One of Us is Next
by Karen M. McManus
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.
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.
Check out my review of One of Us is Lying!
You have to suspend your disbelief when you pick up a thriller, even more so, in my opinion, than when you pick up a fantasy or sci-fi novel. In SFF we don’t expect the world to be like our own – especially if it’s SFF that’s set in a completely different world altogether – but with thrillers the creepy ones are often creepy because we can believe that they could happen.
One of Us is Next isn’t creepy, and the majority of the time I really wanted these teenagers to tell an adult what was going on (like the grandma that I am), but it was so much darn fun to read.
Like I did with One of Us is Lying, I read One of Us is Next in a day. I find McManus’s writing so easy to read and so unputdownable, and she writes teenagers that I genuinely find myself caring about.
It’s been 18 months since the events of One of Us is Lying, and a Simon copycat has decided to start playing a game of Truth or Dare with the students at Bayview High School. They either complete a dare or one of their most closely kept secrets will be revealed.
Maeve, Bronwyn’s younger sister who appeared in the previous book, is one of the three lead characters in this book, alongside her best friend, Knox, and their fellow high school student Phoebe. I really enjoyed the group we met in One of Us is Lying, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I rooted for these teenagers, too.
We see just enough of the previous book’s heroes to know how they’re doing – I still love Bronwyn and Nate – but they don’t take over the plot and our new characters are allowed to shine without constantly being in their shadow. I was a little nervous Maeve might just be Bronwyn 2.0, but the sisters are very different and she’s very much her own person with her own problems. I also loved Phoebe and how unashamed she was for being a teenage girl who is sexually active and enjoys sex, particularly in an environment where she faces being slut-shamed for it.
I think my absolute favourite was Knox, though, who was so sweet. I loved his friendship with Maeve, his growing friendship with Phoebe and his relationship with his older sisters. Like Phoebe, the way he’s targeted by the Truth or Dare game is so cruel, and I tip my hat to him for going back to school at all. At 17, I think I’d’ve just hid in my room until it all went away.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t read many thrillers in a year, so I always find it hard to comment on whether or not it’s easy to see what’s coming because I’m quite happy to let myself be swept away by a thriller. I really admired how McManus was able to weave all the various story threads together – nothing she brings up is unimportant, and I love it when thriller authors do that – and while I could see where it was going closer to the end of the novel, that final, fairly sinister twist at the end was one I didn’t see coming and I love it when an author’s able to surprise me like that.
Basically, McManus’s YA thrillers are for me. If you’re a thriller aficionado this novel might not blow you away, but it’s fun, it’s readable and it’s hard to put down. I’ll definitely be reading more McManus in future!