Review: One Of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Next, by Karen M. McManus

Pages: 382

Published: 9 January 2020

⭐️ 5 / 5

YEESSSS. I’ve been waiting (very impatiently) for this book ever since it was announced. This is the sequel to Karen M. McManus’s debut novel, One Of Us Is Lying. This, as McManus writes in her acknowledgements, is the ‘Maeve book’, and I adored it! This is definitely my favourite out of the two One Of Us novels and I devoured it in 2 days. Here is my non-spoilery review – and I apologise in advance for the amount of shouty capitals I’m probably going to use. Grab a cup of tea and read on.

Plot

I was mildly concerned about how this book was going to pan out, mainly I didn’t think there was anything left to say after the conclusion to the first book. How on earth is a book like that supposed to be followed. I didn’t want a rehash with new characters – like the nightmare that is Grease 2…I had absolutely nothing to worry about! The mix of new characters is balanced perfectly with checking in on the Bayview Four and co. This allows us to catch up with our favourites to see how their life has moved on after the Simon drama, whilst also allowing One Of Us Is Next to stand on its own. This also builds Bayview more as we move away from the high school and further into the society and local community, which was really great.

We follow 3 point of view characters who start off as friends and/or loose acquaintances, and steadily become a firm friendship group with all the peaks and pitfalls that come with that. Maeve (Rojas! Yes, Bronwyn’s little sis), Phoebe, and Knox feel different to the Bayview Four as these 3 consciously choose to be friends whereas the Bayview Four were total strangers simply thrown together. (I promise I’ll try to stop the comparisons soon but it’s so difficult when the story doesn’t follow straight on). Their friendships really are at the heart of the plot as there’s a lot more ‘downtime’ for the characters in this sequel. Another thing that shines through and really sculpts the plot is sibling relationships in all of their forms. We see every spectrum of what that looks like from joined at the hip, to suffocated, overwhelmed, intimidated and feeling like you’ve got a tough act to follow, and siblings who cannot stand to be in the same room with one another. This book also radiates love. Sibling and family love, platonic friend love, and of course the mushy kind of love which made me CATCH ALL THE FEELINGS.

I really liked the premise of the school-wide truth and dare game, although I do question how on earth everyone’s phone numbers were retrieved and compiled – unless we assume everyone is able to access the school register as was used in One Of Us Is Lying. American readers, tell me: is this a normal thing?? In UK schools there’s no way anyone could gain access to student phone numbers except the school office and data prevention stops that kind of information from being shared. Honestly this is my one niggle with One Of Us Is Next because this isn’t answered even when we eventually find out the culprit. The truth or dare game builds suspense well in the first quarter of the novel, then the pace and tension fizzles out until all of a sudden it rears its ugly head and bites back. The London commuters who witnessed me finishing this book on the bus can attest to that following my very audible reactions…

The plot is very cleverly done and I don’t think I fully appreciated it until all the threads suddenly started dropping into place. At the end of chapter 28 I had it all figured out (still squealed my way through it despite heavily suspecting what was going on. Holy sh*t it was TENSE). And I almost got it completely right. Until one final twist. Damn Karen M. McManus and her genius. SO GOOD. Honestly this book is a masterclass in YA thriller/mystery and I NEED ANOTHER BOOK RIGHT NOW PLEASE.

Characters

I really enjoyed our trio of POVs equally. They all had such different lives, personalities, and personal struggles and I loved exploring all of it. Maeve was a stand out favourite for me, but there was a reappearance from a minor One Of Us Is Lying character who steps up to not only become an almost key player but he’s shot straight up my list of fictional boyfriends 😂. It never fails to impress me how many of the side characters are complete, tangible, 3-dimensional characters. Even the parents of the new characters, who may only get a couple of scenes. We have a very good idea of their lives and what sort of people they are. The only exception would be one boy’s father who drops off the page for no apparent reason after stirring a hint of trouble, but I’m probably just being picky now.

I’ll also say it again: SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS. Love, love, love all of it. It’s wholesome and emotional and raw and it’s glorious.

Final Thoughts

PLEASE. READ. THIS. BOOK.

That is all.

Back to your cup of tea. ❤️

Blurb:

Welcome back to Bayview High… It’s been a year since the events of One Of Us Is Lying.But nothing has settled for the residents of Bayview. Not now someone has started playing a sinister game of Truth or Dare. Choose truth? You must reveal your darkest secret. Choose dare? Well, that could be even more dangerous. Even deadly. When the game takes an even darker turn, suddenly no one at Bayview High knows who to trust. But they need to find out who is behind the game, before it’s too late.

from Waterstones – I am not affiliated with this, or any other, bookshop

The ‘Maeve book’, the sibling book, the ‘YOU MUST READ THIS’ book! #OneOfUsIsNext

12 Reads of Christmas 2019: Day 4

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”

– Mr Darcy
Continue reading “12 Reads of Christmas 2019: Day 4”

Review: The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury (Sin Eater’s Daughter #2)

Title: The Sleeping Prince

Author: Melinda Salisbury

Pages: 367

Published: 4th February 2016

⭐️ 5 / 5

Warning: minor spoilers ahead in the form of fangirling over a character pairing

This is the second instalment in Melinda Salisbury’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter series.  This is the first book in a long time that I ran through in one sitting.  After immensely enjoying the first book in the series, I was initially disappointed as this novel seems to drop Twylla from the narrative completely and instead picks up with an unknown character.  All I desperately needed to know was how Twylla was getting on after the events of her story and instead we move to a struggling village in a neighbouring part of the realm and follow Leif’s younger sister Errin.  I was not happy.  However I was far to quick to judge because she became one of my favourite fictional characters to read about in 2017.  She is young, snappy and hungry (name that musical 😉) to survive the changes in the world she sees around her.  After Leif’s departure from their newly broken family home, Errin is forced to give up her trade as an apothecary to care for her sick mother.  She must resort to illegally making remedies, poisons and other lotions and potions to pay for her survival and to ensure the villagers don’t turn on her mother who is looking increasingly like she is possessed by something sinister.  She has grown up in a society firmly rooted in fact and science, which is the polar opposite to what we have seen with Twylla.  However with their world facing the reawakening of the Sleeping Prince, a being of legend, Errin’s people are not able to place as much surety in science as they are used to.  Errin must watch her family life and the society she has always known and loved crumble before her and watch her neighbours take up some of the odd practices of the devout citizens in the part of the world we know through Twylla.  The only constant in Errin’s new life of despair is her strange friendship with the mysterious Silas.  Enter my favourite couple of the series.

Continue reading “Review: The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury (Sin Eater’s Daughter #2)”

Disneyland!! (For the first time!)

For as long as I can remember knowing the word ‘Disney’ I have wanted to visit Disneyland/world. The majority of my childhood was spent begging my parents to take me to Disney World Orlando to fulfil my dream of seeing that castle. The castle that bookended most of my dreams. Unfortunately that never happened. Until June this year.

It may have taken me almost 20 years but it finally happened. I still haven’t quite made it to America yet but I’ve found my way to a Disney site – Paris. In June 2017 I spent a magical week in Disneyland Paris and I’m going to share it with you. Although I would’ve loved to visit and experience the magic as a child, I still found it to be everything I’ve ever dreamed and more. For those of you who, like me, are waiting to visit Disney for the first ever time as an ‘adult’ (questionable term at best 😉) hopefully this will put you at ease.

Continue reading “Disneyland!! (For the first time!)”