Review: One Of Us Is Next by Karen McManus

Synopsis: 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.
Until now. 
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. 

Karen McManus seems to be absolutely on fire at the moment with her addictive YA thrillers and, if One Of Us Is Next is anything to go by, the best is yet to come. I’ve read all three of McManus’ books in the order they’ve been published and her storytelling gets better with every single offering.

One Of Us Is Next is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller, One Of Us Is Lying, which I devoured extremely quickly last year (catch my review here if you missed it!) I raced through this book in a couple of sittings and it felt great to be back at Bayview High with a bunch of new characters who were even more engrossing than the last.

Again, the story is told from multiple perspectives, which is my favourite kind of narrative structure. I love reading books told through several points of view because it adds to the complexity of the stories, giving a wider overview of the world for a reader to fully engross themselves in. I also think it keeps the story varied and makes binge-reading much more likely!

In One of Us is Next, we have Maeve, Bronwyn’s younger sister, her best friend Knox and their school friend Phoebe. They provide the basis for the story and I genuinely liked all of them, although Phoebe was my favourite. McManus successfully created three teenagers that were captivating because they were so beautifully relatable – they were flawed and made some bad mistakes, but their redeeming qualities made them pretty great.

Overall, I thought the plot was fantastic too, albeit a little outside of the realm of possibility. For the most part, I didn’t see the next thing coming and that’s exactly what I need from a thriller. I also loved how the relationships between the characters were just as essential as the plot itself. The family dynamics were all on point, while the relationship between the three central characters was glorious. I also loved catching up with the Baywatch four every now and again, even if those moments were rather brief (Can McManus write a book solely about Nate next, please?)

If I were to offer any criticism, I was disappointed with the very final twist for two reasons. Firstly, I’d already guessed it and secondly, it was extremely far-fetched. That being said, I’m intrigued to see how this would play out in book number three. Perhaps this was the whole idea and McManus is working on another instalment for the series?

One Of Us Is Next is so much more than a typical YA book – it’s intelligently crafted, beautifully written and keeps you gripped until the very last line. Highly recommended and my favourite one so far from Karen McManus.

Goodreads rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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