One of us is next by Karen M. McManus

cover image

Penguin Books, 2020. ISBN: 9780241376928.
(Ages: 14+) Highly recommended. Author Karen M. McManus has done it again - written a fabulous YA mystery novel that readers won't be able to put down. One of us is next takes readers back to Bayview High, the setting of her first book, One of us is lying, with a different cast of characters. Phoebe, Knox and Maeve are the key characters in this story, which starts out detailing the notoriety of the case that took over the school and the media the year before - the death of Simon Kelleher (see One of us is lying). These three characters are high school students at the same high school where Simon died, and while he is now gone, his 'legacy' has continued. Other students have vied for the top position of gossip-monger, but after the school cracked down on it, things settled down. That is, until now. The entire student population of the school gets a message from 'Unknown', inviting them to play 'Truth or Dare'. After the first student, Phoebe, refuses to respond, her 'Truth' is revealed to the whole school. The rest of the school learns to always take the dare.
Coming from each of these three main characters' points of view, the narratives are interwoven so well that the story flows incredibly smoothly. The suspense builds nicely, with plenty of drama, intrigue, changing relationships and mystery. There is a lot of hype around Karen McManus's books, and after having read this book, I have to say it is well deserved. I highly recommend this book, along with her other two One of us is lying and Two can keep a secret. Ideal for readers who enjoy contemporary YA mystery and suspense novels, more suitable for older readers.
Themes: Secrets and lies, Relationships, Social media, Mystery.
Mel Phillips