So, somehow I managed to miss out a post for Monday, so I’m going to continue the tradition of Mini Review Monday and share two quick reviews of books that I really love.
First up, it’s the gripping One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus (which I also hauled recently).
Trigger warnings: ableism, mental illness, suicide, forced outing, sexuality as ‘twist’
One Of Us Is Lying Review:
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
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.
These five strangers walk in, but only four come out alive. All of them have something to hide, but how far did they go to protect them?
One of Us Is Lying was just a perfect teen thriller; it had enough tension and drama to keep you on the edge of your seat, but it also had some brilliant character developments. All of the students grew beyond their respective stereotypes, which led to a diverse cast of characters that were funny and smart. However, you could never quite trust everything they said and McManus’ writing keeps you guessing until the last page.
I loved how each character would narrate a chapter from their perspective as it gave you a lot more insight into their motivations and personalities. For me, this only added to the intrigue as I wanted to find out all their secrets, but I did struggle with the use of someone’s sexuality being a ‘big reveal’.
Next, I want to talk about the wonderful Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu.
Trigger warnings: sexism, sexual harrassment, mention of attempted rape, victim blaming
Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules. Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
This was such a powerful and brilliant book that was a real call to action, I really feel like it’s a must-read.
It had such a good message of girl power and promotes the strength that comes from unity, highlighted in a particularly smart section about intersectionality.
It’s a smart gateway into feminism that is perfect for any teenagers fed up of the ‘banter’ that is frequently used to belittle and humiliate people. For me, it was a real eye-opener into different forms of protest and shows how feminism means something different to each person.
The cast of characters was vivacious, whip-smart and all of them grow throughout the course of the book. There is some diversity as well, with two characters that are BAME and a couple of LBGT+ characters as well. This is so refreshing to see diverse characters become more common in YA, though there is definitely a long way still to go.
Over To You:
Have you read either of these books and if so, what did you think of them?