One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (360 pages)
Overview: Five kids are in detention. Only four come out alive, and they become the prime suspects of the most botched police investigation ever. They're the beauty, the jock, the brains, and the slacker. They barely know each other, but they're all tied together in one way or another to Simon, the school gossip leader with a severe peanut allergy. When all their secrets come out, the police investigation become the least of their worries. Overall: 4.5
Characters: 5 I loved McManus's cast. We get to see prospective from all three of them which is a nice touch. Each of them are a take on a classic stereotype. While they fulfill almost all of the regular archetypes, she makes them deeper, more human and relatable. I particularly loved Browneyn and Nate who are in the classic good girl/bad boy relationship, but somehow she makes it cute and irresistible not tired and cliche. I also loved the sister relationships that get explored in the book. Even with chaotic plot, the characters and those around them are deeply explored.
Plot: 4.5 I really got into the story and finished the book in two days. I'd previously read the opening 20 pages and put it down, but this time, it captivated me. It's pretty clear from the start that the four are innocent. There's no unreliable narration at play. Though I did manage to guess the last twists before they happened, and I didn't love where the romantic lines went, I had so much fun reading the book and gathering clues.
Writing: 5 I appreciated how she gave each character a true voice of their own, which is hard when their are four main characters. The alternating sections of the chapters kept the pace up and kept the camera constantly moving. Each of the points of views played really well with each other, and the time they spent together helped build more depth into the other accessed teens.
I also enjoyed how she decided to delve into the media and how they respond both to tragedy and the idea of celebrity. The invasive tactics used and the way it fueled the police's views of the teens was both interesting to inspect and sickening. It's clear why it has surfaced on the New York Times List.