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One of Us Is Lying

Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen McManus
Series:  N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 361
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction McManus

Synopsis: On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.  Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Review: As far as mysteries go, this one was one of the better ones I’ve read. It didn’t make me hate it & I didn’t have it all figured out in the first 10 pages. However, it’s still pretty predictable. I had most of it figured out about a third of the way in. There were a few small details I missed, but generally got it as a whole. My biggest issues with the book was about stereotypical the characters were & how it dealt with mental illness/depression. The characters never really moved out of their “brain, jock, beauty, bad boy” characteristics. Cooper is the closest, but his surprise twist isn’t handed well. The cops literally out him as they let information leak about the case and why he would be a suspect. (Can we just say shody police work too?) The “surprise” twist comes in the fact that Simon set it all up and killed himself, but wanted to take them down/make them suffer for a year along the way. The reason? He was depressed. However, never do we really see that he’s depressed. Instead, we see a kid with a god complex who wants revenge & has used his “power” to manipulate and destroy people for years. It was a highly thought out plan that was complex and well tuned. Could he have been depressed? Of course, but shouldn’t have been the base for all this. He was a kid with serious issues that went way beyond depression, especially consider some other things we learned about him. Throwing in the depression almost vilified it/suicide and just made me feel weird. Honestly, if she had just taken out the depression part, which was maybe only mentioned in the last 30 pages, I would have liked this one much more. As it, it’s a meh book–one I can see teens thinking is okay (most of the book teens were okay, but not love) but no grand slam for sure.

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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Mysteries, Teen

 

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Book of Shadows

Title: Book of Shadows
Author: M. Verano
Series: Dairy of a Haunting
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Verano

Synopsis: All Melanie wants is a blank book to keep a journal of her private thoughts. One day while browsing in a used bookshop, she finds the perfect blank book—smooth black leather with strange symbols in gold embossing. But once she gets home, Melanie finds herself too intimidated by the heavy vellum pages to write her trivial thoughts on them. Her Wiccan friend Lara tells her it’s better suited to be a magical spell book, called The Book of Shadows.

Melanie doesn’t know much about that stuff, but Lara, her boyfriend Caleb, and his friend Lucas, get her started by writing their own made up spells inside the book’s tempting pages. What they didn’t expect was a new spell showing up inside the book—and in handwriting none of them recognize.

Soon they discover that the spells suggested by The Book of Shadows itself do work—but not without wreaking havoc on the lives of the four teenagers.

Review: Normally, I love this series. It’s usually this weird supernatural mix with “it’s it real or not” type vibe. This one sadly fell flat, but I’m not quite sure why. It still had a very solid supernatural feel with the black magic, but it lacked the “keeping you guessing” element. Also, I’m not sure the “diary” format really worked this time. The past two books really only dealt with one main character/one person experiencing the supernatural, but this one really has four. It generally worked okay, but did feel as if something was missing. Overall, it was a middle of the road read. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Horror, Teen

 

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