into a murder) and keeps it interesting and well thought out every time. I will say that I hope she tries her hand at something a little different at some point because it would be interesting to see what she could do with other genres or target audiences. 

Whilst I don't think this has the best plot out of the ones I read, I feel like it's my favourite because I just got so wrapped up in these events and this could be down to the fact that it's all set in the space of less then a day. This book takes a lot of inspiration from Ferris Bueller's Day Off with it revolving around three friends and their truancy from school to go into the city and have a fun time. Obviously this plan gets ruined when someone is murdered. I think it's a really interesting take on the classic film but again, it's become a bit of a go to for McManus to take inspiration from 80's teen films and introduce a murder mystery into them. It's completely out of the realm of possibility for high schoolers and yet it is fun and enjoyable to read about. 

McManus's writing is easy to plough through. It's fairly light and engaging but there a few pacing issues. Some parts do feel slow and then there's that huge check where everything is happening at rapid speed and then oddly after the big reveal, it just slows back down again with unneeded chapters. I would have liked a bit more consistency when it came to pacing and how the plot was unravelled. 

For the characters, I really enjoyed the threesome of Ivy, Mateo and Cal. They had great banter and that kind of chemistry where you could tell they used to be close and there's now some tension relating to past events. They each had their own distinctive parts to play in the mystery and that's something I really like about this authors books, that we get to hear from each of the main characters equally as the story plays out. They're not the most realistic characters (why wouldn't they just go to the police or their parents instead of trying to do it all by themselves??) but they made the story exciting and upbeat. I'll also say that the romance in here is cute although again some aspects probably wouldn't make for a healthy relationship but I'm just so glad this wasn't a love triangle like I initially worried it was.    

Whilst I enjoyed my time reading this book, I have actually lessened my rating from a four star to a 3.5 because two weeks after reading it I can't remember the major plot points. I mean how did it end?? I  can't remember... I think for me it's a book that you really like during but it's not particularly memorable after you've finished. 

Overall, Karen M. McManus has once again written a really clever, intriguing YA mystery that was a wild ride for most parts. So much stuff happens but it's so much fun to read about and that's what I keep coming back to her books for. Full of twists and shocking moments, it will have you tearing through the pages as the pace picks up. If you're a fan of her books then there's another winner here. And if you've never read one of her books but are looking for a ton of teen drama with your murder then you've just found your new obsession.  


About the Author

Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thriller/mystery novels, including One of Us Is Lying, One of Us Is Next, Two Can Keep a Secret, and The Cousins. You'll Be the Death of Me will be her next novel, publishing December 2021. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master's degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. For more information, visit or @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.

I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes included in this review are subject to change. Massive thank you to Penguin for providing me with a review copy. A huge thank you to TheWriteReads Tours for letting me take part in the blog tour as well. 

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